Tag Archives: social networks

Some Google+ thoughts

No question, Google+ is Google’s most successful foray into the whole social media arena. I am sure this one will succeed where other initiatives have failed. I’m glad to see it taking off. But a few things need to be worked out for it to achieve it’s full potential. Here’s my unsolicited feedback:

I think the first thing I’d like to see is for all my Buzz content to go directly into my stream. I don’t want two streams, nor do I want to go look at a separate place for all the people I follow on Buzz vs. Google+. It is an extra step that I don’t have time to take.

Another thing I’d like to see is that my activity stream selection should remain persistent. Currently the default stream is for everybody in my circles, but I would much rather have that be filtered to whatever circle I choose or was last viewing.

In fact, get rid of Buzz. And figure out how Google Reader and Google Bookmarks play in with this. Integrate them, or get rid of any overlap or confusion. Do it now before the problems become worse. Don’t wait.

I would really like a way to have my Twitter posts show up in my Google+ stream. This again is a time issue – I don’t want to spend a lot of time tending my content on both networks. It’s largely the same crowd for me anyway. If I have a choice between one or the other, I’m going to spend the time on Twitter because that’s where most of my contacts are. On the other hand if my content is posted in both places, then I can see if there are responses and alerts in the Google nav bar whenever I’m using Gmail or Calendar, which would be fine.

The toolbar changes lists links for Web, Images, Videos, Maps, and News if I’m looking at one of those properties, and Calendar, Documents, Photos, and Reader if I’m in one of those areas. Gmail and Web are listed in both, although the Gmail toolbar uses the docs/photos/reader listing (inexplicably in gray instead of black I might add) and Web lists the web/images/videos set. Sometimes links open in new windows. Sometimes they don’t. Who knows or cares what will happen next? I’m feeling lucky! Sigh.

The mobile version of the site doesn’t let me +1 comments. Overall I’d like to see more functionality built in to the mobile version of the site.

The mobile app on iOS seems like an early beta. I opted out of using geolocation when I first launched it and now there’s no way to get it back.

There it is – my loving feedback. Fix all that and I will be back. xoxox -J.

Last.fm

I am a recent convert to Last.fm, but know that this has been a long time coming.

I have hit Last.fm many times since they launched. But I always found it, well, kind of useless in the past. I wasn’t grabbing very useful recommendations, and the usability of the software client and the website were lacking in my opinion. Cut to many months later, and something appears to have changed. The content of this site appears to have improved since last I checked – more music of the type I was looking for. Probably the root cause of my problems before was that I have a masters in music performance on a bizarre instrument known as the double bass, with tastes that includes baroque lute music, north Indian classical music, Charles Mingus, and Nine Inch Nails. Suddenly where before things appeared kind of barren in the eclectic world, some critical mass has been reached to the point where I am finding music I am interested in, and the mind of this thing is able to make reasonable recommendations to feed my insatiable consumption of new things to hear. This is the good part.

However, there is a bad part. Their widgets are a hideous bluk of code. I so wish they would just make ’em 100% Flash or something so I could do some sort of standards-compliant embed mode that had a bit more architectural beauty than this behemoth:

(Note – the widget that was here has been redacted because I couldn’t stand looking at the HTML validation errors that appeared here every single time I visited my own website. Please visit my playlist on last.fm instead.)

It pained me to post that. Sure it looks and works great in a nice big browser, but I’m sure this is going to suck on my iPhone and embedding all that inline design cruft and HTML table junk was heartburn-inducing. 100% Flash would have been nice. Or better, just an MP3 stream URL. Well, it is a cool widget and all, but it just seemed like a lot of code…

In addition, the site itself seems to be a bit much. I think less features would make it more usable, but it’s hard to take things back once they’re out there. There should be an add to playlist button or something in the player when viewing a single track web page rather than leaving it in the left column. Recommending tracks to others in my network should be easier – a select menu or type-ahead autocomplete feature rather than having to go look up or memorize everyone’s user IDs.

But on the whole, this is the most interesting music-related website I’ve seen yet. I’ve been addicted to it for the past few days now and really think this one is a hit.