Google+ Feature Suggestion: "Squares"
"Exposed Circles" on profiles that people can choose to place themselves in (i.e. subscribe to). Each "Square" can be exposed to a selected audience, just like other G+ content. For example: Public, Your Circles, Specific Circles...
The how (intended usage):
I would create Squares for my profiles based on the categories of content I share, for example: Programming, Gamedev, Tea, Cats, Useful Webapps... Some of these I would expose only to close friends and some I would expose for the benefit of the public.
Among my acquaintances Goggle+ is primarily used for sharing content (whereas Facebook is used more for sharing personal experiences and to keep some sort of "address book" of all the people you've met). In G+ we now have Circles, Communities and Hashtags for handling what and how we share. In my opinion:
* Circles are great for categorizing my connections into permission groups to keep track of who should see what (the "share some things with close friends, others with your family, and almost nothing with your boss" mentality). They are however not so good for determining what CONTENT I should share with who - with some of my connections I have only a vague insight into what kind of content they are actually interested in.
* Communities, although still new, is a step in the right direction for content aware sharing. A G+ community is a well defined moderated group based around some common interest and or goal. They are based around input rather than output, i.e the community helps build something greater than the sum of its parts. A problem with them, if you want to use them like "squares", is that they are too clunky for private use. It would not be feasible to create a bunch of communities that I convince my friends to join, followed by them doing the same based on their interests. Needless to say this would lead a huge inflation in the number of communities. There is (was?) also a problem with not being able to simultaneously post to both circles and communities (which lead to some public outrage, although the reason behind the limitation is understandable).
- Hashtags. Love them or hate them; I find them too loosely defined for using as squares - There are no definitive list of hashtags in use. Their organic nature make them ideal for categorizing content in the public domain (but much less so in a closed group). Sudden Idea: Allow people with public squares to define a set of hashtags that are automatically appended when posting to the square.
"Squares" would provide a useful mechanism for content aware sharing where the recipients consist of a dynamically defined group rather than a closed and well defined community. It would also provide users with an expressional tool for their profiles - your publicly exposed squares would say a lot about you as a person.
I'd love some input on this feature suggestion. Maybe there is a way to achieve something similar already that is not known to me? If you like the idea you have my full permission to expand upon it and share it with the world. Also: there should be a "Feedback and Improvement Suggestions" category in this community. #featuresuggestion #googleplus