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Blaine Cook
Worked at Poetica
Lives in London
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Blaine Cook

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Will definitely be trying this soon.
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Can't make Crème brûlée without one...
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Blaine Cook

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This picture totally proves that +Tom Coates is totally wrong (I still <3 you, Tom!) about social networks. Note especially the number of views on the photo. There is only one view after one week. On a photo of me making spaghetti with my hands. Compare that with this photo that was posted to Plus yesterday.

Flickr hasn't suddenly become worse at hosting photos. My friends haven't suddenly become disinterested in food. Nope, it's just that Flickr has become a ghost town. People (like me) still post photos there, but no-one is watching.

Fixing the front page, as +timoni west put it very well ( might have a great effect. I doubt it, though. As someone who posts photos, I care more that my photos go to where my friends are looking at photos than I do how my friends are looking at photos. Of course, I want the sociality to come back to where I post my photos.

I don't want to post a photo to Flickr, Facebook, Instagram, Plus, and everywhere else that my friends are looking at photos, and then have to manage a fragmented conversation.

Plus is great, and it moves the conversation around design and the social dynamics of online interaction forward an incredible amount. It also underscores the extent to which the systems we've created are totally broken.

tl;dr: Either we were all suffering a massive shared delusion and Flickr actually sucks, or something is really broken with the way that we've structured online social interaction. Evidence: I've had only one view on a photo of making spaghetti with my hands in a week on Flickr. A photo of an ice lolly has 26 comments and 15 likes after one day on Plus.
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Blaine Cook

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It's notable that it's incredibly difficult to see people who are in your circles, but who haven't added you back. This is intentional; the social signalling is "don't worry about it; add whomever you want, or remove whomever you want."

This thing's been designed to supplant Facebook but also blogs, Twitter, everything. The more people use it to watch the circles they care about (fashion, art, friends, news), the more valuable sparks becomes (c.f. big data). Ads on sparks? Yes. Suggested results in "people" search? Yes. Google hasn't forgotten about the money.
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good statis
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Blaine Cook

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A few initial thoughts:

As everyone else has commented, the amount of polish applied to Plus is remarkable, and the scope and vision of the project is beyond compare. Serious kudos to everyone who's worked on it.

I'm surprised more people haven't referenced Paul Adams' work (linked below); it's clearly a very strong influence on Plus, and a very welcome one. Notably, Paul is now at Facebook.

As others (+Natalie Downe, +Ariel Waldman, +Tom Coates) have commented, the stream of mixed media is very similar to Pownce or FriendFeed, as well as Buzz. The mixed feed killed both those products; it's a mode that rewards constant attention (c.f., all the people, including myself who stayed up late playing), but punishes casual engagement. The circles, like lists on Twitter, will help reduce the noise and thus encourage both sharing and reading.

The approach to configuring circles is by far the best approach to grouping friends we've ever seen in an online forum. It's a lot of work, though, and we'll have to wait to see if people will actually do it. If it turns out that users still won't organise their social graph in an active way, then Plus might well fail as Pownce and FriendFeed before it. Privacy concerns abound, and I'm sure we haven't heard the last of concerns relating to re-sharing of content.

I also worry that there's not much fun here, compared to Instagram, FourSquare, or Tumblr. What's the hook? Why am I here? I feel like I'm being asked to sit down and relax in front of a big industrial river, when what I'd really like to do is find a quiet stream where I can feel really comfortable. Again, circles, but again, we'll see.

So, of course, the $100 billion question is: What does the developer platform look like? How do richly innovative new social forms (, songkick, lyst, for example) take advantage or contribute to the powerful concept of circles?

And, of course (hey, I'll be here all week), there's the question of cooperation versus competition – I'm not going to drop Flickr until it's dead dead dead (please don't die, Flickr), so how does that work? Can I share my Flickr photos with people on Plus? Will it work, or have +Joseph Smarr and +Chris Messina forsaken us?

I'm betting they and the rest of the Plus team haven't forsaken us, and that what we've seen of Plus so far is just the tip of the iceberg. Here's hoping, anyhow!

Again: well played, friends-and-others-at-Google, well played.
Presentation at Voices That Matter Web Design Conference, San Francisco June 2010.
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+***** I agree with you (for once). Brands are an important battle front and opportunity.

Major brands like Reuters, NBCU, Universal Music Group, ESPN, Washington Post, Rainbow Media, Discovery etc are using Echo so they can leverage all social content, identities and sharing destinations without getting locked into anything.

They are not getting locked into Echo either because we use Open Standards in and out and design for hot-swappability.
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Blaine Cook

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For those who have been following my posts on what Google Plus means, this post from +Paul Adams is essential reading.

tl;dr: It's just the beginning.
This is just the beginning. Jul 3rd, 2011. by Paul Adams. Disclaimer reminder: I currently work at Facebook and worked on Google+ up until the end of 2010. This post does not reflect anything I did at...
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Blaine Cook

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"Sheep worrying is an offence."
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Personally, I find offensive sheep more worrying...
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Blaine Cook

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Aaron Frost (Frosty) originally shared:
Anyone looking to have developer access to the Google+ API, here is the link to sign up.
Google. To stay updated as the Google+ project develops and get a heads up when we have more details to share about Google+ developer opportunities, sign up here. Your email will be added to a Google ...
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Coolio Blaine - are you working on this platform APIs?
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Blaine Cook changed his profile photo.

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Blaine Cook changed his profile photo.
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nice smile
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I hack on various things.
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British Columbia - Vancouver - San Francisco - Belfast
Contact Information
  • Poetica
    Co-founder, 2012 - 2016
  • BT Osmosoft
    Head of Cloud Messaging, 2008 - 2011
  • Twitter
    Founding Engineer, 2006 - 2008
  • Odeo
    2005 - 2006
  • Radical Designs
    2004 - 2005
  • Condé Nast
    Principal Architect, 2016 - present
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