I'VE NOW SEEN A GOOGLE I CAN FALL IN LOVE WITH

I've spent a couple of days now playing around with Google plus and after a brief chat with Googlers +Matthew Levine and +Brynn Evans I would like to share a few thoughts.

Right off the bat I could see that Google plus is going to be big. The interface is inviting and intuitive, and there are some big ideas here; big ideas in the best way -- they are simple and powerful and easy to understand.

1. Circles are the first thing that captivated me. I remember several years ago telling a business friend about LinkedIn, and I also remember his response very well:

"This won't work for me Dave because this isn't the way I think about my networks. I can't just let everybody see everybody. There are levels and nuances to this."

My friend is a serial entrepreneur and someone I have a lot of respect for, and he was right. Social networks are complex and nuanced. They overlap and intertwine in subtle ways. Circles is a big huge leap in the right direction.

2. Hangout is another big idea. Face-to-face conversations are also full of subtle and nuanced interactions. When we are in a conversation we watch each others' faces, constantly assessing their level of interest and engagement.

Most online conversations, including most online meetings, make text or slides the center of focus. This is helpful and important, but the big missing piece is the feedback and engagement that comes when people can see each other sitting around a table. Hangout feels like hanging out with friends. Now if Google would just make it possible for one of your "friends" to be a shared whiteboard, shared document or slide deck, Hangout would move from a great social too to a game-changing business tool for distributed teams.

3. The third big thing I see in the plus rollout is Design. And I write that with a capital D because Google plus clearly stands head-and-shoulders above previous Google launches.

My previous conception of Google, which I think is shared by a few people, was that Google was an engineering-driven, R&D-oriented company that did a lot of experiments and focused on growing and nurturing the successful ones. This is a wonderful approach to a point, but it never seemed that Google was very good at connecting the experiments in such a way that the whole was greater than the sum of the parts. This is a bit of an exaggeration, because certainly having one contact list and one sign-on across the many Google domains has been a powerful connective thread with many advantages.

But with Plus, Google has now demonstrated an intention to connect the experiments with a simple, intuitive, clean interface that's elegantly designed and easy to use.

There are a lot of little things that can still be improved and tweaked, and there are also a lot of big ideas that can still be incorporated -- and I will be happy to share thoughts on all that! -- but the big thing here is that with this new clean interface all those big ideas and tweaks can now find a home within a comprehensive framework.

For the first time I have seen a "Google OS" that I could fall in love with.

Congratulations to my friends at Google, I think you have really hit it out of the park this time. You should all be very proud and happy with the excellent job you have done here. You have stepped up your game significantly and I thank you!
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