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#CollectionsTurn1 - So what?

A year ago, I made two posts looking at the new Collections feature. One I posted in my brand new Ponderings collection ( The other I posted here in the Curmudgeon's Corner collection ( In one, I praised Collections for putting a fresh face on Google+ and enabling some new, much needed, features... but in the other I criticized it for feeling roughly bolted on and lacking some much needed elements.

I re-read the latter post today. None of the things I thought were "much needed" have been addressed. Collections, as a whole, have gotten almost no feature updates in the past year. In both the new UI and old UI, the Collections page remains an unorganized mess. Despite being the "focus" of the new Google+, it continues to feel awkwardly bolted on. You still cannot post to more than one collection without duplicating your post. Features that would benefit from being integrated into collections (such as +1), are not. There is no API support whatsoever for the feature.

That post remains as accurate today as it did when I wrote it.

Most significantly, however, there is still a lot of confusion about the use of Collections. I hear people talking about how they will post something publicly and also post it to a Collection, because otherwise people won't see it. In a quick survey of the past hour worth of public, non-community, posts in my stream, just over half weren't in a collection. Including several from Google.

Collections are a good feature... but still lacking things that would make it a great feature. And one year in, with no significant changes in all that time, I can safely think that they'll never come.

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How about a REAL live case?

Everyone is going mad about the Live Case for Nexus devices.
But there isn't anything live about them! You want live? How about the back of your phone showing the current time... get back to me when it can do that.

Oh wait... with a YotaPhone it could...
Really Thinking Differently

I attended a local Tech Meetup group to do a presentation about developing for Glass, what it was like, and how it was different. Great reception from the crowd - people are still fascinated by Glass, what it is, how it works, and how it helps people stay more focused on the world around them instead of the screens on their phones.

Another presenter said many of the same things I did, however, but he was showing a very different technology. If you have never heard of the #yotaphone , a brief introduction is in order. In many ways - it is exactly like every other modern android phone... with one significant difference. Although the front has a standard color screen... the back has an e-ink display. What can you use the display for? Reading books... displaying the current time... notifications without having to light up (and power) the main screen...

We didn't have a wearables presentation there, but that would have been a great addition to the conversation. I think it is interesting that so many people are realizing how lost we're getting in our phones... and are seeking out different solutions to the problem. Yota is one way to address the problem... and so is Glass... and so are other wearables.

And I'm glad I'm part of communities that are willing to experiment and find the solutions to these problems.

#gde   #glass   #techtalk  

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A Story about Stories: Epilogue

The new +Google Photos Albums aren't as bad as I first thought, but Google is doing a terrible job explaining them.

Here is my quick explanation - done as an Album.
(You may not see the text and annotations until it fully rolls out.)

While I'll be sad to see the layout of Stories go... I feel comfortable that Albums is a good building block for further improvements.

(cc: +Bradley Horowitz +Joseph Smarr +Anil Sabharwal)

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*Google Photos Stories are dead...
... long live Google Photos Stories*

Apparently we didn't have enough things named "Albums" in Google Photos... so they're introducing a new kind. Which has all the features of Stories, which sounds just as broken as Stories, but are now named Albums. Or something.

Can't wait to try it out!


Google Photos will now suggest albums for you →

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is crea+e moot?

Volumes have already been written about two pots of spaghetti being thrown against the Google+ wall this week. So, in my curmudgeonly fashion, I want to speak about both of them.

The first - Chris Poole, creator of 4chan, will be joining Google. I honestly don't know the guy at all and only know about 4chan from its reputation. Its bad reputation. It is easy to see how people will think the worst about this action.

But it could also mean that Google is trying to take seriously its spam and troll problem on Google+. It could mean that Google realizes that Communities are absolutely horrible implementations of online social spaces and are searching for someone, anyone, who actually has experience creating them (but only 10 years experience doing so? They couldn't find anyone who has been doing it for decades?).

I can't say I'm optimistic. If they haven't learned their lesson in nearly five years, I'm not sure one person coming in will change anything.

And speaking of not changing anything... wow... people are all a-flutter about the new Crea+e program. Just apply and, if you're "good enough" you'll get... um... lets see... you'll get something... we're sure about it. You'll get to see what other Crea+ors are doing! (No wait... everyone can see that.) Priority preference for a Featured Collections! (Which sounds like a chicken and egg issue.) Profile verification! (Because you weren't you before.) The chance to appear in a Google+ commercial! (Didn't you love the two collection commercials they ran already? You remember those, don't you?) And early access to features to test and provide feedback on. (So their already existing Trusted Tester program.) You may also get a badge in the future. (When and if they create that feature for Google+.)

None of these are bad things, to be sure. And they are nice perks for people who are already doing great work. But I'm also not sure how any of this really helps Google+ or people who are using Google+. And it creates, again, a new "class" of people on Google+. You're either in the upper crust crea+ors... or you're rabble.

Collections isn't a bad feature, but it needs a lot of work. Work that this new program doesn't address at all. Can these new crea+ors put advertising on their posts? Can they trivially put these posts on a website where they can advertise? Can they create their content elsewhere (such as on a blog) and have it automatically post to the collection? Is there rich media and formatting to let them highlight their crea+ions? Are there analytics to help them identify the demographics of their viewers? Can they put things into more than one collection? I'm pretty sure the answer to all of these is "no" right now, tho I would love for that to change (preferably sooner rather than later).

Maybe I'm wrong about all of this. I'd like to be wrong. But neither of these changes feel like they're clarifying the vision of what Google+ is or wants to be.

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INFO OVER LOAD are Four Letter Words

The Note to Self podcast on +WNYC Public Radio ran a special this week called #InfoMagical. I found it anything but "magic".

It tried to provide some solutions to Information Overload, and while it had some reasonable ideas, I think it did a very poor job in discussing and delivering those ideas. Overall, their approach was almost missing the core of the problem.

On the other hand, +Mike Elgan did a great job at providing some suggestions to handle the same problem. And I think his tools (and some suggestions from a +Google for Work post the other month) were far more on the mark.

But read what I have to say... tell me what you think. What causes your Information Overload and how do you reduce it?

(cc: +WNYC and +Guy Kawasaki)

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Facebook still screws up name policy

When will people get it? You don't get to choose my name. I get to choose my name to match something my friends will recognize.

What is so difficult about this? Really?


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"You're just like Waldorf and Statler. Except you're both of them put together." -- my SO, +Lisa Bauer​.

If that isn't love... I don't know what is.

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Sigh is a four letter word

Theres a new version of Google+ on the web.
Pardon me while I yawn.

More of my thoughts about the "new" Google+ at
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