I haven’t done a proper review/analysis of google plus because a) i’m too busy, and b) so many people out there have posted so many opinions and suggestions and blah blah that i feel i’d get lost in the crowd. but the other day as i was visiting my brother at one of the various google offices where he works and we were discussing g+, i hit upon a unique enough idea (i think) that i’d like to see that i thought i’d muster up a post about it since i had some time to kill before i hopped on my flight from san francisco back to new orleans.
Very recently google came out with an iPhone app. it’s a pretty basic no-nonsense app that i like much better than the facebook app for loading time alone. But probably the coolest feature of the app is the ability to see an incoming stream of what is defined as “nearby”. As in, g+ figures out where you’re located, grabs public posts from the nearby area, and puts into its own custom stream.
So okay, g+. now i want that or a better variant of that available on the web version.
A version of this already happens in limited ways on fb. i have a slice of 100ish friends from PA or who used to be from PA, and at certain times, say, during a Philadelphia Phillies game or an Eagles game or similar, my fb wall explodes with people’s reactions to what’s happening in real time. It’s a strange “mob mentality” capture on the internet which at first i found to be one of the negatives of fb but now i kind of like even if it can be annoying when it’s something i don’t give two flips about.
The UI i picture is something like this: you click on a “map stream” button and it takes you to a google map with a circle on it defaulted by your current location and a radius/diameter that’s defined by you. Click OK or Submit and it gives you a stream of any public g+ posts within that circle. Those defaults should probably be saved as “home stream” or something. But then i want to be able to grab any slice of a google map in a circle and do the same thing. Suppose i live in new orleans and i just heard about an earthquake in san francisco, or i’m a big SF 49ers fan and a game is going on. I want to be able to go to my map stream, highlight a circle around the bay area, and see what people in that area have been posting about it.
It has some great novelty value, but also has some meetup/gathering potential if, say, i’m looking for something to do in town or generally want to know if there’s anything happening and want to get a flavor of that from people not necessarily in my own circles. So i use map stream to grab my area, see if anyone is posting about happenings, start a conversation about it or just show up to where the action is.
The other interesting potential is what happens if i select the entire world map during, say, coverage of Obama doing an international speech or during the World Cup. There’s fascinating potential there to observe and analyze social networking behavior that right now isn’t easy to capture using twitter or facebook.
Area streams/feeds are an area that i feel is an untapped potential, one of the more interesting things uncaptured by the current social network paradigm. How about it g+ developers? Seems easy enough to implement since you already do it on the iPhone app. Develop that puppy.