What’s Missing in Google+?
There has been a lot written about the social landscape over the last two weeks since Google began inviting users onto its new social networking platform, Google+. In fact, for the week of June 27 through July 1, Google+ was the topic of 35% of all news links tweeted, according to the Pew Research Center Project for Excellence in Journalism's New Media Index.
Much of the attention has been focused on the service’s competitive feature set, which includes a group sharing capability called Circles, a group chatting capability dubbed Hangouts, and Sparks, a stream of conversation starters based on topics you and your groups discuss or follow.
However, what’s getting less attention, and what may be much more important to the long-term adoption, power and durability of Google+, are those things that actually didn’t make it into this first release.
Developer APIs Google+ launched without a documented developer strategy. The absence of a public set of APIs for online gaming, social and mobile application developer communities to leverage is note-worthy since providing third party authentication tools would likely help them accelerate the migration of users onto the Google+ platform. But, as of today, a search of the term “authentication” in Google+ Help returns no results.
Native Mobile Applications
Of course, there is a native Android app for Google +, however, the platform launched without a public schedule of support for other smartphone app stores. While it’s not surprising the Google team focused solely on Android for launch, what is interesting is that the Google+ Project for Mobile page sets only an expectation of iPhone support, and no real plans to distribute a native app for RIM devices or Windows Mobile devices.
Despite the existence of this Mashable branded Google+ page, the official stance from Google is that business profiles are currently unsupported and will be taken down. So, consumers can’t +1 a brand or a business to receive updates in their streams from companies they follow, as they can on other social services.
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There is really nothing technically that should have prevented Google from muddying up the user experience of Google+ with sponsored ads from Google AdWords, except the dearth of targeting data that would come from the customizations of Circles, creation of Hangouts and interactions with Sparks to make the ads displayed more relevant.