Esther Dyson is the consummate early adopter. So I asked her recently what she thinks of Google+. In the video clip above, she gives her verdict. “They have the advantage of following Facebook,” she says.
By that she means that Google could look at what is wrong with Facebook and try to improve upon it. One of the main problems of Facebook, according to Dyson, is that you have an “undifferentiated mess of friends.” Google+ tries to solve this problem by getting you to put different groups of friends into different Circles.
Google+ is also asymmetrical. “It’s not two-way,” Dyson explains. You can put people in a Circle, but they won’t know if they are in the “Ignore These People” Circle or “People I Want To Stalk” Circle. “The defaults matter a lot,” says Dyson.
I point out that this could be confusing for many people. “You think it’s bad to have something that’s new?” she asks me. “Facebook is way ahead,” she points out. The trick for Google with Google+ is to “try to differentiate it without marginalizing it.”
Check out another part of this interview in which Dyson tells me her views on the future of the space industry.
A Google project headed by Vic Gundotra and Bradley Horowitz, Google+ is designed to be the social extension of Google. Its features focus on making online sharing easy for users. “Circles,” think social circles, akin to Facebook’s lists. “Sandbar,” a user-unifying toolbar. “Sparks,” a search engine for sharing content between users. “Messenger,” a group messaging app that allows users to share with certain “Circles.” “Hangouts,” group video chatting designed to allow up to 10 users video chat at once. Each Google+ user can replace his...
Esther Dyson is an active investor in a variety of start-ups, focusing on technology. Her portfolio of private space and air travel investments includes XCOR Aerospace, Space Adventures/Zero G, Icon Aircraft, Coastal Aviation Software and Airship Ventures. She has flown weightless on Zero-G four times, but hopes to go up again soon. She is also the organizer of Flight School, an executive workshop for start-ups in air and space. Itâ€™s in hiatus for 2008, but will resume in 2009. On the...