The -'s of Google+

We're all told to jazz up our passwords with non-alphanumeric characters, but by jamming a "+" in Google+, Google has opened a big can of marketing worms.

plus

Google+ has supposedly had to stop issuing invites to new members for its field test due to "insane demand." Whether actual interest or a PR coup, nicely done, Google!

But--and isn't it about time for the "but"--try scanning Twitter for the many conversations about it by looking for the hashtag "#google+". You can't, because "+" isn't a hashtaggable character.

Though the hashtag is an evolving tool, and there's much debate about the wherewithals of overusing them in tweets and elsewhere on the social web, it is an extremely useful tool for tracking conversations. Google has branded Google+ right out of that loop, and remember Twitter is Google's go-to-guy for covering dynamic real-time stuff as part of its core search business.

Also, think where the "+" is on your keyboard--it's way over in one corner, and may require you to hold down shift to type. And when you're using a mobile device, the + symbol generally requires a bit of keyboard gymnastics to type in--it's not necessarily accessible on a virtual keyboard's first pane, even in Android.

And there's no such place as Google+.com, because there can't be. Now sure "plus.google.com" is where some of the sharing goes down, but actually this taps right to the core of the matter. Furthermore, the name kinda circumvents all of Google's clever faster-than-instant search guessing tricks--because when you start to type "Google+" into Google itself, Instant's systems begin by guessing everything else about Google you may be searching for, right until you tap the "+" on the end.

Amid an otherwise savvy PR push, it's a strange slip. Sure we all know "+" means "plus," but couldn't Google simply have called it just "Google Plus"? The web is still a very text-centric place, after all. Maybe it didn't do this because it taps into a strange discussion about why Google thought "plus" was a good thing for a social web interface, and that was deemed a bad thing?

Oh, and to highlight yet another naming convention that's clunky, check out this little perusal:

[Image: Flickr user cnt-sevilla]

Chat about this news with Kit Eaton on Twitter and Fast Company too.

Add New Comment

2 Comments

  • Michael Barnard

    There is also the whole issue of, it's still in beta... and many people have no one on it... Facebook got so large because it started out with colleges, it was easy to find people based upon the classes you were in, it would show who else was in there... They got large that way, and then boom everyone in the world knew someone on it...

    Yes, I have Google+ it's interesting to say the least... They perfected the groups that Facebook wants, IMO... That's all I have gotten to screw around with though.