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Oh, Google+!

Well hell Google. You can’t do GIS. I’m sorry but you can’t. But when it comes to social networks…

Actually, I’m going to confess something. Firstly, I seem to be in some kind of weird group on Google+ that a very nice person suggested I be in which means I get messages telling me I’m in this testing group thing. Secondly, I’ve not had the time or energy since I got on there a week last Thursday to do anything in anger with it.

Today, after a decent nights sleep, some TLC and some brain space, I found the tipping point. What didn’t make sense last week, suddenly did. Suddenly, I’m tinkering all over the place and having a lot of fun with it. Suddenly it all makes sense – I can share stuff with everyone who reads this blog, without boring you with friendship celebrations and dramas. I can tell my mum and my sister I’ll be home for Xmas this year without firing up an email just to write a few words. I can. I can. I can.

I have been enabled – and yes it’s nothing new – Facebook tried to do the same. But in a similar way that the News International group have lost my respect and my confidence, so have Facebook, through repeated abuses of privacy default settings. They could pull a rabbit out of a hat at this point and I wouldn’t care.

Google, on the the hand, have never messed me about. Leave GIS aside, on a personal level, as an individual, they have never been anything but useful and reliable. Yes, my email disappeared for a bit. Well it did when I was using Boltblue too – and they’re dealing with considerably more data transfer than Boltblue ever did.

So, that’s the slate clearing out of the way.

Now let me tell you why I am writing this post and why I am now a Google+ fan girl. I reported an error at 3pm or shortly afterwards. I acknowledge that it may have been reported before. I acknowledge it may be a coincidence. I also acknowledge that I don’t believe that fact because I believe the page I reported the problem on is a little off the beaten track and not in the normal workflow – people are adding people to their circles through the main front page, on the right hand side. I don’t think they’re adding them through the circles icon at the top. The reason I don’t think they are is because unless I am very much mistaken, that icon is a recent addition.

The feedback button was in the wrong place. I couldn’t scroll under it, it hid the downwards arrow. Inelegant, really. Forgiven entirely because the speed with which it has been fixed leads me to believe that somewhere in this big wide world is a team of developers. They probably aren’t even in the same room, I don’t know. And that team of developers have a massive queue of reported feedback errors. And the feedback workflow, even that is just gorgeous – it takes a screenshot automatically ffs. Automatically. I don’t. have. to. send. my. own. frikking. screenshot – they do it themselves.

I don’t even know how to explain how cool that is. Anyway, it gets cooler. Cos I reported the problem and now it’s fixed. I can drag the scrollbar down under the feedback button. It’s been made transparent so I can interact with a control beneath it.

You know what the maddest thing is? There’s now another problem, in that I still can’t add people to the circles they should be in on that page because I can’t see any of my own bespoke circles on that screen. So I hit feedback again. And you know what? Since 3pm this afternoon, another iteration of development has been released and now I can highlight on the page where I would like to point their attention on the screenshot and choose to have personal details hidden. Removed. Entirely.

The highlight didn’t work and wasn’t captured in the subsequent screenshot stage.

I don’t give a flying piglet.

This, right here, is agile iterative development in action, I am sat right in the middle of it and it is the biggest, the absolute biggest demonstration of why agile development absolutely completely and utterly rocks in developing a fit for USER purpose website or application.

It’s truly amazing. Oh. my. god. Google. OMG.

(Apologies for the txt spk, capitals and gushing in this post, normal service will be resumed shortly, but holy hell)


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Profile Photo Dennis McDonald

My modest experience with Google+ is definitely putting my experience with other social networks in a different perspective. Google+ so far is not as cluttered and rectangular as other platforms, and I wonder if that can be maintained as it evolves.

I also wonder how relevant — if at all — Google+ is to Federal employees. I’m assuming it will give IT and security staff fits. But Google will also be bringing out Google+ for corporate brands and groups so those issues might be resolved. I’m just amazed at how clean it is despite its plethora of features. Very impressive.

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