Chromecast Missing One Big Easy Win

I just unboxed and set up my Chromecast. It took about 5 minutes, and the Missus is downstairs right now listening to No Doubt on my Google Music dime…probably going to have to get a paid account for her now too.

20130726_163515

I watched a couple of Ric Flair promo videos and one of the famous Knoxville Rugby Street Skiing incident just to check out how the YouTube app worked. Pretty sweet!


This thing is an absolute bargain at $35, just for what it already does with YouTube, Play, and Netflix. So yes…you should definitely click on the link and buy one for every TV in your house. This thing is incredibly slick. If it’s on backorder, go ahead and reserve one. It may be awhile before they are just sitting on shelves.

However there’s one thing I think Google should have had ready when Chromecast shipped–one thing I think could have been a big win for them in a big space. I’m sure it’s coming, probably within the next couple of weeks, but…

Why can’t I open up the Google Plus app on my mobile device and start a slideshow from there, then broadcast that to my TV?

For example, we just got back from vacationing in Colombia, and all of our photos are sitting in my Plus account. Everything I snap with my phone is pushed up there automatically, and I’ve already gone through the process up posting the SLR pics too.

We have friends coming to visit this week, and it would be really cool to just open up the album from my phone and show them a slideshow on the TV.

Next weekend, my parents are coming for a visit. We have videos in Google Plus (not YouTube) of all the kids’ “Happy Birthday To You” moments–shouldn’t I be able to show them those videos?

I know what you’re thinking–why not just share with them on Google Plus? Well, you’re right…and I can do that. But they probably wouldn’t notice.

The problem is, Google doesn’t have the participation on Plus it wants/needs. What better way to convert people than to have those of us who do use it show them this unbelievable functionality they can get with a free Plus account and a $35 piece of hardware.

Missed opportunity.

Instagram’s Loss

The best thing Google could do today to snag some market share in the photo sharing space would be to get SnapSeed updated to share directly to Twitter (and play nicely while doing it). Leave the photos of kids and puppies to Istagram/Facebook and get the really good photographers who haven’t moved to Google+ yet get their feet wet with the easy Twitter integration. They’ll inevitably share to G+ while they’re at it.

I can’t help but think Instgram has really screwed up by starting this fight with Twitter.

Facebook and G+ are such different things, and one area where G+ destroys Facebook is in photography. Production and consumption there is so far beyond what is possible on Facebook.

Google +1 Extension For Chrome in Webstore

Google released a +1 extension for Chrome last night. Big news? I guess, but maybe not that big.

I’m surprised at a couple of things. First of all, I can’t believe it took Google this long to push this extension out. It’s nice, but nothing that Facebook can’t do for “Like”. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an official “Like” extension out in the next 24 hours. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook acts like this isn’t even happening.

*UPDATE*

Here’s Facebook’s extension, less than 24 hours after….I should do this for a living.

*END UPDATE*

What I really can’t believe is that the +1 button hasn’t made its way to the Chrome base install yet. That’s something Facebook can’t do unless they build a browser and capture market share like Google has. Extensions are great, but they still require people to install extensions, and I’m not convinced that’s something the average user is going to go out of their way to do.

Now…when is the API going to be exposed so that my blog posts can show up in Plus automatically? Twitter has it, Facebook has it.

Well Google?

Dear Google +, Help Me Share More Please

Here’s what I think would be a nice and simple feature add for Google Plus…

Once I’ve posted something and shared it, make it easy for me to go back and include more Circles instead of “re-sharing”. Seems pretty easy to me. I’ve run into a couple of instances where I forgot to include a Circle, and it seemed like an intuitive feature to just add more Circles on the fly later.

I’m sure there’s a highly technical, complicated reason we can’t do this yet…right?

(GooglePlus != Twitter) && (GooglePlus != Facebook)

Ok nerds. I’ve seen a lot of discussion over the past few days about what Google Plus is trying to replace, what it is going to “kill”, why it will never work, etc. The truth is, Plus is it’s own thing, and that’s cool. Nothing has to be killed for Plus to succeed. Let me state this simply in a language everyone can easily understand:

Switch (SocialNetwork){
 case Twitter:
     //You put info out, and I choose to consume it
    if (iFollowYou)
          MyStream.show(theStuffYouWrote);
    else
          returnToWork();
  break;

 case Facebook:
     //We agree to consume one another's information
     if (weAreFriends){
          MyStream.show(theStuffYouWrote);
          YourStream.show(theStuffIWrote);
     }
     else{
       MyStream.show(constantSuggestionsWeBeFriends);
       stalkSomeoneElse();
     }
 break;

 case GooglePlus:
    //You decide info I see, I decide info you see.
   if ((iAmInYourCircle) && (youAreInMyCircle)){
       MyStream.show(stuffYouSharedWithCirclesImIn);
       YourStream.show(stuffISharedWithCirclesYoureIn);
   }
   else if ((iAmInYourCircle) && (!youAreInMyCircle)){
       MyIncoming.show(stuffYouShareWithCirclesIAmIn);
       YourStream.show(thingsISharePublicly);
   }
   else if ((!iAmInYourCircle) && (youAreInMyCircle)){
       MyStream.show(theThingsYouSharePublicly);
       YourIncoming.show(thingsIShareWithCirclesYoureIn)
   }
   else
     returnToWork();
 break;
}

It should now be clear, though I’m not 100% sure that will compile. Feel free to correct my code in the comments. It won’t be the first time someone has shown me a better way to do something.

Now for the verbose comments…

Unlike Twitter, Google Plus makes you decide who can follow you unless you post everything publicly. I guess if you post everything publicly, Plus could be a little like Twitter. But it seems like pushing things out publicly all day long could be dangerous because not everyone wants to use Plus like Twitter, even if you do. There is a “block” feature to take care of that,  I for one plan on using it liberally.

Unlike Facebook, Google Plus doesn’t force you into a mutual relationship with people and put the onus on you to later define the parameters of that relationship. You start by defining your personal parameters and can choose to open up more later. Or not. You can even choose for relationships to be completely one-sided. So it eliminates the “guilty-friend-add” situation that happens all the time on Facebook.

Consider this situation: someone adds you to their Circles and you get the notification that they’re sharing with you. You don’t really want to share with them very much and don’t care much about what they are sharing, but you worry about hurting feelings or looking like a jerk. The easy solution is to just add them to a Circle you won’t ever share anything to so that they’ll get notified you’re sharing with them. Later you can remove them from that Circle so that you don’t have to read what they ordered at Starbucks or that their cat ate their kid.

Now. returnToWork();

What Will Make or Break Google Plus

I was thinking about Google Plus a little last night as I continually refreshed my screen hoping it would magically appear. I think there are a few things that can really make or break Google’s latest attempt at social.

1. Nobody has groups right yet

Twitter’s lists are great, but are basically read only. You can’t broadcast to them. This is in keeping with the way Twitter fundamentally works, so that’s cool. But as far as the people on your lists go, it is more of a mark of reputation to be on someone’s list than it is an indication of engagement from that person to you. Facebook has done a better job with Groups, but they aren’t even close to the three dimensional overlapping of sets of groups we are able to so easily process in our brains. Maybe Google is actually smart enough to tackle this abstraction.

2. Group Texting

Yeah, everybody has a group texting gadget, but Google has more reach. They bought Disco, and have seemingly re-branded it as Huddle. I hate texting, but this may make it a little better.

3. Ubiquitity (I just made up that word I think)

With Chrome, Google has the ability to offer a nice extension to make Google Plus always on. No need to visit a site or run a separate app to see what is going on…it can always be there, yet still unobtrusive. I don’t see why Facebook couldn’t do something like that with Chrome, but they don’t own the browser. Google could actually ship their extension as a part of the browser (and I bet they will), while Facebook will have to settle for being an extension. I don’t know the numbers on how many people running Chrome don’t ever install extensions, but I’m betting that number will rise as Chrome gets closer to the meaty part of the user adoption curve.

4. Android

Google already has a big market share for mobile, and they’ll be able to tightly integrate all the features of Plus into Android. iOS users are stuck with an HTML 5 webapp for now. Again, I don’t know what this has done for Gmail, and it was already a hit before, but this may be a huge factor. Bonus points if they offer up an online locker with plenty of space the way they did with Gmail at the beginning. That would be a big feature for storing photos and video.

Just some thoughts. I’m sure I’m way off base here. Tell me why.

***UPDATE***

Instant Upload from Android devices is a money maker! Coolest thing yet for any social platform I’ve used!