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    • New note by bobjonkman 14 January 2023
      I seem to recall there's a standard API that should be common to all the #StatusNet derivitave servers. I'm pretty sure that in its infancy Mastodon conformed to that API. But Mastodon's API expanded beyond that, and I suspect some of the common API was removed, probably around the time #OStatus was dropped from Mastodon […]
    • New note by bobjonkman 14 January 2023
      Twidere has stopped working for Twitter accounts. My Mastodon account still works nicely. I thought maybe the Twidere API keys for the developer had been revoked, or that something had gone wrong with my phone (It's a vanilla Samsung with Android 12, but I've refused to install any of the Samsung or Google apps). I […]
    • bobjonkman repeated a notice by heluecht 14 January 2023
      RT @heluecht !Friendica Admins As you might have heard, there are issues with the Twitter API. Several favourite clients stopped working, while others (still) do. By now there hadn't been any word if there is some massive Problem or if this was some deliberate action. Whatever is causing these issues, at least my connection still […]
    • Favorite 5 January 2023
      bobjonkman favorited something by lnxw48a1: https://imaginary.ca/blog/2017/06/16/top-hat/#more-231 [imaginary ca] I am glad this instructor thinks this way. Too many don't seem to care how badly a vendor's product affects students.
    • Favorite 5 January 2023
      bobjonkman favorited something by lnxw48a1: https://500ish.com/mastodon-brought-a-protocol-to-a-product-fight-ba9fda767c6a #Medium link; don't be surprised if it does weird things before showing you the article. "Mastodon brought a protocol to a product fight" > Yes, yes, the network is under immense strain as people flee the Elon strain infecting Twitter. But come on, there are folks who really believe […]
    • bobjonkman repeated a notice by lnxw48a1 5 January 2023
      RT @lnxw48a1 https://500ish.com/mastodon-brought-a-protocol-to-a-product-fight-ba9fda767c6a #Medium link; don't be surprised if it does weird things before showing you the article. "Mastodon brought a protocol to a product fight" > Yes, yes, the network is under immense strain as people flee the Elon strain infecting Twitter. But come on, there are folks who really believe this is going […]
    • Favorite 5 January 2023
      bobjonkman favorited something by lnxw48a1: > For now, I’ll just say that while I fully understand why everyone wants Mastodon to be the new Twitter. Or the better Twitter. The more ideal Twitter. Or whatever. It’s just not going to happen. Mastodon brought a protocol to a product fight. Maybe Ivory or another client can […]
    • bobjonkman repeated a notice by clacke 4 January 2023
      RT @clacke NZ PM Jacinda Ardern called ACT leader David Seymour a prick on a hot mike in parliament. She apologized, he accepted, they had a laugh, and now together they've framed and signed a transcript of the exchange, selling it to the highest bidder, currently at 100 kNZD. The proceeds will go prostate cancer […]
    • Favorite 4 January 2023
      bobjonkman favorited something by clacke: NZ PM Jacinda Ardern called ACT leader David Seymour a prick on a hot mike in parliament.She apologized, he accepted, they had a laugh, and now together they've framed and signed a transcript of the exchange, selling it to the highest bidder, currently at 100 kNZD. The proceeds will go […]
    • New comment by bobjonkman 14 December 2022
      @lnxw48a1 "Pop" is also the Canadian word for carbonated soft drinks...

The Verdict on Google Plus: Mostly Harmless

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 13th October 2011

Don't Panic, They're Only Vogons

Don't Panic, They're Only Vogons by Patrick Hoesly

After dissing Google Plus I was persuaded to try it out for a while before rendering a verdict. So now it’s been over two months, and my verdict is: Mostly Harmless.

When I get home after a hard day of working with a computer, I sit down for a pleasant evening of relaxation with a computer. I read my e-mail, read the news, and read the microblogs. I subscribe to 55 people on Identi.ca, and I follow 84 people on Twitter. Those 139 people generate sufficient 140 character messages to keep me reading until bedtime and beyond.

But on my Google Plus account, I have 27 people in my circles. Those 27 people create a lot of large messages. In fact, they generate a lot more content than my 139 Identicats and Tweeple, since Google Plus puts no limit on the size of messages.

22 of the 27 people are in my Tech Circle. But instead of receiving only technical content from these people, they’re posting messages about vacations, favourite bands, philosophy, and yes, pictures of cats.  Now, this happens on the microblogs too, but on a microblog it’s limited to 140 characters, and I can ignore them.  On Google Plus the posts are much longer, have pictures attached, comments from other people, and those ubiquitous “John Q. Public originally shared this post” and “Click to +1 this post”.  Google Plus does not have the tools to filter messages by content, or even a method to collapse a conversation thread.

There’s no Atom/RSS feed, so I can’t use my preferred feed reader to analyze, sort and organize my Google Plus message stream. And I don’t know of any third-party applications to read, write and manage content on Google Plus. Google Plus does allow the export of all its content, under Account Settings, Data Liberation. Contact info is in the standard vCard format, suitable for importing into addressbooks.

Kudos to Google for giving users useful control of their data. Still, Google also has access to that data, and continues to collect ever more. In the past I’ve recommended Google Mail as a preferred no-cost e-mail host. Recently Google has taken to verifying new users by requiring them to supply a phone number. Google then sends a text message for the user to enter into the registration form. This is a level of data collection that I find creepy, and so I no longer recommend Google Mail.

Finally, to top it all off are the Google Nymwars. Much has been written about why Google’s policy of requiring real names is wrong-headed. Some people whom I might follow have stopped using Google Plus because of the nymwar controversy. I think I’ll be joining them in disdaining Google Plus.

  • Google Minus: Banality of user content (not Google’s fault)
  • Google Minus: Lack of management tools
  • Google Plus: User control over data
  • Google Minus: Google control over data
  • Google Minus: Nymwars

I think that Google Plus is not the Facebook Killer the folks in Mountain View want it to be.



The image 740 – Towel Day – Pattern by Patrick Hoesly is used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.

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Google Plus considered harmful

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 29th June 2011

Google Plus login screen, with errors

Google Plus Screenshot

Google Plus is available.

I won’t be using it. Google has too much of my data already.

For gushing, sycophantic reviews see Mashable and Techcrunch.


Update 8 July 2011: Someone pointed out that I should probably investigate Google Plus before dissing it, so I’m licking the Google salt block. There will another blog post with the results of this investigation… In the meantime, Circle Me!


Update: 13 October 2011: The Verdict on Google Plus: Mostly Harmless

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