Sunday, July 17, 2011

A quick review on Google+: it's fucking better than Facebook (Also, I'm giving out free Google+ invite)

What the fuck is it?
I guess when you're reading this post, you already know what Google+ is. Google+ is a new social network from Google. It boasts lots of cool features. I like it upon my first usage and I don’t mind Google steals more personal info from me.

Google+ Circles helps me organize everyone according to your real-life social connections--say, 'family,' 'work friends,' 'music buddies,' and 'jerks/assholes who annoy me'. In Facebook, the friend category is so rigid (virtually non-existent) so strangers, lurkers or not-so-close friends alike are all group under the same roof with my close friends. In Google+, you can share relevant content with the right people, and follow content posted by people you find interesting. For example, I might post an announcement about my engagement and show it only to people in my friends and family circles, or maybe I see a post from the circle I created for my book club that there's a recent article on my favorite author.

I can also decide to customize my personal profile information for my circles. For example, my contact details, location, and relationship information would be visible to your friends circle, while my employment history and education would be visible to my alumni association circle.

If you don't add someone to a circle, they will never get to see any post you make unless if it's public. It doesn't matter if they've added you.

Sparks brings you stories on the things you love from all across the Web, so it's easy to strike up meaningful conversations with your friends. 
When you first arrive in Sparks, you'll see a collection of featured interests. If nothing strikes your fancy, search for a different interest.

Let's say you're learning to juggle. You can search for 'juggling,' then add it as an interest so you can always be kept up to date on the world of object manipulation. And if you get tired of people calling you a clown all the time, you can remove this interest. 

Hangouts are the best way for you to say, “I’m online and want to hangout!” Hangouts lets you:

- Chill with friends that are scrolling through the web, just like you!
- Use live video chat that puts you in the same room together!
- Coordinate plans, whether it's working on a project or meeting up for coffee.
- Maybe you’re bored. Start a hangout, invite your circles, see who’s around!
- Start a private video session to show how well-endowed you are.

Okay, so, Facebook is good enough for me, why the fuck do I want to switch?

While functionally Google Plus and Facebook have similar abilities to handle the "Privacy" of the information you post on their services, Google has designed all of Plus around the idea that you will share most information with a target subset of your "friends". They have also provided a greater degree of flexibility on what details you show and to whom.

Facebook has a similar feature to 'Circles' called 'Lists'. However, unlike Facebook, Google+ is built around Circles and you categorise your friends in them when you first add them.

Apart from the privacy aspect, you have a new simple design with fewer colours and buttons. Some may find this a better look than that of Facebook. You also have the hangout feature that isn't available in Facebook. Facebook has recently added 1 on 1 video chat but G+ trumps this with group video chat. 

You can get news from joining Facebook groups but Sparks offers greater flexibility in that you can choose any topic you want and you only get serious news articles. This feature is yet to be fully developed and is bare bones right now. Google is also offering a great feedback mechanism that allows you to highlight certain aspects you would like changed. This is completely different to how Facebook has been operating and might mean faster fixes and more frequent updates.

General Points

1. If someone adds you to a circle and you don't add them, you can still see their posts in a separate section called 'Incoming'. Their posts wont appear in your main stream.

2. If you can't see posts from someone, it's because they don't want to share with you. Not because Google+ is broken.

3. You can see who your friends are friends with. This feature is enabled by default. You can hide all your friends or choose to only show some circles. Plenty of flexibility.

4. There is an option to make public posts that any Google+ member can see. This makes the service behave like twitter as people who are following you (put you in a circle) can then easily see the post.

5. Google+ enables search engine indexing by default so you may want to turn that off. Also, be sure to go through all the settings to make sure they're set to what you want. The default settings beat those of Facebook by far but you should still double check.

6. You can tag people in posts by adding a + sign in front of their names in a post.

FAQ (Fucking Annoying Questions)

Q: How do I see if my friends have added me?
A: When a friend adds you, you receive a notification. You can also go to Circles > People who've added you, and see if they are there.

Q: How can I see which group someone has added me to?
A: You can't. That's part of the privacy settings on Google+. You can only see if someone has added you. Not to which group. You will see everything that the person wants to share with you so if everybody gets a party invite except you, start questioning your friendship with that person!

Q: What if I wanna share something with someone that hasn't added me?
A: If he's on Google+, he will receive the messages from people who have added him in the 'Incoming' section (left sidebar). The same goes for you. If you haven't added someone but someone has added you, you can see their messages in the 'Incoming' section. This allows people to contact you without you having to worry about adding them. If he's not on Google+, he will receive an email with whatever you're sharing.

Q: What are circle and how do they work??
A: Think of them as social labels. They allow you to easily identify social groups and you can then choose what you want to share with each group. This allows for great flexibility so you're not sharing everything with everyone. You can choose to share your party pictures with your 'Friends' or maybe your family reunion pictures with your 'Family'.

Q: How does re-sharing work?
A: If you like what someone as posted, you can re-share it. Think re-tweeting like in twitter. When you share something, you're only sharing the original post and not the comments. Don't worry though, you can disable sharing so no one can share your posts. It's also impossible to share a private post publicly.

Q: Are there communities or groups that I can join?
A: Nope. Currently there are no groups but Google has talked about how they want to incorporate public circles which should act the same.

Q: I can't see a way to private message someone. What do I do?
A: There is no official way to send someone a private message. You can use the 'Email Me' button on someone's profile if they have it enabled or you can just make a post and share it with that one person. You can also tag the person in the post by adding a + sign in front of their name. This means that only that one person can see it and reply.

Q: The email button sucks! I don't want people to see my email!
A: By enabling the 'Email Me' button, people will only get a subject box and a body box. They will never get to see your email so it's completely private (until you reply obviously).

  • Don't feel compelled to reciprocate!

This is not Facebook :). Just because someone adds you to a circle does NOT mean they expect you to add them to a circle. Example: I added Jimmy, an asshole, to a circle entitled "butthurt", but he doesn't know me from Adam, and I've never met him; I don't expect him to be as interested in what I have to say as vice versa! 

This also means you (ideally) shouldn't feel uncomfortable when someone you don't know adds you to a circle. They're probably not asking (or even wanting) to be your friend; they just want to see what, if anything, you choose to post publicly.

  • Don't feel shy about adding people to a circle

and, contrary to my example above, don't ever feel compelled to tell someone what circle you've added them to. They can't find out this info themselves, and it's none of their business :p)

One of the cool things about Google+ is that you don't have to worry about adding too many people, or the "wrong" people. When you add them -- or anytime after -- you choose which circle(s) you put 'em in. Then you just post to -- and read -- what you want.

  • As a good rule of thumb, try to reserve one circle for the people you really care about personally, that you want to share personal stuff with. 
"Friends" or "Best Friends" or whatever. Then, you can do two cool things:
- Add just that circle when you want to share something personal.
- Click on that circle name (on the left) when you want to read posts just from those friends, without the clutter from others (especially obnoxiously loquacious folks like me :p)

But then when you have more time and you want a broader cross-section, or the chance to get to know other people better, you can click on your "Interesting People" list, or even "Stream" (which shows posts from all your circles).

You always have the choice, and if you end up becoming good friends with one of those folks... just a couple of clicks and boom they're in your Friends circle :-).

More tips at here.

In short, I like it better than Facebook for its simplicity, bigger fonts, less complex, more privacy and ease of use.

Things I like:

-It's not Facebook

-Circles (great idea, but a lot of people will be confused by them at first and end up posting stuff not intended for public eyes)

-The Circle animations

-I can group people to my liking, friends under friends, jerks under jerks.

-No stupid games or event invite for now. Even if there's one in future, the circle thingy will decide which notification I would receive.

Things I don't like:

-If my friends share something I posted/shared, it shows up in my Stream again.

-G-Mail is not a tab in G+ like Photos, Profile, etc.

-If I have G+ open in one tab and Google in another, my notifications only get cleared in the tab in which I click on them.

-My chats received keep randomly going to my G-Mail tab so I will be waiting for a response and not realize it went to my G-Mail chat.

Things to note:
- No games. No angry bird. No Cityville.

- dislike Picasa. No photo tagging.

- can share contents to my target audience with ease.

- "other nickname" can't supercede real name.

- Hangout seems cool but no friends to talk to :(

Still a Beta version with lots of expectations. Feedback button is always up there to be clicked.

Fuck you, you said it was a quick review, so shut up already and where's my Google+ invite?

Alright Jose, chill out! Just post your email in the comment box. Please note that I also have work to do so please be patient and I'll attend to your requests soon. Jeez.

p/s: I also sent an invite to my dear Prime Minister YB Najib Razak. I guess he's "too cool" to accept my invitation and gave me a cold turkey instead.

This is how I trolled my PM without even going out for a rally.


I'm going to further explain on the social circle stuff, which is why I think it's a great appeal and how it pawns Facebook on privacy setting:

Instead of saying, "I'm going to write a blog post now," or "I'm going to send an e-mail" or "I think I'll tweet something" you simply say what you have to say, then decide who you're going to say it to. 

If you address it to "Public," it's a blog post. 

If you address it to "Your Circles" it's a tweet. 

If you address it to your "My Customers" Circle it's a business newsletter. 

If you address it to a single person, it can be a letter to your mother. 

I'd say this is pretty revolutionary.

On Google+, your relationships are solely based on the information you are willing to share with them, which is a lot like real life. We give people titles but that doesn't "really" mean anything and your true relationship is based on what you wish to confide with them; like some people say "My Mum is my best friend" that is partly to do with what information the person is willing to share with his/her Mum. My Mum is not my best friend so I will not put her in that circle.

Example of a fictional circles:

Family (Mum and sibling)
Close friends (best friends I've met throughout my life)
Work colleagues (people who pull your legs in work)
Distant (Aunts who pressure you to get married)
Multiplayer pals (those peeps who pawned me in Starcraft II)
Childhood (People who as adults I do not know but they found me on the internet so I humour them)

Example of my information:

Summer vacation to France photos (all circles, possibly entire web, just to brag)
Look. Just bought a designer bag, guess how much!!! (close friends)
Just setup a savings account, I'm not spending money on frivolous things (family)
Photo of beautiful typography on a store sign (design buddies)
Drinks this Friday? (Korean friends, possibly work colleagues depending on my mood)
My first 6 months living in Seoul (family, Distant)
Easter weekend at the park with the *family name* (Distant)
Anyone prepared anything for the meeting on Tuesday? (work colleagues)

Now some of my work buddies are good friends so they are in two circles, but some are merely people I worked with in a company. I really don't want to send info about a new book coming out or a Terence Conran interview to my family so I have a separate circle. At the moment, work buddies is essentially my twitter but if Google+ becomes popular I can switch permanently.

Take your old school teacher, he is not your friend, you may introduce him to someone as "my old school teacher, and friend Mr. _____" but in a medium where all you are doing is relaying information to each other I'd be surprised if you put him into a friend category; I would put him into "distant relatives friends of the family" then he gets the info about you graduating from university or getting a new job and doesn't get the info about you phoning your ex-girlfriend when you were drunk or going to see the chiropodist next Friday.

The example is extended when a "university" is created, think of it again as sharing information... as a virtual school noticeboard. People you only know through Uni would like this information but your friends wouldn't, and you don't have to share personal info with the weird girl you are doing a group project with.

I think people have been indoctrinated into believing "social network" is just a website where you show off how busy your life is or how many "friends" you have, which it was for Facebook when it was first setup for self-absorbed, arrogant students at the most prestigious universities in America. It's a playground mentality applied to an online tool.

I know it is still early but I can see my circle groups are falling into categories that were previously divided between different online tools: Linkedin, twitter feed, personal blog, design work blog, email, and ironically facebook private messages... then if there is something I don't mind everyone knowing I'd post on Facebook feed.

Google+ (if it gains popularity) will be so good, it's your life and your interactions with people rather than a voyeur's wet dream/normal person's worst nightmare that Facebook is.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Not your typical fairy tale

Once upon a time, a Prince asked a beautiful Princess:

“Will you marry me?”

The Princess said No and the Prince lived happily ever after and rode Harley and fucked skinny big titted blonde broads and hunted and raced cars and went to naked bars and dated women half his age and drank Whiskey, beer and Captain Morgan and never heard any bitching again.

He also never paid any child support or alimony and ate pussies and fucked luscious cheerleaders and kept his house and guns and never got cheated on while he was at work and all his friends and family thought he was fucking cool as hell and had tons of money in the bank.

Also, he could leave the toilet seat up.

The End.

The moral of the story is being a single adult is cool. If  some of your stupid relatives (especially your stupid aunts) asked "Hey Frankie,  when you wanna get married?", just tell them in the face "STFU bitch, it's non of your fucking business." Isn't it right? Who the hell are they to pressurize me to get married? The only chance for me to get married is when I accidentally knocked up some barely legal chicks, and even so I might ask her to get an abortion in Thailand. 

This is the age where I can experience as much of the world as I can and I'm still young to really know what I want in my life. Marriage doesn't succeed because of readiness or "Hey, you're old enough to settle down already". Screw that. You are never ready for a lifelong commitment, you just keep trying and hopefully have a community that supports you in it and you get better at it. It's just like a healthy family. You are born into this lifelong connection to your family and have no choice in the matter. You have no idea how to be a good son or brother or later on a good uncle, but you just learn and eventually suck at it less than you did. Health of the family isn't in their readiness but in their mutual commitment to making the whole family healthy.

Being Single is fun...for now

Mandatory "Being Single is Cool" pic