Google+ is a networking site that is not widely used in my professional area but there are a number of Google applications that I use such as Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Translate. I created an account on Google+ quite some time ago without really realizing the capabilities of the site. Our ADL310 course gave me insight into the number of ways I’m already using Google+ and the number of ways I can continue to use it.
Although I like the one-stop-shop atmosphere of Google+, I do find it a bit overwhelming. It gives me the same feeling I get when wandering around a large city trying to locate a specific train that I need to catch in the middle of construction and chaos. I’m not quite sure where to go, but I read the signs, bring a map and ask for directions as I go. Along the way, I find a few interesting things; new shops, new restaurants, new sights. I make some wrong turns, but eventually I get to where I’m going. I’m tired, hungry, and my brain can’t take any more in but I’m sure on my next visit it will get a little easier.
Charles Arthur (June 4, 2013) wrote a blog post that compares Google+ to the movie The Matrix. On the surface Arthur (2013) notes that Google+ may appear to be like other social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, but it is quite different than other sites. Every time you log into your Google+ or Gmail account, Google tracks everything you do; sites you visit, things you search, and even comments you make on YouTube. It uses this information to streamline searches that you make and provide you with information that’s most relevant to your activity on Google.
I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. Did anyone know this before signing up? Not likely. Did Google give you the choice? Do you like the fact that your searches are streamlined because of past searches? I can see benefits, but also drawbacks to this. One benefit is that it may give people more accountability on the web, because they have to sign in to participate and this might allow me to spend less time searching for articles on specific topics that I like because they are already being filtered to me. But on another note, is this taking away my ability to discover new articles or interests that I may have otherwise seen if they had not been filtered from my search? Is this also giving Google the ability to streamline everything to Google related products and services? I guess essentially, the choice is up to me – to log in our not.