I’ve always felt that Google-Plus has a great future, since it was announced. Adding Communities was a big and positive change. A recent shift in its User Interface tells me that Google-Plus continues moving in the right direction.
Did you notice the “new” Find People function?
When selected, it provides the ability to:
- Check your gmail address book against your circles
- Search “for coworkers” and “for classmates”, that, in fact, offers to look for people from any workplace and from any school. This is faceted search
- Import contacts from an address book (a CSV file)
Did you know that all of this people searching functionality has been there a while? The only new (visual) add-on I have noticed is graphically pointing to the number of (sort-of) friends in common; I’ve highlighted on the screenshot above.
The user interface shift doesn’t affect the explained concepts in my recorded Google-Plus presentation available at the Training Library. This people search functionality was previously buried under “finding people to include in your circles”; we explored it in-depth at the webinar. When I present the Google-Plus again, for now, I will only have to re-do the screenshots. What a fast moving target it is, Social Networks and People Search!
I am glad that this better People Search is now clearly visible. Check it out if you haven’t.
Compare this with the “old” search that has been easily visible all along:
The “old” search only offers using keywords and narrowing down to “people and pages”. (The location facet is there, but I haven’t seen it working properly.) The search weakness is a shame, since Google-Plus has well structured information about its members in the About pages, including employment, skills, places, education, and valuable for the People Sourcers links to other social profiles and sites. That, and given that the amount of information in Google-Plus is tiny, compared with the whole surface web that Google search indexes, should let Google-Plus Engineers easily provide us with multi-faceted people search. (Why has it been taking it so long?) The third party site that implemented multi-faceted search early on, FindPeopleOnPlus, it seems, ran out of steam over a year ago, and now covers only a small % of the total network population. Hopefully, the described shift in the User Interface is a sign that Google-Plus is working on solid people search functionality. Let’s keep an eye on it.
Unfortunately, selecting several people and “rolling” them to a circle is no longer available on the new page, while it’s still available on the “old” circles page. Hopefully this inconsistency in the user interface will be cleaned up soon. I prefer the way it used to be.
That’s really minor though. Google-Plus has a big and bright future.