After the recent update to Google+’s UI there has been controversy over the wasted blank space revealed on large monitors. Despite the issue quickly becoming a left-aligned legend, being the hottest trend on Google+ itself, Vic Gundotra has saved his social network from the poison on the tips of users’ tongues. Something is coming says Gundotra, and surprisingly not ads!
Google’s SVP was very clear that the #whitespace will not be filled with ads, and by the sound of the things some Google employees have been saying, something good is coming. Google employee, Travis Wise, said in a post; “Embrace The Space”. While Wise may not be on the Google+ team, or even on the software side of Google – he works for the International Tax Counsel – he is hopeful of a minimal use of the space. A quote from a comment of his sums up my thoughts; “But what if some stuff came along for that space?”
This begs the question, what – if something minimal – could Google shove in that unused space? For some time, Google has been letting the socially conscientious place a little +1 button on their websites. Is it possible that a stream of your friends’ favourite things (their +1s) could occupy #whitespace? Perhaps this would integrate well with the new Google Play; sharing apps, music, movies and the like. This would be a very easy way to find recommended content, not what your friends are saying, but what they’re saying it about.
Taking this idea further, perhaps a Hangout at the Movies feature could be introduced. You and a friend rent a movie, you can see their reaction to it and chat about it within a Hangout. That would be very nice! Music too; Facebook uses Spotify to show you what your friends are listening to, why shouldn’t Google+? The best thing about it would be that it would be even better integrated – Google controls it all.
So, now you can start talking when your watching a movie, but what about if you’re downloading an app, listening to some music, reading a book or even browsing a website? Google+ could make its mark here too. If a conversation could be started from anywhere, any of the places mentioned above, from the simple click of a +1 or G+ button it would bring Google+ into everyday on-line life. Conversations would be held within the Google+ button so they didn’t intrude on the content, but at a hover or a click what everyone is saying about this interesting media would be immediately clear. But to limit the content to the page it was created on would be crazy, why not have it available on Google+ too. In fact, Google already does this to an extent by letting you share +1s to your profile. Now it just needs to be that bit more social; throw conversations in there!
So, I hope very much that Google will bring the topics of discussion further forward in Google+ by letting the topics of conversation occupy their own section. I hope conversations will be allowed to start anywhere on the web, not just from within Google+. To be perfectly honest, I hope Google+ becomes the most popular social network on the web. It is the best attempt at social I believe there has ever been – I don’t include Twitter in this statement as I see it as a blogging platform, otherwise it would be up there too! So, good luck Google+ and please take over the web in its entirety. I think it would make this digital world a better place.