You’ve Heard the Hype, Now You’ve Tried it for Yourself – Tell Us How You Really Feel About Google+

You’ve Heard the Hype, Now You’ve Tried it for Yourself – Tell Us How You Really Feel About Google+ | 40Tech

Google+ is sexy. People have been raving about it for a month now. A whole entire month! That’s like… years in today’s tech world. Time-on-planet notwithstanding, over 25 million users have signed up, with no real signs of slowing, and the more people who jump in, the more you hear about how cool Google+ is, how Google got it right (finally!), and how people — even high-profile types — are intent on abandoning Facebook and Twitter.

While it is a little early, in my opinion, to make such brash and sweeping movements in the ever-tenuous social media space, Google+ appears to address many frustrations held by users of the current major social networks. This is the same thing that happened when Facebook slapped around and eventually sat on MySpace and Friendster. The main difference here is, due to the widespread adoption of social media into every day life (thanks to Facebook and Twitter), it’s all happening at lightning speed.

But is it real? Is it sustainable? What do you think about it?

Me? I’m definitely enjoying Google+. I like the feel of it. I like the ease in which I can decide who to communicate with, and how easy it is to find new information that I enjoy reading about. Mostly, though, I like that the users are, as a whole, so much more engaged. I don’t know if it is the way Google+ doesn’t force false friendships down your throat, or if it’s because you can actually express yourself without space limitations. Maybe it’s just because Google+ is new and shiny. Either way, I find myself talking with old contacts and meeting new people who ask me questions, answer questions, and otherwise generally converse in a way that feels much closer to blog or forum conversations. It’s nice.

It’s also worth noting that both Facebook and Twitter felt like that for me, once upon a time, before I was inundated by games requests or forced to sift through real people vs those who only viewed me as another leg up in the follow-game. Google+, as it grows, will probably experience similar challenges, which may lead me to once again consider only communicating by phone, in person, via email, blog comments, or (heaven forbid!) snail mail.

What about you? Now that you’ve had a chance to try out Google+, what do you like about it? How do you feel it compares to Facebook and Twitter — does it make you think of dropping them or campaigning to get your family and close friends on board with the new and shiny? Maybe you think that it’s all a bunch of over-inflated hype… just one more example of the media-fed bubbles that have a habit of unexpectedly bursting?

Whichever way you’re leaning, let us know in the comments.

Find Google+ Users By Occupation, Location, Popularity, and More

Find People on Plus.jpeg

Are you on Google+ by now? If not, head on over to our invitations post, and request an invitation. While Google+ puts Facebook to shame in many areas, one feature that it lacks is a tool to search users. You can hack together some attempts to search Google profiles, but that’s about it. At least one site is attempting to fill the void. Find People on Plus is a site geared towards- you guessed it- finding people on Google+.

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App of the Week: Move2Picasa (now called Move Your Photos) [Chrome]

App of the Week: Move2Picasa [Chrome] | 40Tech

Our last post on Google+ was a question on what you thought of the hype surrounding it. We’ve had a chance to play with it now, and so have many of you — and all in all, we like it. That’s not what this post is about though. This post is about taking advantage of Google opening up unlimited storage in Picasa as a result of Google Plus, and how you can use that, and a handy migration tool called Move2Picasa to backup your Facebook photos — whether you plan to use Google’s new social network or not.

UPDATE: The creator of Move2Picasa has changed the URL to the Chrome extension (the correct one is now in the post), and has changed the name of the Move2Picasa extension to Move Your Photos.  Thanks to Peter Pawlak on Plus for catching that!

Note on Unlimited Storage: Google has opened up storage in Picasa, in general. Plus users have free, unlimited storage for photos that are a maximum resolution of 2048X2048 pixels (and videos that are a maximum of 15 minutes), and 1GB of free storage for larger resolution photos. Anything over the 1GB (or whatever you have paid for additional storage) will be automatically resized down to the maximum free resolution. Non-Plus users get basically the same service, but their maximum resolution for photos is only 800X800 pixels.

Move2Picasa started as a website-based tool put together by Aman Kumar Jain, a web developer from Pune, India. It was leapt upon immediately by many of the early adopters of Plus, and the servers were quickly overloaded to the point that the site wouldn’t even load. Aman worked to solve the issues, and has now migrated Move2Picasa to a Google Chrome Extension .

The extension works beautifully! I copied over 1600 photos from Facebook to Picasa in less than an hour, and I barely had to lift a finger.

Here’s how it works:

After installing the extension from the Web Store, click on it to log in to Facebook. You will be presented with a page that, after a minor load time, has all of your Facebook photos broken down into albums. The top left of the page shows a legend that identifies the coloured boxes surrounding the photos, which are yellow for “In queue,” by default. The top right of the page provides some simple tools to select or deselect all, pause and close to come back later, and to logout from the tool completely.

Each album has check boxes directly below the album name that allows you to make quick choices to Upload All or Upload None of the photos of that album. You can also click on individual photos to select or deselect them for uploading, which is handy, because you may have certain photos that you want to weed out before they are copied to Picasa. Like the yellow boxes, Upload All is selected by default.

Move2Picasa | Copy Facebook Photos to Picasa, Google Plus | 40Tech

NOTE: At this point you may notice one weirdness: some of your albums may not be showing any pictures. Don’t panic. This is either because there are no pictures in that album, or because the albums have only one photo. Hopefully, this minor bug will be fixed soon — in the meantime, you may want to head to Facebook and add those errant solo photos to a combined album (you may have to log out and log back in to Move2Picasa to see the changes), or simply download them manually from Facebook and upload them to Picasa without the tool.

Once you have chosen the photos you want to copy over to Picasa, click the Upload button on the bottom of the page, and sit back and let Move2Picasa do all the heavy lifting for you!

When I did it, I didn’t notice any extra load on my computer, and had no problem doing whatever else I needed to do while it ran in the background. Some people have reported the occasional error pop-up that breaks the operation (this happened to me, too), but Aman posted to my thread on Google+ (find me here, we can add each other to our respective circles and you can read it) that the issue had been fixed. It was barely a problem, in any case, as all I and the other users who had the problem needed to do was click the upload button again, and the handy countdown picked up right where it had left off.

Before you know it, you will have complete duplicates of your Facebook albums living in Picasa, ready to do with as you please. The only caveats I have discovered so far is that the images appear to be the Facebook-resized versions only, as opposed to the full-res photos Facebook supports now (though I would love for someone to confirm otherwise), and that Move2Picasa does not support caption importing. That last bit is too bad, but hopefully will change at some point in the future. Move2Picasa as a Chrome Extension is only a couple of days old, after all.

Facebook Photos Moved to Picasa, Google+ with Move2Picasa | 40Tech

 

Why Bother?

Some of you may wonder why you should care. You may have no use for Google+, or Plus, or whatever people want to call it, and think that it is just another hyped Google product that will crash and burn. And it might; you never know. The fact that Plus has already surpassed 10 million users (though many are probably not active — but then, neither are bulk of Facebook’s hundreds of millions) indicates otherwise, however. The efforts that Google is putting into design and to integrate Plus into its overall offerings — possibly making it the connecting flagship of Google’s main products — is another strong reason to think Google+ may be around for a while yet.

Whichever way Google’s social efforts go this time, it is unlikely Picasa is going to fizzle away anytime soon. Take it from someone who lost the entire first year of photos with the lovely lady who is now my wife (due to a backup hard drive falling off of a bloody coffee table!), it never hurts to have another backup of your precious photos. The fact that this is an online backup with practically unlimited storage, an interface that allows easy viewing and sharing, and a built-in photo editor doesn’t hurt either. So why not use it?

If you still don’t want any part of Plus, Picasa does offer unlimited storage for everyone, now, but, as mentioned in the note at the beginning of the article, you will only be allowed to upload photos that are 800X800 pixel resolution, as opposed to the 2048X2048 resolution offered to Plus users. If you go that route, though, I’m not entirely sure Move2Picasa will work for you. I don’t see why it wouldn’t, but I haven’t tried it that way. Why would I? Whether I stick with Google+ or not, I’m definitely ok with having dust bunnies swarm over my account if the trade off is the unlimited storage and backup of higher resolution photos.

How about you?

Google+ Envy? Or Are You the More Cautious Type?

Google+ Envy? Or Are You the More Cautious Type? | 40Tech

Google+ is all the rage among the tech-geeks of the world right now. It’s the tech geek — and social geek — media equivalent of a major presidential upset or natural disaster. And with a new Google product, it could end up being either. It really depends on your level of cynicism when it comes to Google launches. Their efforts in the social tech space, while fantastic from the innovation perspective, have fallen flat repeatedly when it comes to adoption. And when I say flat, I mean a fall from a tall, tall building that ends with something reminiscent of a pancake. Or a crêpe.

So I’m curious: where do you stand on the Google+ front?

For me, I’m definitely interested and excited to try it out if and when it ever gets to me. However, I’m more than a bit cautious when it comes to the “Google+ will change social media and business as we know it” spiel. Sure, it’s possible that Google may kill, or at least finally be able to compete with Facebook and Twitter, but we’ve heard all of that before. Hello Google Buzz — and damn you Google Wave.

Frankly, I’m a bit tired of tech media spinning new products like this out of proportion. I’m tired of hearing about unproven products that are destined to kill proven products, especially when the creator has a poor track record of success and their only real merit is that the creator is a tech giant. What has been proven, time and again, is that — if you’ll excuse the age-old, multi-layered saying — size doesn’t matter.

So, what do you think? With the failures of Google Wave, Buzz, Orkut and Sidewiki drag Google down yet again? Is Google+ as amazing as it sounds? Even if it is, do you think it has a prayer of taking on Facebook and/or Twitter? Let us know in the comments.