First thoughts on Google+ "Collections"
About fucking time. Take that as both praise and criticism. It's been painfully obvious from the very start that Circles are not a content management tool. Google have been painfully obtuse to this. Suggestions to various sites to track the interest graph rather than the social graph (face it, Facebook owns that, for now) are growing. I think they're right.
More specifically, there was a period in which it was cringingly fashionable on G+ for both Followers and Followed to accuse one another of Doing It Wrong with regards to Circles. The truth was simply that Circles Fail at Content Organization. Many, many, many early adopters (and evangelists, most since hugely disheartened, myself included) pointed out that topical and bidirectional sharing tools of some sort were required: a way for both the Follower and Followed to indicate What the Hell Was Being Spoken Of.
Four years later, we're getting the start of that.
I want to categorize my previous posts. Without investing a fuck-ton of effort. As per usual, Google provide no tools to do so with any ease. In general, I should be able to, say, search for keywords and posts not already classified by Category and just say "add all 'dem der". Canna do't.
(Note that reddit's post flair is similarly crippled -- in particular there's no "search for un-flaired posts" capability).
The UI appears to be a typical grossly heavyweight Google affair. Take the ire tr out of the following: Firetruck makework interfaces. They suck. I won't use them.
Worse: as a curation tool, G+'s exceptionally high Web client throw-weight (1-2 GB Chromium processes are all too common) makes the use of this as a way to filter through someone's content all but useless. G+ has an exceptionally high "now" bias.
That said, the basics are actually pretty intuitive, by Google standards.
I've suggested previously on Ello, a few standard classificiations with possible subcategories for specific interests. By creating a standard set of mappings, Google have a tremendous opportunity to organize some of the goddamned cesspit of content on G+. In particular, media type (images, videos, music), and language classifications, as well as "Personal", "Family", "Friends", "Local", and "Work", along with a standard set of high-level classifications (draw from typical newspaper sections or library cataloging schemes) would go a long way. Discussed at Ello.
Back to #2: Why can't I simply treat these as tags and apply posts to multiple classifications? These aren't library books which must occupy a single meatspace location.
I'm not seeing Classifications offered as an option on the new post dropdown pane. They should be there. (See followup.)
Google's intrusiveness isn't something I generally care for, but a semantic analysis and suggestion of possible Classifications based on content could actually be a very Cool Thing. One of my Rules of Online Content is that People Suck at Microcontent, including at creating appropriate tags. This is a place where a collective intelligence really would help.
Ah, the Collections are included in the Circle share stuff (see #7). Which reminds me of a long-ago suggestion of mine which I won't repeat again at how Google could manage posts. Though putting full post controls in at composition time (e.g., enable/disable reshares/comments, etc.) would be useful.
Oh. "Collections" and "Circles" are exclusive options. That's beyond stupid. One sets sharing scope, the other topic. Ferchrissakes. I'm, quite frankly, stunned that Google managed to fuck up this specific aspect of the feature interaction.
I'm really not all that clear on what this offers that a simple capacity to just tag posts wouldn't offer.
Figuring out what to name Collections is actually a major stumbling point. Though the schema I'd developed for the dreddit works pretty well.
Let's leave it there for now.