Friday, July 15, 2011

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and often a path to profit


When I was a little kid in school, the teacher used to dole out little star stickers for good behavior, getting all the questions right on your homework, and so on.

As of yesterday, Google is giving out badges for reading the news:


As best I can tell from the Google blurb, instead of being a Foursquare “Mayor” I can get colored badges for reading categories of news.  More news in a category means a better color: bronze, silver, gold, platinum, with an eventual rise to “Ultimate.”

I’m really not sure what to think of this.  Is reading a lot of news articles like “eating your peas” as the President wants the Republicans to do?  Maybe Google is on to something here.  Colored badges for the GOPers that play nice on the debt ceiling debate!

Google is on an imitation roll lately.  Google+ seems to be attempting to combine Facebook (Stream), Twitter (Following and Inbox), Skype (Hangout), and pick your own flavor of photo sharing (Photos) and instant messaging (Huddle), with its own RSS/news feed thrown in (Sparks).

Google is getting a bit of media flack for its imitation; but, it’s also getting a bit of praise for the slick and often improved way it does what its competitors have been doing.

Ford wasn’t the first car company; but, it invented the assembly line.  Microsoft stole Windows and made it ubiquitous.  My Space came before Facebook, which pretty much drove it out of business.  Remember Dogpile and Alta Vista and Google’s other early competitors?  (Interestingly, they are both still around – Dogpile.com and Altavista.com – the latter looks like an early, stripped down Google.com.)

The interesting thing about Google+ is its shopping mall versus boutique approach to the internet.  In a way, it’s a throw back to the early Yahoo and AOL – come here (and stay) for all of your World Wide Web needs!

I signed up for Google+ the other day, as those of you that got here from my Stream know.  So far, it’s Facebook with a much better interface but only a couple of “friends.”  (Be an early adopter, hang out at the mall with me, sign up so I’m not lonely!)  I can say that Sergey Brin is boring and the Mark Zuckerberg has nothing to say, literally, nothing. 

Until you get here, maybe I’ll spend my time getting some nice shiny, colored badges.

4 comments:

Big Mark 243 said...

I would join, but I thought it was by invite early, and I haven't received my. Perhaps it was mistakenly sent to Nigeria to help out that Prince trying to get his money from the bank...

fermicat said...

I can't figure out why all those people have Zuckerberg included in their circles. I certainly don't give a flying f*ck about whatever he might have to say. But I'm one of the 0.01% of the people on the internet who never joined Facebook.

So far, I kind of like G+. It might take a while for people to gravitate over there, but I've found a few real live people that I know and care about already and the thing has only been live for a few weeks. I like the fine control over what is shared. Will probably never use the Hangouts (I don't do videoconferencing except when I have to at work), but the rest of the stuff seems promising.

Epic Fail said...

I don't know if colored badges is going to be enough to inspire me to go with Google+. I just don't feel the need.

The Curmudgeon said...

Our pattern jury instructions have a caution against using social media sites during jury service -- you know why these are necessary from recent news stories. The instructions have blanks for new sites to be added as they become popular. I just added Google+ to the most recent set I prepared.

But I don't know if it will catch on.