Levy followed the project during nearly a year he spent inside Google, working on his book “In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives,” so he was prepared to post the definitive piece today on the Google+ release.
A bit from the top:
The product it’s announcing is called Google+, and observers might wonder whether it’s simply one more social effort by a company that’s had a lousy track record in that field to date.
Parts of it certainly seem to appear similar to what we’ve seen before. One significant component is a continuous scroll called “the Stream” that’s an alternative to Facebook’s news feed, a hub of personalized content. It has a companion called “Sparks,” related to one’s specified interests. Together they are designed to be a primary attention-suck of Google users — Google hopes that eventually people will gravitate to the stream in the same way that members of Facebook or Twitter constantly check those continuous scrolls of personalized information.
Levy said this is just a glimpse of a huge, critical project that will be revealed through a series of launches:
“Developed under the codename Emerald Sea, it is a result of a lengthy and urgent effort involving almost all of the company’s products. Hundreds of engineers were involved in the effort. It has been a key focus for new CEO Larry Page.
The parts announced Tuesday represent only a portion of Google’s plans. In an approach the company refers to as “rolling thunder,” Google has been quietly been pushing out pieces of its ambitious social strategy — there are well over 100 launches on its calendar.”