I have one of those apparently rare, apparently coveted, Google+ accounts. I’m not going to link to my account. I don’t want you following me there. It’s not that I’m uninterested in using this new service: My friend Mr. Topp has a pretty good breakdown about why it’s in the running against both Twitter AND Facebook, for him. I think I agree about it’s general attractiveness for me, and the kind of web user I am. But I don’t want to invest effort into this account.
In order to have a Google+ account, at the moment, users need to be able to use Google Profiles, a service that consolidates a Google user’s interactions across multiple Google products and provides a public page to display those activities, should he choose to display them. This profile is in the background of the Google+ account, it seems, and if you don’t have one, you can’t use Google+.
Now, of course I have a Google Profile. But like just about everyone else with a Google Profile (there might be exceptions for individual product users), my Profile is associated with a Gmail account. Sadly, though, I never use my Gmail account. While most Google users who navigate the web probably do so while logged into Gmail, and so are automatically logged in to the other Google products they end up using during the day, including Google Profiles, I access those other Google products while using my Google Apps account.
What is Google Apps? Essentially, I asked Google to manage my personal domain (mostly e-mail and analytics) so I wouldn’t have to rely on GoDaddy’s web interface. I have Gmail-based e-mail, but it isn’t a Gmail account. It does give me access to some continuity across Google products, even though I’m not using Gmail (I can use the same private account to use YouTube, for example). Recently, Google Apps users were also given access to other products that traditional Google account users were able to access.
But we were not given access to Google Profiles. Google Apps users, for the moment, cannot create a Google Profile. And for now that means we also cannot use Google+.
This is a problem for users like me, and it’s also a problem for businesses that would like to establish a presence on Google+, since businesses often don’t have a single Gmail account that would be appropriate to link a Google+ account to. Recognizing this, Google has asked businesses to wait before creating a Plus account, because they’ll be rolling out a business-friendly interface for them.
My problems migrating my Facebook profile to a Page make me very reluctant to invest too much time or effort into an account that I might have to abandon if Google Apps users are finally given access to Plus, either through Profiles or through a business-friendly workaround that isn’t tied to Profiles. I don’t want to waste anybody else’s time. I also don’t want to waste my own time, logging into a never-used Gmail account just to access a social media service that is still in its infancy.
All I want is to be able to use Google products with the account that I use for all the other Google products. Until I can do that, I’m not going to jump into the Google+ pool with both feet.
(Also, as a Blackberry user, I actually CAN’T use Google+ in any meaningful way yet. There is no Blackberry app, and when I try to update through the browser I can’t see the update box and it doesn’t accept spaces between words. This is also a big reason for me to resist adopting it for the moment. I do a lot of my social media streaming on my mobile device.)