Yesterday, Google’s Bradley Horowitz used Twitter to tweet out a call for Twitter users with more than 100,000 followers who also had a Google+ account. Horowitz was searching for a batch of users for a pilot program of a suggested users list, very similar to Twitter recommending specific people or brands to follow. Late Friday, Google launched its first attempt at a suggested users list on an official Get Started page. These picks are split into multiple categories such as entertainment, news, music, photography, politics, sports and technology. Google also listed a curated selection of top picks from all the categories.
Users can add celebrities and other popular figures directly from the page as well as assign these people into circles. It doesn’t appear that users have the ability to create their own lists yet, beyond segmenting people into circles. Twitter added the ability for users to create custom lists in 2010, but the feature isn’t widely used. Initial reactions to Google’s suggested users list is that the list is too similar to Twitter’s recommendations and many people on the list were simply chosen because of fame rather than quality or frequency of posts. For instance, two people in the sports category, Jillian Michaels and Erin Andrews, haven’t created a post on Google+ since July. The most active category unsurprisingly appears to be technology.
While it appears that Google is currently valuing celebrity status over quality, they are rumored to be working on a way to promote the value of a user that posts quality content. Google also recently added the ability to watch YouTube videos with friends on Google+ through the Hangouts feature. When logged into a Google user account, a link for Google+ Hangouts appears beneath the video on the YouTube page. The concept is similar to Microsoft’s feature on Xbox Live that allows friends to jointly watch a film and chat with each other during the viewing.