Google Social

18 Sep 2007 - 6:09am
6 years ago
14 replies
752 reads
Jeff Stevenson
2007

I've had an idea for a web application churning around in my head for
a few weeks now, so I finally went ahead and wireframed it out. In my
head I'm calling it "Google Social" because I originally imagined it
as an addition to Google's suite of online tools. But it's definitely
not related to Google. It's just an idea I'm playing with

The problem I'm trying to solve is that I find I spent way too much
time following my friends online through an extensive set of
bookmarks. I go to Facebook to see what they're doing; I go to Xanga
to read some blogs; I go to Flickr to see their photos; and on and
on. But it's not natural for me to think about my friends in terms of
which social networks they're on. I would rather think "I wonder what
David is doing" and then see an aggregation of all David's online
activity in one place.

So I finally got around to wireframing the interface for this web
application, and I wrote a bit about it on my blog. You can take a
look at the blog entry here:
<http://www.digitalstevenson.com/jeff/blog/archives/15>

It would be best to read the blog entry first, but you can go
straight to the wireframes here:
<http://www.digitalstevenson.com/jeff/GoogleSocial/Google%20Social.htm>

I'm really interested in hearing feedback about this approach to
social networking. What do you think of the concept? What do you
think of the interactions in the wireframes? How could I improve this
idea?

Jeff

Comments

18 Sep 2007 - 7:03am
Morten Hjerde
2007

Cool

What about letting everyones activities float by like a river. Something
like the Facebook mini-feed?
You would aggregate all activities into one rss feed for each person and
merge everything onto your Google Social page.

And btw: In this day and age, I don't think anyone is "outside Google" :-)

--
Morten Hjerde
http://sender11.typepad.com

18 Sep 2007 - 8:58am
Peter Boersma
2003

Jeff wrote:
> The problem I'm trying to solve is that I find I spent way too much
> time following my friends online through an extensive set of
> bookmarks. I go to Facebook to see what they're doing; I go to Xanga
> to read some blogs; I go to Flickr to see their photos; and on and
> on.

The (originally mobile) social network Jaiku (http://jaiku.com) solved this by allowing its users to add streams from other social networks to their presence streams. This includes blogs, photos, bookmarks, music, places, events, videos and any other Atom or RSS feeds.

Peter (beep.jaiku.com)
--
Peter Boersma | Senior Interaction Designer | Info.nl
http://www.peterboersma.com/blog | http://www.info.nl

18 Sep 2007 - 9:05am
Jeff Stevenson
2007

The Facebook mini-feed is pretty cool, but for me it breaks down over time.
If I don't check it all the time, or if I have a lot of friends, then most
of the events go by without me noticing. Maybe it would be a fun addition,
like the "river" of popular videos on the YouTube home page... something you
can browse if you don't have a specific goal in mind.

Also, it looks like my server has stopped allowing access to the images in
my wireframes. I may have passed some kind of data limit. Sorry about that!
I'll see if I can get it working again.

Jeff

On 9/18/07, Morten Hjerde <mhjerde at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Cool
>
> What about letting everyones activities float by like a river. Something
> like the Facebook mini-feed?
> You would aggregate all activities into one rss feed for each person and
> merge everything onto your Google Social page.
>
> And btw: In this day and age, I don't think anyone is "outside Google" :-)
>
>
> --
> Morten Hjerde
> http://sender11.typepad.com
> ________________________________________________________________
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18 Sep 2007 - 9:44am
keyur sorathia
2007

Hi,

The (originally mobile) social network Jaiku (http://jaiku.com) solved this
by allowing its users to add streams from other social networks to their
presence streams. This includes blogs, photos, bookmarks, music, places,
events, videos and any other Atom or RSS feeds.

But do they give information about updated profile as it is there in jeff's
idea.

One more thing Jeff, you have tried to make one platform for all social
networking application, one more thing i thought can be done.
As we have almost all our mail contacts (like business, friends etc) in
different social networking application (like linkedIn,facebook, orkut,
myspace etc), why dont "google social" give information about the mails we
get.
For example; In the wireframe you have made, if Chris Schapman sends you
mail (on gmail, yahoo, hotmail etc) , then it shows in "google social", so
one can get almost all the information about his mails also through "google
social". So it becomes a platform of social networking+mails. (this is what
i thought)

Keyur.

On 9/18/07, Peter Boersma <peter at peterboersma.com> wrote:
>
> Jeff wrote:
> > The problem I'm trying to solve is that I find I spent way too much
> > time following my friends online through an extensive set of
> > bookmarks. I go to Facebook to see what they're doing; I go to Xanga
> > to read some blogs; I go to Flickr to see their photos; and on and
> > on.
>
> The (originally mobile) social network Jaiku (http://jaiku.com) solved
> this by allowing its users to add streams from other social networks to
> their presence streams. This includes blogs, photos, bookmarks, music,
> places, events, videos and any other Atom or RSS feeds.
>
> Peter (beep.jaiku.com)
> --
> Peter Boersma | Senior Interaction Designer | Info.nl
> http://www.peterboersma.com/blog | http://www.info.nl
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
>

18 Sep 2007 - 10:25am
Patrick G
2006

Jeff,

I have come across a number of social networking data-portability
initiatives recently, this being the one that I recall off the top of
my head:

http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2007/08/opening_up_the.html
http://bradfitz.com/social-graph-problem/

From the O'Reilly post:

"Their project attempts to solve the problem of multiple overlapping
social networks. This overlap makes it harder to establish new sites,
as people tire of rebuilding networks on each social networking site.
As a non-profit and opensource project, it aims to be vendor-neutral
and usable by all vendors."

From the project site:

"[Goal:] Establish a non-profit and open source software (with
copyrights held by the non-profit) which collects, merges, and
redistributes the graphs from all other social network sites into one
global aggregated graph. This is then made available to other sites
(or users) via both public APIs (for small/casual users) and
downloadable data dumps, with an update stream / APIs, to get
iterative updates to the graph (for larger users)."

It seems that in order for social networking to continue to evolve,
one of two things must happen: Either Facebook or some other
proprietary model wins out as a de facto standard, or a neutral,
third-party option like the one above emerges. In either case, your
idea is prescient; the current model for managing "social data" is
already becoming unsustainable with the proliferation of networking
sites/apps.

Perhaps, given the recent volume of discussion on the list regarding
IxD and open source, this project (or one like it) might be one
IxDers would consider contributing to or initiating ourselves...

Patrick

On Sep 18, 2007, at 7:09 AM, Jeff Stevenson wrote:

> I've had an idea for a web application churning around in my head for
> a few weeks now, so I finally went ahead and wireframed it out. In my
> head I'm calling it "Google Social" because I originally imagined it
> as an addition to Google's suite of online tools. But it's definitely
> not related to Google. It's just an idea I'm playing with
>
> The problem I'm trying to solve is that I find I spent way too much
> time following my friends online through an extensive set of
> bookmarks. I go to Facebook to see what they're doing; I go to Xanga
> to read some blogs; I go to Flickr to see their photos; and on and
> on. But it's not natural for me to think about my friends in terms of
> which social networks they're on. I would rather think "I wonder what
> David is doing" and then see an aggregation of all David's online
> activity in one place.
>
> So I finally got around to wireframing the interface for this web
> application, and I wrote a bit about it on my blog. You can take a
> look at the blog entry here:
> <http://www.digitalstevenson.com/jeff/blog/archives/15>
>
> It would be best to read the blog entry first, but you can go
> straight to the wireframes here:
> <http://www.digitalstevenson.com/jeff/GoogleSocial/Google%
> 20Social.htm>
>
> I'm really interested in hearing feedback about this approach to
> social networking. What do you think of the concept? What do you
> think of the interactions in the wireframes? How could I improve this
> idea?
>
> Jeff
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org

18 Sep 2007 - 9:23am
Alexis Brion
2007

Jeff, this is a good idea, I do really think you should make it
reality!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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18 Sep 2007 - 10:17am
Alexis Brion
2007

Jeff, which tool did you use for the wireframes?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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18 Sep 2007 - 12:47pm
Jeff Stevenson
2007

Alexis,

I used Visio and exported to HTML. There's a great tutorial on making
clickable wireframes at guuui.com:
<http://www.guuui.com/issues/02_07.php>

My copy of OmniGraffle is in the mail, though, so this might be one of my
last Visio creations.

Jeff

On 9/18/07, Alexis Brion <alexisbrion at designvsart.com> wrote:
>
> Jeff, which tool did you use for the wireframes?
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=20597
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
>

25 Sep 2007 - 3:58pm
bryan.haggerty ...
2005

Jeff,
Cool concept. The one interesting bit that popped out at me as I went
through your wireframes is how the origin of information (e.g,
LinkedIn, MySpace, etc.) became less important to me. I found myself
looking for an "All Activity" option for the person to see a
consolidated view of goings on for that person.

I know people have mentioned the facebook feed idea and that is
certainly similar, except that as mentioned, the facebook feed doesn't
scale well. So, keeping that list of contacts on the left is ideal and
moving the "networks" to the right might work better almost as like a
filter of the activity.

Bryan Haggerty
User Experience Designer
JPMorgan Chase

25 Sep 2007 - 4:14pm
Loren Baxter
2007

Jeff,

This is a concept that I think will get a lot of attention in the
near future. Google is actually funding an HCI project called Social
Stream that looks very much like your own solution:
http://hcii.cmu.edu/M-HCI/2006/SocialstreamProject/index.php

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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25 Sep 2007 - 6:38pm
Austin Mansu
2007

Jeff,

I recently found an interesting internet application with a rather
unconventional and progressive interface based around a similar concept
to what you have come up with. Check out the link below to see the
presentation on TED by Jonathan Harris. The intro presents some
background, but if you've not got the time, just use the slider to go to
the last article named "Universe".

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/144

Granted this app has a multitude of usability issues, the execution is
still very innovative. It collates real web articles about a specified
subject within a specified period and creates a Universe based on the
criteria.

Example being: "John Smith's" Universe over the "past month".

It appears to only target news articles rather than social networks and
general web content so you may be unlikely to see your own universe -
mine doesn't exist :(

The application Jonathan is talking about can be found here:

http://universe.daylife.com/

Enjoy

Austin Mansu

Information Architect Executive | OneDigital Pty Limited

e. austin.mansu at onedigital.com.au
<mailto:austin.mansu at onedigital.com.au>
w. www.onedigital.com.au <http://www.onedigital.com.au/>
Level 5, 349 Bulwara Road, Ultimo NSW 2007 Australia

Please consider the environment before printing this email

25 Sep 2007 - 8:01pm
Challis Hodge
2003

Loren:

Do you mean that google funded this student project in 2006 or that
they're funding the development of the student prototype?

-challis

On 9/25/07, Loren Baxter <loren.baxter at gmail.com> wrote:
> Jeff,
>
> This is a concept that I think will get a lot of attention in the
> near future. Google is actually funding an HCI project called Social
> Stream that looks very much like your own solution:
> http://hcii.cmu.edu/M-HCI/2006/SocialstreamProject/index.php

25 Sep 2007 - 8:31pm
Jeff Stevenson
2007

Loren,

This looks very cool, thanks for sharing. Socialstream is trying to do a lot
more than my Google Social does, and that comes with benefits and drawbacks.

I've been following Christina Wodtke's thread on "The Third Place" with
interest, and it's made me think that Google Social may really drop the ball
when it comes to creating a "place" where people want to be social. It's
really just an aggregator, so it lacks that sense of creating a place for me
and my friends that I think has made real social networks successful. In
contrast, Socialstream seems to include legitimate blogging and networking
tools, so it's much more successful at creating a "place".

The drawback (at least to me) is that the Socialstream UI was sometimes
confusing. Maybe the demo movie just went a little fast for me, but I had a
hard time following what was going on with the navigation. I wish it was
live somewhere, so we could actually get a feel for it!

I guess my lingering question is... do people want another social network,
or do they want an aggregator? Or some mix of the two?

Jeff

On 9/25/07, Loren Baxter <loren.baxter at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Jeff,
>
> This is a concept that I think will get a lot of attention in the
> near future. Google is actually funding an HCI project called Social
> Stream that looks very much like your own solution:
> http://hcii.cmu.edu/M-HCI/2006/SocialstreamProject/index.php
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=20597
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
>

26 Sep 2007 - 1:22pm
Loren Baxter
2007

Challis - News surrounding that is vague.
http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2007/07/googles-social-networking-projects.html
seems to be everyone's source, and they don't really make the
distinction. If you're highly interested, perhaps do some digging
and call the Carnegie Mellon group; I bet you'd wind up with more
information than anyone else on the web about it. Get the scoop as
it were.

Jeff - those are tough questions, and very important. I can't
presume to answer them, but my own feelings, hunches even, are that
the "place" aspect of the networks is very important. Logging into
mySpace and into Facebook are very different things for me. Each one
feels like its own "place", has its own community and level of
trust and comfort.

A good example would be my profiles on each site. They are very
different, based on the type of people that may be looking at them
(Friends on Facebook, basically anyone on Myspace). How do you
reconcile these two identities in one aggregator? How does my level
of "trust" change in the new social space that has been created?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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