Dear Google Plus, Things I Want From You for Christmas

Dear Google+:

Here is my holiday wish list.

  1. The ability to mark a plus post as read so I don’t see it again unless there is new activity. Mute doesn’t cut it.
  2. Get past the +9 thing. Give us +10.
  3. The ability to add more than one photograph within a post, not just as a gallery.
  4. Give us some HTML characters beyond bold and italic. I want strikeout, HTML Anchor Tags (link dumps are so ugly as are link shortener links), and headings.
  5. The ability to use HTML character entities so I could write URLs as examples and not have them turn into clickable useless links, and other things that character entities are good for.
  6. The ability to write math, scientific, and coding formulas and formats with ease.
  7. A better understanding of what “people in common” means in circle notifications. I still don’t get it.
  8. Stop on auto scrolling. While auto updating and scrolling are nice, I’m constantly fighting to read or watch something in my stream. I have to click through and wait for another page load to just view that post. Give me a pause button, please.
  9. You got the goo.gl shortener so please incorporate it into Google+.
  10. A skin or layout option that would put active conversations I’m involved with on one side of the screen (for larger monitors) and my stream on the other so I don’t have to wait the long load times to view notifications.
  11. If you are serious about penalizing folks not using their “real” names or legal names, then be serious about it. I’m getting tired of finding clearly spammy names in my comments and circle notifications.
  12. Blogspot and Blogger suffered because of Google’s permissive policy on hosting (and profiting) on spam/scam/scraper blogs. We, especially Google, is wiser now. Let not the same thing happen with Google+. I’m seeing the edges fray already.
  13. When I want to share something and write a bit, please don’t make me hunt for the share overlay as it scrolls out from under my fingers as I’m typing. I just spent 30 minutes 50 minutes trying to find the share window when it scrolled away. I don’t want to lose what I’ve written, so damn you, please stop the auto scrolling when I’m sharing something. Update: I lost my post and had to rewrite it. I’m sure it’s not as good the second time around.
  14. Give us a draft option. Sometimes it takes me a few minutes, or I’m distracted with a phone call or something and I want to save what I’m writing on Google+. If I share it with myself in a closed circle, I can’t edit it and add in an image or video as that is locked down, and it looks strange me sharing a post that I wrote when I do share it. Sometimes I hit share and didn’t notice the link wasn’t added or forgot the video, so give us the option for drafts and for adding media after publishing.

I ask these things because I adore Google+ and want to see it grow and thrive.

Thank you,

Lorelle
The Tech Nag
Original post on Google+ used with my permission

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Whom Should I Allow to Own Me

With the release of the Amazon Fire tablet and the eco-system they’ve created for it, it has me questioning who should I allow to own me.

As I travel the highways and byways of the web, the gate I pass through owns my data. It owns my experience. The information collected about what I do, how I do it, and what I do it with, is collected, collated, and distributed along with the data from my fellow gate travelers and used by the gate keepers then sold to companies of all kinds around the world for them to make sweeping decisions about what I do, how I do it, what I do with it, and how they can make money with me or because of me.

The gate keepers are Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and Google, for the most part.

My life is already reluctantly owned by Google as I use Gmail, Google Docs, Google Apps, Google+, YouTube, Chrome, and the list goes on and on.

While my computer life started out a prisoner of Apple, I’ve years invested in ownership by Microsoft through Windows and so many of their products and hardware, including the keyboard I use to type this blog post.

Amazon, you’ve had me since the first book. Growing up in Seattle, you and Microsoft grew up with me, entering my life in college and continuing forward through today and into the future. As Amazon grew, my allegiance grew with it.

With Amazon’s Fire tablet using Google’s Android, the lines are getting blurrier and blurrier, but if I go with Fire, the flames will mostly be fueled by Amazon.

I need to get a new phone, so maybe I’ll be back with my old owner, Apple, again, reviving our connection from the 1970s and 80s.

So maybe my question is moot. Maybe I’ve unwittingly been owned by all of them.

Maybe what I’m really asking myself is which owner should I sell my soul to next.