At the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Google Co-founder Sergey Brin and Google+ SVP Vic Gundotra, talk about their new social network.
Among other things, Gundotra touched on the success Google+ has seen since its launch, most notably that users have uploaded 3.4 billion photos over the last 90 days, Gundotra said. Because of this early success, much of which was unexpected, Gundotra said, Google has been focusing on scaling the social network to make sure that it works for all of its users.
As a result, Google+ has so far lacked integration with Google Apps, a feature many users have been clamoring to see. According to Gundotra, the company "thought it would have more time" before it hit a scale and popularity in which these kinds of additions would become necessary.
With 40 million users, Google+ is already there. Gundotra said that Google Apps support on Google+ would be arriving "imminently", which he later clarified by saying "within a few days".
Gundotra also talked about the changes coming to Google+. Two of the biggest announcements were support for Google Apps and a change in the "real-name" policy.
Backpedaling About 'Real Names"
Google initially took a very strong stance on what users had to provide in order to use Google+. Users neeeded to have a public profile and were required to use their real names. Gundotra announced that they will be retreating from that hard stance as they "will support pseudonyms in the future." The SVP of social could only say that they "are coming" and that it is a complicated feat to accomplish.
While Gundotra did not expand on the types of Pseudonyms that will be allowed (nicknames vs. handles) he made it clear that users won't have full range as to what they can call themselves. Gundotra explained that Google implemented the 'real-name' rule for multiple reasons, one of which was atmosphere. He stated "if you are a woman and you post a photo and captain crunch or dog fart comments on it, it changes the atmosphere of the product." Gundotra went on to say that Google+ was about connecting with people that you know. So "other forms of identity" are coming, but will likely have some layers of quality control.
When asked about the Google+ APIs availablity, he said that "Google+ team has been taking a "cautious approach" to APIs, "When we release an API we want developers to have high confidence that they can depend on Google"," he said.
Gundotra said "Google+ initially only allowed users to sign up using their real names, but it will be adding features in the near future that support other forms of identity, specifically pseudonyms and nicknames."
"I'm not a very social person myself," Brin said to interviewer John Battelle, adding that he tried a number of social services "because I feel it's important to my job."
None of them were a fit until his own company's network launched.
"Google Plus, I instantly found compelling," Brin said.
Brin was joined by senior vice president and Google+ czar Vic Gundotra. Are the 40 million users that Google+ claims actually using the service, Battelle asked?
"Well, they signed up, and they're using it," Gundotra responded.
Brin also said that at first, he didn't like how Google+ was built but was happy with the outcome.
"I think the lesson is that you should not listen to me as a designer but as a user, I'm very pleased with the results," Brin said.
Gundotra and Brin both reacted to the leak of 'internal' letter from the engineer:
"Google+ is a knee-jerk reaction, a study in short-term thinking, predicated on the incorrect notion that Facebook is successful because they built a great product. But that's not why they are successful. Facebook is successful because they built an entire constellation of products by allowing other people to do the work.
...........read full letter here.
TechWebTV posted the entire interview (30+ minutes) from the Web 2.0 summit: