Within the realm of social networking Facebook has been the most dominant and successful for many years due to a few features; Google seems to have developed a service that utilizes those core features and integrates the social aspect of things with the remainder of it’s services. Google has taken its time to fully build its infrastructure and it seems that now it is ready to attend to the UI that it has so long disregarded. Nevertheless, let’s focus on a few key features or tweaks that I would personally like to see in the future.
# Third Party Chat Client Integration
Allowing third party clients to start/join hangouts will allow for people to constantly stay in hangouts and essentially replicate VTC equipment for free. With Skype recently being acquired by Microsoft it seemed like Google couldn’t wait a few weeks to fully polish the service. With regards to Webex, it only has a few features that allow it to stand out until Google decides to roll out a competing product.
# Screen sharing during hangouts
Much like what Skype already has, this would be an essential feature for giving presentations or doing any sort of troubleshooting.
# @Username Tabcompletion within Hangout Chat
When having more than three people in a discussion it would be cool to have a twitter like response within the chat window so that conversations are not lost in the hysteria.
# Improved Hangout UI
The buttons are rather large and clunky, and the window could be laid out a little better to maximize the available window space. Perhaps a minimized settings dock that only appears when the mouse is near, or perhaps the usual gear in the top right corner would suffice. With time I am sure this will be addressed; Google has done a wonderful job with the Google+ layout and design thus far.
# Current Hangouts Section
It would be nice to see all the friends are currently hanging out instead of parsing through the stream. Could throw it right under the current Hangout section.
# Better Circle Management
Currently it is still in the field testing range so I expect this to improve over time. One of the nice things to see would be the flexibility to rearrange your circles. An improved, detailed list of each circle which would allow for easier management instead of the rectangles that take up screen real estate.
# Improved Contact Segregation
I’ve noticed that Google will add Google+ contacts to my Gmail contacts list, well this can be problematic since I sync my Gmail contacts to my phone which I keep extremely organized. It would be nice to add Google+ profiles with no associated contact to a separate, non-syncing group. Currently I am doing this manually, but it’s working out nicely.
# More Profile Page Options or Adjusted Layout
While throwing more information on social networking sites isn’t the best idea, your Google profile page seems to be lacking… something. I can’t put my finger on it but it would be nice to have a few more items on there. Perhaps it will just take time for me to get adjusted to the profile page; I don’t have a lot of information on Facebook but maybe its the layout, either way that page will most likely not stay the same.
# Centralized Privacy Controls
The way that Google+ currently manages privacy is that it will allow you to tweak privacy settings on everything which is phenomenal, however, it still would be nice to centralize all of that into a single page where it will be easier to spot discrepancies and adjust global settings accordingly.
# Sparks RSS Aggregation Recommendations
Usually I’m not a large proponent of Google grabbing my other data and using it to assist me, but it would be cool to see Google+ leverage my rather vast RSS library with my flagged articles and suggest Sparks that relate to my interests. Again, cool feature that I would love to see.
# Google Calendar Integration
Why not have a friends calendar with events that your friends are attending integrated into Google Calendar?! You can post personal events and invite everyone seamlessly.
# Platform Specific Mobile Applications
Particularly iPhone and BlackBerry since Android already has the integration element streamlined in. At the very least the iPhone application is going through approval from what I’ve read.
# External Social Networking Tie-ins
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc, integration will just be a matter of time
Again, please keep in mind that I absolutely appreciate all the work that Google has poured into this service and these are merely my thoughts and personal opinions which are always open to discussion! It would be nice to migrate away from Facebook and into a cleaner, more professional, more integrated social networking service.