Jack of all trades, master of none. Those are our thoughts after taking the new Google Spaces, out for a test drive. This social tool was recently launched in Google I/O 2016 and theoretically offers users a different way to share content in groups. A kind of decaf Google Plus? A mutilated Reddit? It’s all that, yet none of it. Here’s our take.
What is Google Spaces?
For starters, Google Spaces is a free service for Android and iOS that is also accessible from your web browser. Its initial main duty is offering themed channels where any user can meet up with another to publish text, photos or links. Updating you on new content in the groups that you follow, it sends you a notifications within your browser or on your smartphone, and is seamlessly integrated with the rest of Google’s services.
Linked to YouTube, Google Photos and web browsers, this app is capable of sharing content naturally within Google’s own ecosystem. Any user that participates in a group has the option to interact within it, commenting on posts or chatting in group free-for-alls with other members. To join a channel, you’ll need to gain access via a unique URL for each group that you can open from within the app.
What is Google Spaces really for?
Jury is still out on that one. They sold us on the idea that Spaces was going to be a social app for interacting with people sharing the same interests, though that could easily fizzle out into one thousand and one distractions. While it might be a way to share your hobbies with other people, all signs point towards it becoming yet another chat space used with family and friends jabbering on about how much fun you all had last Saturday. It’s not an indispensable tool for anyone. It doesn’t really fill a niche. Each user will just have to find their own use for this one.
The main problem within this initiative is that their market is already fully stocked. With Facebook users migrating from other messaging clients to their native app, and specific services like Slack bringing up the rear, the road doesn’t look easy for Spaces, at least starting out. We should bare in mind that the byways in the world of software are inscrutable. In a flash, things can end up booming when you least expect it. We’ll just have to wait and see.