A curious hacker named Matt Mastracci was diving into the Google Plus code yesterday, trying to turn on access to the new Circle-sharing feature, when he uncovered several new features apparently in the works. One, referred to in the source as “Google Experts,” appears to be a Quora-like question and answer feature with the same posting, commenting and sharing features as regular Plus posts.
Mastracci also uncovered Google Voice integration, which will not require phone numbers; new photo browsing options including photos from Messenger; new, clearly labeled privacy presets and a feature like Facebook’s wall, letting users post on each other’s profile without showing up in others’ streams.
Part of the code for Google Experts
Mastracci is co-founder at a social customer service site called gri.pe, and he’s a former StumbleUpon employee. He’s also the developer of a Chrome extension for Google Plus called Replies and more. He shared his discoveries in a blog post and several subsequentposts on Plus. He was able to turn on the privacy and photo features and post UI screenshots.
The new privacy presets range from “Public on the web” to “Lockdown,” with two intermediate options. They’re not optimal for all users, but the menu Mastracci discovered includes clear explanations of what each preset does. For users who don’t feel like painstakingly adjusting privacy settings, these four choices are clearly labeled and can be selected with one click.
If Google does launch Experts as a Q&A service, it could have interesting implications for Quora, who just announced threading, voting, images and editing to its comments yesterday. These are major overhauls for the preeminent Q&A site, but they only bring it up to par with Google Plus’ commenting features. If Google Experts has the same posting mechanics as Plus, it will launch with Quora’s conversation features right out of the gate. Quora has excellent topical browsing and tagging, but Google’s pretty good at identifying and serving up relevant search results. This would be a neat move for Google Plus, especially considering Facebook Questions’ failure to fly.
If Google launches Experts as a Q&A feature in Google Plus, would you use it?