Thursday, August 23, 2012

Google+ Events - Lets get into Party Mode

After hearing about Google Plus Events at Google IO and then seeing one in action at the after party I couldn’t to take it for a road test. Every year my partner in crime Maz and I hold a large dinner party in honor of Bastille day. It’s an expensive, stressful, but grand affair that provides the eating of some of the best French food I’ve had the privilege of seeing on a plate. Everybody walks away full, slightly drunk, and unfortunately with all the pictures they’ve taken. And there in lies the problem for which I thought Google Plus Events could fix.
Google Plus Events is an interesting feature of Google Plus which makes events much more social and fun. Events cover the full lifecycle of an event by firstly making it extremely easy to send out invites, and Google Calendar syncing makes guest list management a breeze. Both of these have features have merit on their own however, where Google Plus Events really shines is when users enable party mode. Party mode enables guests to upload any photos taken to the events timeline automatically which combines with social chatter and photo comments to provide a in depth and sometimes hilarious trip down memory lane.

All of this is great in theory but how did Google Events perform when put to the test in an environment where technical support was at a minimum? Well honestly as much as I wanted it all to just work, it wasn’t without issues. Party mode only worked on two out of the five Android devices at the event, and only after completely disabling party mode on the other devices were they able to upload any photos at all. To this day I’m not exactly sure why as one of the devices not working was identical to mine. Then there were those pesky iPhones who didn’t have party mode at all, and had to manually upload images. Which to be honest was less troublesome than Party mode. Luckily the guests were very understanding, in fact it became the highlight of the evening. However, even with all those issues and me running technical support in between mouthfuls of food the end results were great. The social chatter and comments on the photos we actually managed to upload were hilarious and I still laugh whenever I flick through the events timeline.
I think that it is important to mention that at the time of the dinner party Google Events was only just released, and I did expect it to have some issues. Since my this event the Google Plus client has undergone various updates and  improvements, and I’d expect now that things will work more smoothly. I think the bottom line here is that even with all the running around and extra effort the end result was more than worth it.

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