Will automation damage Google Plus?

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One of the things I’ve been really enjoying about Google Plus is the lack of an API. For those that don’t know, an API is called an Application Programming Interface and it’s what allows all of those 3rd party programs (TweetDeck, Hootsuite, etc) to interact with the services you want to talk to. Google has done a smart thing this time around with their social network. With their previous attempts (Wave and Buzz) they released the API immediately. It was smart to hold it back for Google Plus. Why?

One of the amazing things about Google Plus is watching the real time streaming of posts and comments. Comet is the technology behind that and allows the server to send updates to you rather then you request them. It’s cool. Because you can’t autopost, or schedule posts or read posts by a spam bot, what you see in realtime is REAL. It’s actually being posted by someone who actually has Google Plus open and is interacting with it. Because of this, the level of engagement and interaction I’ve seen and experienced has been amazing.
Once the API is released I’m expecting this level of engagement to decrease. I’ll be asking myself: “Is that post real or scheduled?” “They probably aren’t even online right now.” Because the API will make it easier to automate, you’re going to find your streams cluttered with more and more content and NOISE. It’s one of the reasons that you’re finding people jumping to Google right now. My Facebook stream is jam packed with tons of crap. Sure I’ve hidden a lot of it. If I see one more friggin’ post about harvesting my crops in Annoyingville I’m going to scream. Twitter is a wilderness of auto posts and the same regurgitated content over and over again. When it’s no longer required to be on Google Plus to post, you’re going to find that our streams will become clogged there too.

What do you think? Will automation damage Google Plus? Should Google restrict their API? What do you think this means from a Marketing standpoint? Do you worry that because Circles makes it easy to filter content that noise won’t be tolerated? Would love to hear your thoughts…

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