Is Google+ a minus?

This morning’s Observer column.

To read some of the excited commentary on these innovations you’d think that teleportation had actually arrived. Watching people salivate over Circles and, er, Hangouts helps to explain how the ancient Egyptians came to worship an insect. It also reminds one of the astonishing power that large corporations possess to create a reality-distortion field around them which, among other things, disables the capacity to believe that these organisations might sometimes do very silly things indeed. There was a time, for example, when Microsoft’s every move was greeted with the hushed reverence with which devout Catholics greet papal utterances. Grown men swoon whenever Steve Jobs appears in public. And it’s not that long ago since Google launched its incomprehensible “Wave” service (now defunct) and an idiotic venture called “Buzz” – things that excited geeks but left the rest of the world unmoved.

So the question du jour is whether Google+ is an electric wok or not…