There is a good chance many will use it like Facebook and Twitter - which brings the question "why migrate?" Circles isn't a new idea, but a large body of research suggests that it is difficult to get people to create and use groups, even if the tools to aid that are compelling (and Circles appears to be very compelling).
It will be interesting to watch ... I have a gut feeling all of the social tools (everyone - not just Google+) are a bit tone deaf so far.
Historypin is along the lines of something a few of us worked on a decade ago...
A historian who heard about our work requested the ability to link photos, journals, videos and other media to locations so people could browse the past. She wanted the ability to hold up the device and replace the current scene with the old image (that piece is tough)
What role can social networking websites play in supporting large-scale group action and change? We are proposing to explore their use in supporting individual reduction in personal energy consumption. Here we summarize some existing uses of social networking on the web and propose an approach thatintegrates feedback about ecological footprint data into existing social networking sites and Internet portal sites. Integrating such feedback into popular, commonly used sites allows frequent feedback about performance, while enabling the exploration motivational schemes that leverage group membership. We propose to compare different motivational schemes in three ways: Reduction in CO2 emission; lifestyle changes; and ongoing use by users who join the site
A difficult task as the public has a poor grasp of the issues involved and is easy prey to conventional advertising and greenwashing. Some of these tactics are probably good.
Folks at Berkeley's Infolab have produced a few interesting concepts. One is a phone that looks at UPC codes, goes to the Net and produces consumer scores. The idea has been around for a long time and some variations have exited (scan a product in a store and compare with Amazon prices). Making a properly weighted and trusted database is a more interesting problem.
It would be interesting to incorporate this into devices that people actually carry (like cellphones) and see if it would influence their buying decisions. One can imagine a variety of databases - you would probably subscribe to them by political or some other belief.
In the past few months I've been to several meetings where realtime blogging, chatting and hydra-ing were taking place.
Clearly this sort of channel isn't always a good idea as lots of typing in the audience is distracting. It is a good way to divert yourself (I've been guilty of doing it) when the speaker is really boring. At some level I think you could measure the quality of the talk by measuring the back channel communication - when a fascinating speaker is on the stage the back channel goes dead.
Now the Times mentions it. The Joe Nacchio story is becoming legend and is mentioned in every article on the subject.