Google just launched its new Facebook thing: Google Plus. And it's invite-only. But people aren't exactly killing each for Google Plus invites. Oh, how times have changed since the Gmail Invite Gold Rush.
Do you remember how crazy the internet went when the invite-only Gmail first launched in 2004? A Gmail invite was the ultimate tech talisman, the golden ticket to email nirvana. Gmail invites were being hawked on EBay for $200! I remember when I got an email from my first friend with a Gmail address: I felt so jealous I wanted to go over to his house and strangle him in his sleep with a mouse cord. (Not many wireless mice back then, remember.) And I remember when I got my Gmail invite: The first line of the first email I sent using Gmail says it all: "This is what heaven must feel like."
Now Google Plus, Google's latest attempt at a social networking service, has launched in similar invite-only form. But instead of getting on the list at an exclusive club, a Google Plus invite is more like an opportunity to sign up for a slightly unsavory psychological experiment. Remember, Google most definitely did not do invites for Google Buzz last year—they just automatically forced everyone into their horrible mistake! Plenty of people are begging for Google Plus invites on Twitter, but people on Twitter would beg for a bullet in the foot if the bullet was made by Google. Nobody is selling these on EBay because nobody would buy them.
Makes sense: Whereas Gmail reinvented email, now they're just trying to play catch-up with Facebook. The lackluster reviews of Plus probably don't help. And the illuminati who trafficked in Google invites to bolster their geek cred now have a million other ways to show off—namely, Twitter follower-count.
That said, we really want a goddamn Google Plus invite. Anyone got one?