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Google Technology

Google+ Enters Open Beta 188

First time accepted submitter morgosmaci sends us a Google Blog post about the transitioning of Google+ from a closed "field trial" to an open beta. As part of the update, Google threw in a number of enhancements to the Hangouts feature: an Android client, named hangouts, integration with Google Docs, and a preliminary web service API. And you can finally search for users, posts, and other content.
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Google+ Enters Open Beta

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  • Google+ is a success (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ge7 ( 2194648 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @01:55PM (#37458188)
    But probably not in the way they wanted it to be. It was a success in making Facebook to improve their service. Facebook has now taken all the good things Google+ offered - including improving their games platform streams and just last week they added circles (and it goes both ways, Google+ also completely ripped off Facebook's look and feel)

    What's even more worrysome for Google, and not just for Google+ but their entire search engine usage and YouTube, is that this week Facebook will announce a huge upgrade [] with among others music and video services inside Facebook. This means less time spent on YouTube listening to music (yes, people actually do that, a lot) and more time spent on Facebook. When you're listening to music on Facebook, your friends also see what you listen to - a feature teens especially love. Google+ is missing these things entirely, among the other ones Facebook has had for ages.

    Now that Google opens up the beta it means they've lost the PR effect of being somewhat mysterious social network. And frankly, it's quite dead there. I've said about this before too on slashdot, and then people suggested some random people who to follow (mostly IT geeks). The thing is, I don't want to follow those random people. It's not interesting. I want to follow my friends and relatives, and maybe some pages of my interest (like games, tv shows, bands etc). Which is yet again another aspect that Google+ is missing - pages. And event planning, and countless amount of other features.

    They had a good PR idea of keeping it mysterious in the beginning, but I really wouldn't want to be the guy who decided it's a good idea to go compete against Facebook with an unfinished product. They killed all the potential Google+ had.
    • by bigredradio ( 631970 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @02:03PM (#37458310) Homepage Journal
      I agree. The big problem is overcoming the inertia of moving to a new service. For many, Facebook has become their family photo albums. Even if Google+ provides a better service, most do not want to start over. They also don't want to deal with moving all of their pictures over. The daily connectivity and communication is something that can quickly be overcome, but the archived photos and videos is the anchor that will keep people on Facebook.
      • Why do you need to move pictures and videos over? In the past it was email saying "here are some vacation pics, have a look", no need for viewers to be on facebook. To you can keep them there since their actual location shouldn't matter much (it doesn't even have to be Facebook or Google+).

        Of course if you're smart always keep a backup at home if you care about the picture.

      • I don't have the name anymore, but I found a tool that allowed me to easily (automatically) move all my pictures over. I don't believe there's much facebook can do to stop this, provided the tool runs locally on the user's machine.

        • They can, safely know that 95% of computer users don't know how to find or use tools to make their lives easier, and that 3/4ths of the 5% won't bother to move because they know there aren't many people they care about moving. That being said, I really like G+, the handfull of friends I care about have moved over there, The many I left behind on facebook, I really don't miss. Within the crew of friends I have, there is more sharing, chatting etc... going on that interest me, then there ever was on facebook.
      • by dan828 ( 753380 )
        I had mixed results even getting people to try it. Most that I sent invites to just had no idea what it was, and even when explained didn't want to try it out. A few friends got and and where using it quite a lot, but then as they were unable to get most of their friends on, have pretty much stopped using it. Most don't want to "double post", so have moved back to facebook. We get together to hangout on google still, but that's about all.
        • by Fri13 ( 963421 )

          Did they know they can log in Google+ and their post are visible to Facebook as well? No need to double post but just single post.

      • That reminds me... I haven't checked FaceBook in a few hours!
      • by horza ( 87255 )

        The risk of having your photo album on Facebook is that if you violate their TOS of not using your real name then they just cancel the account and lose all your friends and photos with no warning. This why G+ is so good... oh they now do the same thing. So why do I want to move over?


      • You can move your stuff over using this app.. []

        Not the point you were making but I figured someone would like this.

    • by Artraze ( 600366 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @02:05PM (#37458328)

      > They had a good PR idea of keeping it mysterious in the beginning

      I disagree completely. By allowing us to preview it, we could see the 'evils' of its real name policy, account tie ins (and bans), and so on. If they opened it straight away, everyone probably would have jumped on at once (new thing!) and they might have stood a chance. Instead they gave us time to mull over its fundamental design problems^Wgoals and Facebook time to upgrade, and now it's dead before it even lived.

      • If google plus dies, I doubt it will be because so many users are upset they had to use their real name. I suspect it will be because people compare the "everything is visible to everyone" of facebook to the "you can actually limit who sees what you post" on google plus and assume that means google plus is dead.
        • If google plus dies, I doubt it will be because so many users are upset they had to use their real name.

          I'm not so sure. In the beginning, g+ had enormous momentum and excellent press. The media picked up on the concept of a new social network that wasn't the Big Bad facebook, and loved it for that reason (and that reason only). How many times did you read about how wonderful circles were, compared to g+ being fantastic because it "wasn't facebook"? If they'd made g+ public after the first month of great press and in the midst of all the hype, I suspect g+ would have had an excellent chance of sending fac

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MBoffin ( 259181 )

      It was a success in making Facebook to improve their service.

      Facebook still hasn't improved my trust in them, though.

      Facebook improving their "Lists" feature to act like Google+'s Circles doesn't make me any more inclined to use Lists. The fact is, Facebook lost my trust a long time ago and will never get it back. They have a long, long history of opening up your private information without your consent and then (sometimes) allowing you to opt back in to the more closed model.

      Lists are something I do not

    • by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @02:16PM (#37458420) Homepage Journal

      Facebook lost 12 million members in May (6 million in the US alone) before Google+ launched. Meanwhile, in a limited beta, Google+ became the fasting growing social networking platform in history.

      Facebook is aping some of the features, but they'll never change in some the areas that matter. Facebook believes they own your data. They refuse to allow you to fully delete your account. They move privacy settings all the time and refuse to set sane defaults because they want to expose your data against your will. Facebook won't set sane defaults for apps because they want advertisers to have your data. Clicking on a simple link in Facebook can lead to spamming your while friend's list, and Facebook never intends to change that.

      Facebook has been around for over 7 years. It took 4 years to reach 100 million members. Google+ got 14 million in a few weeks in a closed beta. I wouldn't be shocked to see them reach 100 million in a year.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ge7 ( 2194648 )
        That initial crowd was mostly just curious users. I wanted to see it too, but after that it hasn't seen pretty much any usage.

        What comes to sane defaults, Google+ has exactly the same problems. By default all your data is very open, and because it's tightly integrated into Google, your details go public the very second you just register to Google+, because everything is public by default. When you run some game or app it also asks all the same kind of permissions that Facebook apps do. Google+ apps can al
        • by Riceballsan ( 816702 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @03:38PM (#37459340)
          Not true, in both categories. Google+ by default lists the main parts of your profile, that is true, but as soon as you upload any content, comments, posts, pictures etc... the first thing it does is ask you who you want to be able to see it with the default being your circles (people you have added). Facebook 6 months ago, if you created an account, and uploaded 3 photos and made a status post without changing any options, all of that would have been public. Games take a list of people on your friends list, which makes sense, a social game should list your friends for the sake of knowing who's high scores to show you. Now if say I added a jerk to my friends who idiotically plays a ton of games and accepts every darn "tell your friends about the retarted cow you stepped on" update. Those go to the games feed. If I don't play games, I never click the games feed and thus I never even see the spam. It never mixes in with the posts and things my friends are sharing, etc... Facebook 6 months ago, if you had 2 friends who clicked every stupid share with friends in their games, your feed got so frickin crowded you couldn't find any of the non game-based posts until you started blocking the games, and then you have to block each and every game to keep up with them. Bottom line G+ isn't perfect, but it is leaps and bounds foward from facebooks defaults.
      • Facebook has been around for over 7 years. It took 4 years to reach 100 million members.

        That's because Facebook spent its first two and a half years, from February 2004 through September 2006, in a closed field trial: first college students and then high school students were allowed in. Graduated before February 2004? The only way to get an account was to go back to grad school.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by DerekLyons ( 302214 )

        Meanwhile, in a limited beta, Google+ became the fasting growing social networking platform in history.

        It's pretty easy for any Google service to become the fastest growing anything 'in history', because all Google has to do is induce existing Google users to sign up. Their historical problem has been to grow beyond that initial surge.

        Facebook has been around for over 7 years. It took 4 years to reach 100 million members. Google+ got 14 million in a few weeks in a closed beta.

        It may have taken Face

        • by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @03:23PM (#37459210) Homepage Journal

          Google has never been able to fight off entrenched competition?

          Have you ever heard of Android?

          Microsoft also shut down their blogging product, because Google dominated that market. Google isn't first in every market, but that doesn't mean that Google fails in every market.

          Web mail numbers are always skeptical. How many people create throwaway Hotmail and Yahoo accounts simply because they can? How many spammers create Hotmail and Yahoo accounts?

          Google makes it harder to create throwaway and spam accounts, and thusly has fewer Gmail accounts. That doesn't mean the service is failing. I wouldn't be shocked if Gmail had more real users than Hotmail.

          • by ge7 ( 2194648 )
            Google bought of Blogspot, they didn't make it. If Google wants to succeed in social networks market, they need to buy off Facebook, and that isn't going to happen.
          • Google has never been able to fight off entrenched competition? Have you ever heard of Android?

            Yes, I've heard of Android. So what? It's one of the few successes they've had. If you go back and actually read what I wrote, you'll note that I've already stated that as a given.

            Microsoft also shut down their blogging product, because Google dominated that market. Google isn't first in every market, but that doesn't mean that Google fails in every market.

            Google only dominated that market because they

            • You suggest Google can't possibly compete in a new market and cite email, but ignore the fact that we don't have accurate numbers on actual real email users. When I point out the fallacy of that statement, you resort to ad hominem attacks. If there is a fanboy here, it isn't me.

      • by oztiks ( 921504 )

        None of this really matters.

        Zucker should of sold FB to MS and walked away, he was stubborn in his way and allowed MS to salt its value .

        Google the Gorilla has come in and will split its marketshare in half, expecting otherwise is just foolish. Everyone who uses Facebook uses Google, not everyone who uses Google uses Facebook, its a numbers game and a numbers game determines advertising budgets and advertising budgets pave these way to fat bank accounts and marketcaps.

        FB estimated value just slumped.

    • Facebook will never have the primary feature that Google+ has. That is, Facebook can never be an alternative to Facebook.

      I'm following friends and relatives on Google+. I'm not on Facebook so I'm not following anyone there, and the family I have there want to leave it and I don't have any "omg gotta check Facebook!" style friends.

      • That is, Facebook can never be an alternative to Facebook.

        Nor can Google+ be an alternative to Google+. Truth is, Facebook was already an alternative to MySpace between the fourth quarter of 2006, when Facebook's field trial ended, and the fourth quarter of 2010, when MySpace became my_____.

    • If Google+ had an analog of the Events feature, all my friends would have jumped ship months ago. It's about the only useful thing on Facebook.
    • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) * on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @02:49PM (#37458842) Homepage Journal

      At least Google+ lets me write half a book as my status update if I want to. Facebook makes me Tweet or write a note that no one looks at.

    • by gorzek ( 647352 )

      Facebook has become the Microsoft of social networking: rather than innovate anything themselves, they can let other companies do the R&D, then rip off whatever's successful. Win-win for Facebook, at least until no one else is willing to try to compete with them anymore.

    • > I want to follow my friends and relatives, and maybe some pages of my interest (like games, tv shows, bands etc).

      I like to phone and talk in person to my family and friends. Those who refuse to do that with me unless its through Facebook or some other flavour of the month social site can can eat me. So no, Google will not lose search and youtube usage as there are plenty of us who would rather not be the commodity of some website business.

    • I would suggest that google plus does not necessarily have to beat facebook in terms of numbers in order to be a success. If you use the google search engine, gmail, or google maps, and have a google plus account, you'll get notifications about activity on google plus. Moreover, you are still a google user, and are sellable in terms of advertising.

      If and when facebook comes out with an e-mail product, a maps product, and a search engine, then google might start to sweat.
    • by jafac ( 1449 )

      It's not dead.

      Just pinin' for the fjords. . .

  • For the impatient... (Score:5, Informative)

    by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <> on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @01:59PM (#37458252) Homepage Journal
    go to [] and you can sign up through there.

    Or you can read the article and eventually find the link.
  • by Imagix ( 695350 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @02:00PM (#37458276)
    And yet you _still_ cannot join Google+ if you have a paid-for Google Apps for Domains account.
    • It's in beta. That means you get all the good while hand-waving away the bad!

    • Granted, I have a small brain and limited understanding of the ways of the Google...but WTF? They made us convert our accounts months ago so we could use new products and the first new product out the door isn't available to our now converted accounts. Google Apps has been great for my domain, but this is really annoying and creates administrative headaches.
    • by EricTheGreen ( 223110 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @02:19PM (#37458454) Homepage

      I share Imagix's annoyance. No excuse for this "we're working hard on bringing Google Apps support" bollocks, given that (on the whiteboard, at least), the apps-centric domain user ID is now properly recognized by the great majority of legacy Google services.

      Apps were well-established long before Plus development started. Why wasn't the ID management system in Plus implemented with Apps support from the ground up?

    • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@tpn o - c o .org> on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @02:23PM (#37458514) Homepage

      You know, it's annoying that it's not available but my main issue is the lack of communication from Google on this issue. What timeline do we have for this being implemented? "Soon", for the past 6 months we've heard that. What does "soon" mean? Tomorrow? That's soon. Or is it "Google Beta" level soon, where it could be YEARS before they get around to fixing it.

      As an administrator of a number of paid for Apps domains, I find their behavior on this issue to lack any kind of competence or professionalism. I am regretting my decision to recommend google web base email and am actively exploring alternatives because of their behavior.

      • Their soon doesn't usually include timelines. Take android, lack of Unlimited bluetooth discovery is my pet peeve, it's been an open issue for years. 3.0 came out and it was posted on the buglist 'it's fixed, stop complaining' but it hasn't been implemented. So it went from 'soon it'll be fixed' to 'soon it'll be put in', timeline still unknown.
    • This drives me crazy. I know a number of people who have written it off just for that reason. They don't want anymore google accounts. I currently have 4, I have co-workers and friends with that many and more. Job, job, moonlighting job, and personal. With all of these organizations switching over it's just building up and I want google+ to manage it. Not to just disallow it.

      • by whm ( 67844 )

        Agreed. And what's more, even if I don't mind using a second Google account for Google+, it would require me to *logout* of all the other services I'm actively using with my Google Apps account - my email, my calendar, my RSS feed - just so I can login to the Google+ specific account. I'm not going to logout of all that stuff just to access G+, and I'm not going to run an instance of a separate browser just to access G+.

    • are you crazy? If you paid for apps, then your account must be tied to your work. Why would you want to link that to a social networking account?
    • The good news is someone opened an "Issue" for the google+ platform. You can follow it here: []

      We've clicked on the star in an effort to show interest in the issue. So far this issue has more interest than any other issue listed, by almost an order of magnitude.

  • Google products being beta is not news. Tell me when it's out of beta.

  • They were never going to build up users in the "closed" field trial when they only allowed each user to only invite a mere 100 other users... It was too tough to get in before.

    • A mere 100? Someone would actually invite 100 separate individuals? You don't need that much connectivity to grow a network.

  • I hate the no alias rule. And its tied to your Google Account which many people use for some serious stuff (eg checkout, gmail) so getting banned it a big deal.
    And I don't like that its owned by Google. We really-really need some decentralized social networking thing. As far as I know diaspora and OneSocialWeb are dead or sick. Maybe some rich tech guy can get it kick started.

    • by lee1 ( 219161 )

      We really-really need some decentralized social networking thing.

      My social networking thing is completely decentralized. It consists of my own domains and websites and email. I am in complete control and it works exactly the way I make it work. Why do I need to use some company's product?

      • by hey ( 83763 )

        I don't think your social network supports these things:
        - Making an event (eg birthday party) and inviting your friends and getting their RSVPs (without you manually collating).
        - Doing tweet-like comment. eg hey I saw something interesting today. Doesn't merit mailing all your friends.
        - Sharing photos without mailing megabytes to each friend.
        - A comment thread for each photo, etc

    • Bottom line, a social network to even have a chance of getting off the ground right now, needs a flipping huge financial backing in the billions. Or for the existing one to become so unusable it is abhorant that even in the absense of competition, few would want to use it. Getting people over to a social network involves not just converting a few thousand and then slowly growing it, but converting a good 25% chunk, at the same time. Because unless others are using it, nobody will stick around long, if nobod
      • Well, that doesn't sound good for a FB competitor, but this gave me hope:

        "Or for the existing one to become so unusable it is abhorant that even in the absense of competition, few would want to use it."

        FB has been heading in that direction, though G+ might get them to turn themselves around.

    • by gclef ( 96311 )

      It's tied to *a* google account. It doesn't have to be tied to your pre-existing Gmail account, though. When they ask for your gmail account, lie, and make another.

  • Google Hangouts work on my Samsung GT-I9100 cell phone! Really! I'll bet AT&T is going to hate this.

  • I know, let's all discuss this on Google Wave! After all, Wave has massive potential for business users, With 19 Educational uses,

    Unfortunately, I can't find the uptake numbers for Wave. Of course, just because one product flops doesn't mean the next must too. It's just that one of the reasons Wave probably failed was that it didn't offer people anything they

  • You guys seriously did not expect Google to have an insta-win over Facebook, did you?

    The success of G+ is going to take time, but it will happen. Think about it: you already have an account, one day you'll find someone or something worth following on G+. You'll comment, your friends are going to notice. And believe me, they WILL notice, since there is a G+ cross-integration over the whole array of Google products (Search, YouTube, Docs, Gmail, etc): this black top bar with this red square and number in it

    • by horza ( 87255 )

      Wow you have completely the opposite take to me! With G+ forcing me to use my real name, tracking my emails, tracking my browsing habits, that little red dot is a constant reminder that Google is no longer just sifting data to serve me ads but is constantly watching ME. Not some hypothetical concept of 'me' but one that can be linked to my parents, my friends, my work colleagues.

      Not that I'm going to stop using Google for search, I love it too much. Instead I do the same as I do with Facebook, I keep multip

  • I was pretty excited by Google+, but the whole "real name" fiasco turned me off completely. Not that I really care that much about using a pseudonym vs my real name, but I think that it just isn't Google's damn business what somebody wants to call themselves.
  • by BJ_Covert_Action ( 1499847 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @04:38PM (#37460110) Homepage Journal
    As excited as I am about this platform being opened up to more users (I am getting tired of seeing nothing but CmdrTaco and Lady Ada updates), Google+ is still lacking the one thing that would help it dominate in the social networking market: scantily clad 16 year old girls.

    Say what you want about how annoying 16 year old girls are on the internet (OMGPWNIES layouts and such), but they really are the catalyst to social networks taking off. Once high school girls start to establish a presence on a website, other high school girls want to join to keep up with their friends, and every male on the internet wants to join so he can creep on those girls' profiles and fap to their bikini pictures. That may sound offensive to some, but it is the one truth of social networking.

    Until Google has a large userbase of skanky girls to lurk on, it will not take off as the dominant social platform.
  • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot.keirstead@org> on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @05:12PM (#37460548) Homepage

    And Buzz posts still don't show in the plus stream

    And companies are still not able to create Plus profiles

    And there is no way to integrate Plus and Twitter without hacky browser extensions.

  • by Fri13 ( 963421 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @05:16PM (#37460596)

    (I am sorry of my terrible english skills!)

    I got Google+ invitation at same day when Google opened it. I were there just few weeks until I dropped off. I simply used Google's download utility to download all my data from Google Services (backup) and then I deleted my Google+ account (leaving my Google profile).

    There were actually three reasons for that:

    1. Google+ look was too Facebook like. I never registered to Facebook, I have never used facebook more than 2 minutes on my friend computer just to check out something. The facebook interface is terrible. Please, let me to theme and re-organize panels and parts of the interface, choose what parts I want to see and where. Without that I need to use third party browser addons etc.

    2. Circles was great idea and the usability how easy it was to make circles. But really.... DOES EVERYONE IN THE FUCKING CIRCLE NEED TO SEE ANYONE ELSE?
    What I expected, was that I can make circles as mailinglists. That when I add 5 person to circle, they dont know anyone else on that circle. Then when they comment my posts, they dont see other persons posts there. More like Email system but in social and visual way.
    I have have lots of contacts what I need to deal all the times. Thats why I still use email as it really allows me to limit what others see what contacts I have. Some of my friends can be enemies to each other, but still they are my friends from same circle.
    Like I have seven friends from same school, from three of them, hates each other (2 vs 1). But still, those 3 and all 7 are my friends. When I am contact with them, I know what and from whom I can talk with them. I dont say anything about that 1 to those 2 or vice versa as they dont care and they dont want to hear. I am diplomatic person, I dont make a stand or follow policy "my friends enemy is my enemy". If someone is asshole to me, then I simply ignore him. If someone teases my friend without reason, I will stand between. If my friend teases someone else, I will stand between as well. I can say to my friends to shut up or when they do wrong. Friendship does not mean I need to support everything what others does just because they are my friends.

    3. Real full name. Even that I dont have problem to show real name. I like my privacy. I have few persons who I dont like (Ex-*friends), real nasty people or so on. I want to control who can find me and who does not.
    Thats why I really logged out as I want that Google adds feature when someone search your name, you do not show up on the list. But you get notification that who made the search of your name/address. And then you can choose can that person find you or not. If you allow the query, then the searcher will get notification that result is added.
    Simply: I search person John Smith. I only receive those who allows to be found by default. But every John Smith out there will get notification that I made query with their name. Then John Smith who I know, can choose to be founded or not. If he choose to be found few days later, I get then notification that "John Smith permits your search". And then I can add him to my contact list.

    If points 2. and 3. would be fixed, I would join back to Google+.
    And I bet many other would as most of my friends would really much have same features when I told them my opinion. They want to list all their friends to single place. Then group people to lists and post something only those lists and individuals, without anyone else to see who else got the post. And when they comment my post, no one else should see that they have answered my post.

    So simply, email and postlists are still the best and only way to well socialize virtually with the people. You can even encrypt your mails.

  • by crossmr ( 957846 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @09:01PM (#37463062) Journal

    Google's personalization as a result of creating a google+ account is just terrible.

    Despite creating my account in Canada, using it for years in Canada, I added Google+ to my account while I'm living in Korea. This immediately broke my news archive searches. They would only search Korean language papers in Korea, they wouldn't even search any of the major English language Korean papers in Korea. my account was fully set to English, and I even went through and purged all mention of Korea from my profile, no change.
    Logged out my searches were fine. I encountered a google employee on here a few weeks back who said he'd submit a bug report

    I was just doing a google news archive search (logged out) this morning, and suddenly I'm getting nothing..only korean results. Yet I'm logged out. Great they must have added some kind of persistent cookie to screw with me I thought. This is despite being at the Canadian portal, and having clicked the button to "Serve me in English". I logged in to try clearing any residual cookies (log in then out) but upon logging in, suddenly I was getting full english archive search.

    They reversed the behaviour. Logged in, I get proper archive searches, logged out, now suddenly I can't search the archives of any English news source from Korea. Absolutely stellar. This is the kind of work I'd expect from some start-up being run by one guy in his basement that doesn't quite have a full grasp on what he's doing. The result of this is anyone who travels to Korea will not be able to do a proper news search in Korea unless they've logged into google+. Business traveller? Don't have google+, hope you don't need to look up an old news report while you're here.

    This is pathetic really.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"