From around March 2009 to October 2009, my sister and I built a website and dubbed it our "first startup": Jumpino.com. Truthfully, it was hardly a startup: we had no capital, no way of monetizing, and not too much exposure. It was (and it remains) a website that two kids thought would be a cool idea to make. We stopped updating it early 2010 due to the fact that work and school took priority over Jumpino - a more or less hobbyist project.
Last week I started getting Facebook messages to the likes of:
Just saw a post that made me think of you so I thought I'd send you internet messages.
Looks like Google+ is a Jumpino rip off, hopefully they bought it from you, but I don't think you were that lucky.
At first, I didn't pay it much attention (and I didn't even watch the video). I'm not a believer in conspiracy theories and I haven't really cared about Jumpino for almost a year now - I just keep it online alongside my many other projects. But then I started getting more and more messages...
dude, if you haven't heard of Google Plus (Google+) yet look it up. They're using the same term/idea you used with Jumpino with the circle thing.
...and I became more interested in the situation.
It's undeniable that some similarities between the Google+ video posted above and our initial Jumpino videos posted in 2009 are uncanny:
The parallelism between examples, the idea of (social) circles as sort of chat/share groups, the colorful arrow crayon aesthetic seen on http://plus.google.com/ are all eerily reminiscent of our initial videos and the Jumpino website, respectively. The graphical multiply effects seen on http://www.google.com/intl/en-US/+/demo/ are also similar to our own multiply effects (on the Jumpino logo).
I concede that this may just be a huge coincidence and I honestly can't imagine that Google would maliciously steal ideas/design elements. With that said, the combination of the website design, conceptual idea, and video presentation made me feel a bit strange (as if I was seeing Jumpino 2.0 so to speak).
Maybe the people that have been messaging me are way off-base and I've just been caught up in this whirlwind of conspiracy. Should I just move on with my life or take some sort of action? What would you do in my position?
Edit: Thanks for all the comments! This question grew quickly and it went into a direction I could have predicted :) I'll leave it open for now as I think it sparked some interesting discussion but there are obviously many good answers!
My sister wrote an interesting article regarding (specifically) the design elements: http://noemi.ro/2011/07/05/did-google-plus-steal-design-elements-also-the-things-money-cannot-buy/ for anyone that may be interested.