Google+ is Google’s latest venture into social media. Like other social networks it lets you create a profile, share text, links, photos, videos, and even your location.
Whats Different About It
Google+ puts the emphasis on Groups which it calls circles. To add someone to your network you must add them to one or more circles. When creating a post Google+ clearly highlights who you’re sharing with. You can make a post public, share it with extended circles, all of your own circles, or one or more specific circles. After creating a post you also have the option to edit it, disable comments, and disable resharing of the post.
Google+ also lets you creat hangouts which essentially are video chat rooms which you can invite friends to join if they are available or feel inclined to do so. The idea is a more casual approach to video conferencing than what you have with most instant messaging and video conferencing applications.
Advantages Over Other Networks
Google+ is a bold move by Google. What they’ve done is not simply place a link inside of Gmail as they did with Buzz, or acquire an unincorporated network like Orkut. What Google has done is turn itself into a social network. Google+ not only uses the Google brand name but it gives you quick access to your profile, notifications, and the ability to create post from all of Google’s original online properties like Gmail , Reader, Docs, and even Google’s home page and search results.
The mobile app for Android has many the same features of the web app minus hangouts, but it does have huddles which are group messages, you ca invite multiple circles, one circle, or just a couple of friends to join a huddle, and once you’ve joined a huddle you have the option to mute it or leave it all together.
Why Go Social
Google was once the little search engine that could. Now it is in direct competition with the likes of Microsoft and Apple creating enterprise solutions and mobile operating systems. History has repeatedly shown us what can happen when technology companies have a too narrow focus. When someone hears Google most people think search engine, and when they hear Facebook they think social network but both companies are in the same primary business which is the business of ad serving, and if more internet users are starting to spend more time viewing ads on social networks rather than on search engines then Google needs to have a social network.
These days people like to throw around the word “killer” when referring to new and competing technologies, and very seldom does a new product actually kill off an existing product but it can become a very viable alternative or even overtake whats already out there. I think that Google has finally gotten it right, with Google+ they’ve hit the social nail on the head.
People have shown in the past that they are willing to abandon social networks and profiles if they like something else a little better, or if they simply see that’s where the crowd is heading. Hundreds of millions of people sign on to Google and Facebook everyday. People use Facebook for fun, as a form of entertainment, people use Google for things they find more essential like email, document processing, web searches and research, so having a good social network built on top of that is sure to draw a respectable amount of users. Google+ may not be a Facebook killer but it is a well thought out and easy to use network that will defiantly be a major player in the social networking game.
For another take on Google+ check out @LittleTechGirl’s Google+ First Impressions.