I am not typically an early adopter of any technology. I have to say I like having other people work out the kinks and then I enjoy the well tested product at the end. But with Google+, I had to jump on board as soon as I could. Maybe it was something about the pure boredom of Facebook that I’ve lately been feeling, or the overbearing amount of information I try to consume on a daily basis while keeping up with Twitter feeds, I’m not sure. Either way I must say I am happy I have made that move to Google+. For once a social media channel in which helps me organize my life, who would’ve thought it was possible?
Google+ is organized by these main sections:
- Stream – Similar to the Facebook Newsfeed.
- Photos and videos – Similar to the Facebook photo and video albums, with a little bit extra.
- Profile – Very Similar to your Facebook profile page, with a little bit extra.
- Circles – The area in which you organize your friends.
- Sparks – A way in which you can get up to date information and news about topics of your choosing.
- Hangouts – a place for friends, family, coworkers, etc. to just hang out and catch up.
The stream is very similar if not the exact same thing as the Facebook Newsfeed, the only difference I have experienced is on my android application of Google+. On the android app you have the ability to look at different streams based on your location. At first I was able to read the updates from just my friends, which was fine, but then as I slid my screen to the left and went to the next tab, I was able to see all the publicly shared updates from anyone in my vicinity. I thought that was a cool idea, I hope that people know by now not to share their exact location but still, seeing some of the status updates from people close by was very interesting.
Photos and Videos
Once again, this is very similar to the Facebook’s section of photos and videos, although I am not too sure on the length limit on the videos. The interesting additive that Google threw in was the interface with the android app once again, when using my cell phone as a camera through Google+ it will actually automatically upload my photos and videos onto my Google+ account, but will not publish those pictures until I go in there and do it myself. Not only will it allow you to not publish them it actually will allow you to only let certain groups see them. Yes, I do realize that facebook does allow you to block certain individuals from seeing your photos, but instead of doing this on a one by one basis, Google+ allows you to just block a whole group of people.
Not much to say here, it is the same exact thing as Facebook, but has a section to show all the sites you’ve recommended by +1’s.
As stated in the Photos and Videos section, you can organize your friends in groups aka “circles” and then distribute your updates, photos, information, etc. to selected circles. You can create all sorts of circles, and I have not yet seen any signs of a limit of the number of circles one can have. You can also add people to more than one circle, which could be beneficial if say a coworker is also a friend, and you’d like them to see what you’re saying to just your coworkers and your friends. Facebook definitely is lacking in this area considering you have just a long list of friends, and that’s about it.
This reminds me the most of Twitter, with Sparks you can specify certain topics, people, places, keywords that you’d like to be updated about and Google+ will show you information related to these topics. Not only will Google+ show what people are saying about your interests but also what news channels and other relevant sources are saying. It is an up to date broadcast of all that is happening on the topics of your choice. I think that this targeted status update is very similar to Twitter, but is a little bit more useful considering you choose exactly what you want to find. I spent some time testing out all sorts of topics, and I was amazed that all the articles Google+ had showed me was very relevant to the search query no matter what the query was.
This is a place in which people can chat via instant messages, microphones or even webcams. It’s a place for you and your friends to congregate and just hang out. I think this could be a cool tool to use for people who travel, very similarly to skype. Although now facebook has teamed up with skype and has the same offerings. The only difference is that Google+ can have up to 10 people in a group at a time. I think that could be pretty cool for families and or groups of friends who moved far away.
There is a lot more that Google+ has to offer, but yet it is not something that you can just read about, I’d recommend to anyone who’s interested to go try it out for themselves, it is well worth it. Not saying that it will be bigger than facebook by any means, but it’s definitely interesting to see another contender try and compete with Facebook and Twitter. For Google+ to become a true competitive force in the social media world, it’s going to have to compete with the 700 million users of Facebook, and the estimated 200 million users of Twitter, so it may be a long time before Google+ can truly compete. Who knows though, it may just be the next multi-billion dollar social media platform. So what social network is it going to be, are you going to +1, Like, or Retweet this comment?