Just when you thought you had it down to a manageable top three: twitter, facebook and linkedin along comes Google +. Another new network in the world of social media Google + promises to lets you easily share information with the different facets of your life.
For those of us, nerdy enough to care, this is actually Googles third attempt at a social network. Both Google Buzz and Google Wave can only be classified as “learning experiences” which laid the foundation for Google Plus.
Right now, it is invitation only, but after a short delay, the invitations seem to be flowing pretty freely. If you don’t have one, but want one, leave a comment below.
So what’s all the fuss? Let’s take a closer look. To begin with you need a Gmail account – but let’s face it, with all the other things you do online: blog (Blogger), post video (YouTube) and pictures (Picassa), create and share documents (Google Doc) and push your calendar to your smart phone, you need a Gmail account.
But what does it do.. exactly?
At its core, Google+ is a social network. To me it feels like a cross between the Facebook News Feed and Twitter allowing users to share photos, videos, links or their location with friends. So what is different? Unlike Twitter, there is no limit on the length of your comments, and unlike facebook, the interface is clean and simply, with no annoying, ads or clutter. The navigation is simple and well thought out.
My favorite features so far are:
- The ability to build lists ( circles on Google+) and share specific content with each list. So now, not only can I follow conversations, but I don’t overwhelm everyone with updates about topics only some people will really care about.
- The about section really tells me about the person so I can decide if I want to add them to my circles
- The “hangout” allows for live video chat with multiple people. I am just starting to play with this, but I can see a real benefit for improving the quality of conference calls with clients or just chats with friends
- The convenience of having the streams and the updates in my Gmail, so I can jump in and out of conversations without interrupting my workflow.
Right now, it feels a lot like FriendFeed ( a network created by ex google employees, which was eventually purchased by Facebook to drive their status updates) . What the reference refers to, is that for right now, the majority of people using Google + are techy’s and social media geeks. And most of the conversations are revolving around Google + what it can and can’t do. The business pages, and full integration with the rest of the Google tools is something we will have to wait for.
So the question is.. should you get on board when you get the invitation? Absolutely. Sign up, check out some of the conversations in this quirky, and relatively spam free environment. Will it catch on? Replace twitter or Facebook? Too early to tell. But Chris Brogan summed it up well when he said:
People keep citing the FB has 600 million, so no one’s going anywhere argument. AOL, anyone? People migrate. It happens.
So what do you think about Google +?