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Google+ An executive summary

Published on 21st July 2011

After just a few weeks Google+, Google’s new social network, has reached nearly 18 million users.  There is no doubt that Google will make this work after several false starts like Buzz and Wave, but what exactly is it, and should you bother getting involved?

As part of their Google+ announcement Google have said:

“Today, the connections between people increasingly happen online. Yet the subtlety and substance of real-world interactions are lost in the rigidness of our online tools.”

“In this basic, human way, online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it.”

And although it pains me a little I tend to agree with them.

As I write this “invites” have been suspended again due to high demand.  That said a lot of this is early adopters and internet geeks (yes I have an account before you ask…) just checking it out.

In my previous post I covered the fact that Google+ was not yet a business application but like all promising networks it’s great to get in early and start to understand a bit more about it, so when it opens up to businesses you are ready.

WHAT IS GOOGLE+

In simple terms it’s a new social network that hopes to compete with Facebook. You need a Google account, a Google public profile, and an invite to join.  It’s made up of the following components.

PROFILE

Google Profile optionsYour personal information, and its public. Not dissimilar to Facebook and you’ll need one to get a Google+ account. If you log in to your Goggle account, in the top left if you don’t have a profile you’ll see a “create a profile” option. It’s that simple.

STREAMS

A bit like your wall. Sorry I keep referring to Facebook but it’s true. This is where you see info from your friends or other people trying to connect with you.

CIRCLES

Circles on Google+This is the most interesting component for me. In my opinion one of the failings of Facebook has always been the difficulty of segmenting your friends.  For example I have several interests and what’s interesting to one friend will not be to another.  I’ve always felt it would be great to be able to simply create groups of friends that can also be in multiple groups, so I can keep in touch on specific topics of interest as well as receiving stuff that’s relevant to me.

Facebook supporters will argue Facebook groups can do this but it’s very hard work.  Google are offering  Circles as an easier option, and it is.  You can drag friends into circles in a second as well as having them in multiple circles.  It’s simple and effective, and gets my vote.

HANGOUT

This is an interesting feature.  You can pop into your hangout and tell your friends you’re there and see who pops in for a video chat.  Businesses may find this useful for multi user video conferences as it supports up to 10 online people at the moment.  Who knows where the future will take this.

SPARKS

Sparks looks for things that might be of interest to you online and adds them to a Google area to allow you to view them when you’ve got spare time.  Does anyone have spare time any more! Personally I already have several streams delivering more “reading material” than I can handle, so it’ll have to be very good to get my attention.

HUDDLE

I quite like this and it’s a really a subset of Circles.  It’s instant messaging for Circles and could be useful in a number of ways.  Nice idea.  Conference calls for texts.

INSTANT UPLOAD

This has been done so many times already with Flickr being the largest but Google are trying to make uploading pictures to share even easier.  You be the judge.

MOBILE

Yes Google+ has an app on all the mobile platforms.

CHAT

Google have always had chat but now it’s integrated into Google+  If you’ve used Skype, MSN or Yahoo for online chat this is more of the same. However with Circles and Hangouts it adds a different and more interesting twist.

I hope you’ve found this useful. As always I’d enjoy any feedback or comments.

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Categories: Google, Social Media

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