What is Google+?

If Facebook and Twitter had a Baby, They’d Call it Google+.

In addition to it being Google’s latest attempt to chip away at Facebook’s dominance, Google+ is also a collection of different social products.

Stream

This is the newsfeed. You post and see your friends’ posts here. Unlike Facebook where posts stay in chronological order, posts move back to the top based upon which has the most recent comment. When you are a fan of a picture or comment, there is a “+1” button, as opposed a “like” button. In the stream, you can also organize the information you receive by your Circles…

 

Circles

This is what Google calls a friend management service. You can put your connections into various Circles, such as Friends, Family, Acquaintances, etc. to filter information accordingly. As opposed to Facebook where all of your connections are privy to what you post in the newsfeed, with Google+ you can be selective with what you’re sharing and with whom by designating information to specific Circles.

 

Sparks

This is a recommendation search engine that allows quick reference to what you determine are relevant topics. Once you choose your interests, you see a link to each of them under your profile picture. Anytime you want to see what is going on related to your interest, click on it and you get a page filled with news, posts and information. You can then easily “share” in your Stream so your connections and/or Circles can also be in-the-know.

 

Hangouts

Now, this is cool. Hangouts is a group video chat function that allows up to 10 people to share a conversation. It opens up opportunities for people to join in who might not normally do so. This has been likened to sitting on a porch vs. knocking on a door. If you pass by a house where you know people are inside, you’re not likely going to knock on the door to say hi. However, if the group are outside on front porch, it would be rude to walk by without saying anything. That’s the basis of Hangouts.

 

Huddle

Once you download the Google+ mobile app, you have access to Huddle. This awesome feature is group texting, which allows you to put a group together so everyone within the group can send and receive texts. It’s great for trying to plan a meeting spot for dinner or drinks with three or more people.

 

Photos

Also in the mobile app is a Photos feature. It’s an intuitive feature that grabs data from your phone, making it simple to add pictures to your profile.

 

What to Watch For:

Google has tried this before, with the unsuccessful introductions of Google Buzz and Google Wave.

It hit 35 million users faster than Facebook did, but is the momentum sustainable? People are increasingly used to social networking sites, so we’re seeing early adopters comfortable with trying something new. Growth might taper off if users decide they don’t want to log-in to multiple accounts.

 

Google+ for Businesses

Something to keep in mind in the early stages of Google+: Google doesn’t want businesses creative profiles yet. They are creating a separate platform for businesses, but it will take some time to build.

 

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