When will I receive a Google+ invitation? Can I use Google+ in conjunction with my Facebook? How do I use Google+? I’m just confused! I use google for just about EVERYTHING, except for social networking. Facebook works just fine for me, or does it?!?!?! I finally received my Google+ invitation and I decided to download the app on my Android, but I still have no clue how the networking site really works. Better yet, I do not know how it will help simplify my life or make me move away from Facebook. Let’s face it, how many social networking sites can a person possibly have. I made the move from MySpace (sad to say it) to Facebook, and I have been happy ever since. I don’t know about you but I am not sure if I am ready to completely be caught in the GOOGLE MATRIX?
At first glance Google+ combines features from Facebook, You Tube, MySpace, AIM, Facetime, Skype and Foursquare all at once. After using it I can see that my first glance was correct. I finally received an invitation for the network, so I seized the moment and tried it out.
Google+ offers the following features:
- Circles – Instead of just having friends, like in Facebook, you can create your own circles of people. Google wants you to be able to organize your friends according to your own personal preferences. When you want to share information to your network, you can customize it to share information with the appropriate people based on your customized circles. This feature is favorable for me, because sometimes I do not want everyone in my network to know about certain things going on in my life. THUMBS UP!
- Stream: This is a place for you to have conversations with people within your circles. Very similar to Facebook and MySpace of course, but you get to personalize who you share with individually or within your circles. When using Facebook I can only share information to all my friends, so I consider this feature a THUMBS UP.
- Photos: I love sharing my photo’s with my family and friends, but I think twice before every upload on Facebook. Not all my Facebook friends are really my true friends, and I don’t like having some of my pictures aired for everyone to see. Again, with Google+ you get to choose who you share your photo’s with. I love this feature. It allows me to be in control of who see’s what. THUMBS UP again.
- Hangouts: I love to hangout with friends, don’t you? With Google+ you can create chat rooms with your circle and hang out through video chat. You can simply chat with your friends, conduct a meeting on a project or meet up for coffee. This feature would be great for my circle of friends. Since I moved to D.C. from LA, I never get to be in the same room with any of my friends. So if we were able to have multiple chats and see each other it would be great! THUMBS UP.
- Chat: The best part about this feature is that you can chat with people who are not in your circle. I would love to chat with people and not be complete friends with them. Facebook gives people a false sense of friendship and I sometimes have people starting chats with me that I do not wish to chat with. Yes, they are my Facebook friends but we are certainly NOT on chatting terms. THUMBS UP.
- Sparks: Sparks is a way for you to share your interests and start conversation about your interests with other people. You can ignite a spark of interest with your circle about exactly what interests you. Just google (within Google+) a topic that interests you and you will find articles from people around you that are interested in the same things as you. A perfect way to strike up meaningful conversation. THUMBS UP.
There will be con’s with everything…including Google+. First, there is not enough buzz yet. Although many people use Google for email and other uses, many people are not using this new feature. Maybe it’s just my friends and family are not using this feature, but hey I need some people in my circles. I guess this is to be expected with any new technology.
Second, this new project does not seem business friendly at all. From what I see, they do not even give businesses the option of starting a Google+ account. We all know how Facebook fan pages are so popular, so why would Google release this service without careful consideration to the business community? Beats me. It feels like Google was very excited about this new concept and they may have released it prematurely.
Lastly, Google+ needs better promotion. Most of the promotion that I have seen on this new project have been through other blog sites, like my own, that give their own personal opinion. I would think that a big company, such as Google would be flooding TV airwaves, email inbox and direct mail to tell anyone and everyone who would listen. Hey, I will not present myself as a marketing guru, but it only seems natural to want to promote your product as best as possible.
Although Google+ has it’s downsides, I will keep trying. Google has rarely let me known, so I am going to keep a positive attitude and keep Google networking.
I have my own opinions, but I want you to be the judge. I know Google is still figuring out all the details and kinks with this new networking site, and I am very interested. If you use Google+ please take a few moments and drop a line about your experience with this new social networking tool. Also, do me another favor and join my Google+ circle?
For more information on the Google+ project click here.