I really didn’t expect to get excited about another new social site. But I have to say that Google Plus has caught me by surprise!
Google Plus (or Google +) is kinda like Facebook but more organized, and with more privacy. The site takes social sharing to a new level with interesting features such as Circles, Hangouts, Instant Uploads, Sparks, and Huddle.
Circles is probably the smartest feature that Google+ has to offer.
The idea is to separate your friends and acquaintances into different categories or ‘circles’ just like in real life. That way, the conversation stream within one circle can never ‘leak’ into another circle – there’s no danger of saying something to your college buddies that will make your boss freak out. Very nicely done.
Sure, you can use the ‘Friend Lists‘ feature to organize your Facebook friends into different groups (e.g. chamber members, high school friends, college buddies, church, work colleagues and so on). But to be honest, how many people know about it. And even for those of us who do, it’s usually an afterthought.
Facebook users (if they’re smart) have learned to ‘censor’ their conversations so that everything they say is suitable and appropriate for every one of their friends. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
One-step photo sharing
I thought the Instant Uploads feature is very clever as well. Usually when you want to share a photo, you take the photo on your smartphone and then manually upload it to your Facebook page/profile for all to see.
With Instant Uploads all you have to do is take the photo or video and it will automatically upload to your Google+ profile where you can decide who you’re going to share it with. Sounds like they just eliminated one step and made Facebook look a little, well…cumbersome.
Huddle is another feature that gives Facebook a run for their money.
It allows you to have a simultaneous, live group chat with a number of friends. You can use this feature to make plans for tonight, to figure out who’s hosting the July 4th party and who’s bringing what (it’s like a conference call but on chat). At the moment Facebook only allows for a one-to-one chat – sure you can have several chat sessions open at the same time, but each chat session is independent of the other. Tedious.
Let’s put it this way. If I were a Facebook executive, I wouldn’t be taking time off this holiday weekend. I’m just saying.
Anyway, take a tour of Google+ and make your own conclusions.
Given Google+ a test-drive? What are your initial thoughts?