Unless you have been marooned on an internet-less island, chances are you have heard of Google+. It is Google’s attempt to foray into the social space by “making sharing online more like sharing in real life”. After a string of failed social products like Buzz and Wave failed to, Google seems to have come up with a winner in Google+. Though not an immediate threat to Facebook, it does show potential by means of some fantastic features.
So what could Google+ possibly offer that we haven’t already seen in Facebook, Twitter or any other networking site? The coolest thing about Google+ is its potential to create a real-life social experience on web. With features named so, like Hangouts, Circles etc, Google+ attempts to be a spill-over of real social life onto the web.
Circles is a hassle-free way to organize your contacts into different groups. You can share relevant information with the right circle (your mom really doesn’t need to know about the hot date that you were on!) and customize personal profiles for each circle.
As the name suggests, this feature allows you to hang-out with your friends, via video chat. It allows up to 10 users to video chat simultaneously. It also boasts of the Camera Switch feature that changes who is on camera based on who talks. It is a great tool for collaboration as it is for catching up with friends.
This resembles the Facebook feed, but provides filter options such that streams may be restricted to circles or individuals.
This is essentially a recommendation engine. You can specify your topic of interest and this feature will provide relevant articles from all over the web for you to read at your leisure. It is a great way to keep up to date with your topic of interest. Needless to say, it also provides you with the option to delete or add new topics as and when your interests may vary.
5. Mobile Apps
There are two new features within the mobile apps that are worth a mention. Instant upload of photos and videos from mobile devices and Huddle, which allows for group chat with contacts. In addition, there are the regular features that you to get updates from your Circles, share your thoughts or view posts from contacts.
Google+ populates contacts from Gmail, iGoogle, Google Talk or Orkut. It also provides the options to chat with new contacts directly, using the Chat Search Box.
7. +1 button
This feature personalizes the web for you. It allows you to publicly support or recommend an article that you come across on the web, not necessarily a Google product. You can do so by means of clicking on an icon with the +1 symbol. If your friend clicks on an article you +1’ed, he will be able to view your recommendation on top of the article. And yes, your information is still confidential and Google+ will not need to release your information in order to provide this feature.
User Pros & Cons
User shave had a chance to review Google+ and here are some of their comments:
o Clean and uncluttered UI, that is easy to navigate and not overwhelming.
o Hangouts is Google+’s killer feature with the potential to be a major video platform.
o Circles is more efficient and less tedious than Facebook Friend’s List or Twitter List.
o Google+ is well integrated to all the Google products.
o Stream shows the recently updated post, rather than the posts in chronological order. This is a pet peeve as users prefer control over the viewing options. Stream also doesn’t offer search options.
o Google+ cannot be used with the Google Apps account.
o Google+ is everywhere and people need assurance that their private emails and searches will remain private.
Google+ does not attempt to overthrow Facebook or Twitter, instead it brings about a whiff of freshness into social networking. There are similarities in features between Google+ and the other social sites, but then again with the aim being social networking, how can it be otherwise. But what makes Google+ unique is its approach to breathe realism into the social space, and introduction of features like Hangouts and Circles do so quite admirably. So, is it a threat to Facebook…Not yet..but it does show promise. Happy socializing!!