Jul 1, 2011

First thoughts on Google Plus

Yesterday I got access to Google's new social networking effort - Google Plus or Google+ (pic of my public profile below)

First thoughts so far:

Google has introduced a social networking where you focus on whom you want to share stuff with. To do so you add people in your "circles" - for example I have circles for "social media people", "HR professionals" , "family" and "friends"

The big difference with regards to Facebook? Two things stand out:

  1. You do not need to "friend" a person. You add a person to a circle and even if he/she does not add you you a circle you can still follow their public shares
  2. I use facebook lists to edit out people (e.g. status updates visible to everyone except "Limited Profile") but Google+ is to add people - when you share you say "am sharing this with x, y and z circles".
Therefore Google+ would trigger a different kind of social behavior.. for self promotion we'll stick to twitter and FB pages, but move to Google+ for better conversations... hopefully!
The two features that stand out is "Hangout" - which offers a group video chat facility - and by doing so takes aim at Skype's revenue model by offering for free what they sell. It adds a richer experience to social networking.

Then there's Sparks - which is sort of like Google News+Google Reader content that you can search through and share with your circles. Great for starting conversations and much easier to share content than cut pasting a URL in the status box.

The big drawback? As of now, the fact that new comments on your friends' post push them back to the top of the stream. And you have to manually "mute" them to ensure you don't see them again

What about you? Have you used Google+ ? What do you think will be the use cases compared to Facebook/Twitter?
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