I was recently lucky enough to get an invite to Google’s newest attempt at social networking. Google+ is the latest in a long line of mediocre and failed attempts by Google to compete legitimately with their newest and biggest threat to internet dominance – Facebook.
My favorite features:
First is the Circles concept and execution. Circles are your "circles of friends" sort of like Groups on Facebook but a million times easier to create and manage. Your circles act like individual streams for each group and gives you the ability to communicate the information you want with only the people you want. I know most of you Facebook-ers are saying that you can do the same thing on Facebook. My question is; how many of you are doing it? and if you’re not why not? I consider myself pretty well heeled on almost every social media platform primarily Facebook and I don’t break my friends into those categories because it’s simply too time consuming and not very intuitive. Google has found the most intuitive way to not only conceptualize your groups but also curate them and execute their usage. You can create layers and layers of circles and share just the information you want with just the people that care about that information. It’s even got Twitter-like functionality. Twitter allows you to follow people that don’t follow you back. Creating a source for news and information without forcing a "relationship". G+ also does this. You can add almost anyone to your circles and they aren’t forced to follow you back. This means that you can get the same news and information feed that you have on Twitter without leaving the Facebook-like relationship network of G+. Admittedly G+ is new and as with all new things they glitter with awesome…but I see this network replacing both my Twitter and Facebook because it can do both functions for me on one site without a third party Hootsuite, or Tweetdeck interface. The next innovative function (probably the next one to be mimicked by Facebook) is the "Hangout" feature. This feature allows people withe web cams to meet up and have a 10 way chat with each other. Built on the Google Talk product this is an awesome social integration that really takes things to a new level. While this feature won’t stand long with Facebook playing catch-up very quickly it remains to be seen just how this will be executed in Facebook. I can tell you that it is very compelling in G+. The next feature is deep integration with the mobile phone app and image sharing. Every time you use your phone to take a picture the image is immediately uploaded (not shared) to your Picasa web album and available to share. Another mobile feature is Huddle. This is a SMS feature that allows you to select one of your Circles and start a SMS chat with the circle. All of the responses are sent to all the circle members creating a complete conversation where everyone is privy to the conversation and no rebroadcasting is necessary. Very handy for organizing diner with some of your favorite people. The long and short of it all is that Google has finally got social figured out. They will be a force and you’ll find that your in a similar situation to when you left MySpace for Facebook. Below are some important links in learning more about this network and if you understand it all you’ll be as excited about it as I am, maybe. One more reason to join…Ashton Kutcher is already building a following here.