Google Plus is a Plus, no doubt
Google has arrived with a splash on the social media scene — which is what Google Plus or Google+ is. After the failed attempts with Google Buzz and Google Wave, I believe that Google+ is the real deal. Having launched +1, an equivalent to the Facebook LIKE button, it is clear that Google has now dropped the gloves with Facebook. And, after a mere 48 hours of existence, I am going to say that Google+ is the real McCoy. Google will have to work through the kinks, but, bottom line, the functionality looks and feels better than on Facebook in many instances. With the “invitation only” approach, Google is helping to create a little of its own buzz. People (like myself) have been chomping at the bit to give it a try. It’s called Shortage Marketing.
Google Plus has a whole number of spaces to play with including Circles, Huddles, Hangouts, Sparks and Instant Uploads. I won’t cover each of them here, but if you want to know more about a key component, Google Circles, I recommend checking out their video below or you can view a broader presentation on this little Google demo.
What makes this Google Plus initiative a real plus?
- You start by defining your circles of friends: not all friends are equal and, compared to Facebook, which has made a real mess of sorting friends, Google Circles is a fabulous way to get started. The truth about social networking is that is not just about who you know, but why and how well you know them. Your network is a part of your e-reputation and, just as we all know we can’t have more than a handful of profound friends, we also need to communicate with our friends, family and acquaintances differently. Being able to categorize “friends” is a KEY to making the social media network more effective. I am not sure this functionality is, as yet, enough to run circles around Facebook, but I like this part best.
- Ipso facto, Google Plus will be a wake-up call for Facebook. That’s healthy competition. Since there are only a few players (Microsoft, Apple & Google) able to take on Facebook frontally, I hope this one sticks. I love the fact that within nano seconds, someone came up with a mirror functionality of Circles for Facebook. If you are not on Google+ yet, but are on Facebook, I highly recommend trying it out: Circle Hack.
- Search Plus. There is a recommendation engine to facilitate sharing of relevant content. The feature is called SPARKS.
- Video is central. A cornerstone element of Google+ is around the video. There are some neat functionalities to make video chatting in group or one-on-one easy. The uploading of photos and videos seems to be easier than on Facebook. One feature I like: you can upload a still within a video too. Between Google Huddles and Hangouts, you know that the terminology is 100% American (the former, huddles, refers to the pre-action pause in American Football). Watch out for these words to be banned on French Television soon?
- Blogs got an automatic +1 on Google Page Rank: which is sort of incidental to the Google Plus project, but I thought it deserved a mention: Social Search just took another step forward.
Google Plus is still rolling out its invitations. The early adopters are running all the tests Google needs to find out how well it works for real. There are certainly some wrinkles that need to be ironed out, specifically, as far as I am concerned, with Circles (to be able to view all the circles at once, sorting of friends via a more robust search mechanism…). I also have been a little lost without a wall. But I am sure those are just teething pains. On the mobile front, Google Plus is up on Android, but is not available on the iPhone yet (funny that).
The online battle is definitely heating up
The confrontation between the online giants looks to have gone to a whole other level. Microsoft and Apple have been hitting the clouds. Facebook and Google are going at in social. Facebook is aligned with Microsoft, which bought Skype, which is going to be embedded into Facebook very soon to allow for in-the-flow video chat.
All said, Google+ seems to be the real deal. Your thoughts?