There’s been a lot of talk in my circles (no pun intended) over the past week or so about Google+.
“What is Google+?”
“Can you send me an invite please?”
“How do I get an invite?”
“How is it any different to Facebook?”
“What’s the point of it?”
“Will it take off?”
What is Google+?
I know that most of you already know what it is but I have had a few people ask, so for those few…at it’s most basic, Google+ is a new social network which has been dubbed “Google’s answer to Facebook”. There was a limited release of a Beta (test) version in late June.
You may have noticed the Google +1 button appearing on Google searches and some blog posts – including this one. This is all part of the total project which according to Mashable “turns all of the search engine into one giant social network.”
There is a lot of information about Google+ so I don’t intend going into it in detail. If you want more, I suggest you have a look at Mashable.
It works a lot like Facebook, allowing you to share photos, news, updates and other information with your friends. It has some fun features like Huddle allowing you to have a group chat with a bunch of friends and Hangout which is kind of the same thing but with video and chat. I’m sure more features will be added over time.
How do I get an invite?
You need to be invited by someone who already has a Google+ account or receive a Field Trial invitation from Google if you have a Gmail account. Each person gets a few “invites” when they join but in my experience these are grabbed fairly quickly, hence the begging and pleading for invites that you may have seen going around.
The other interesting thing is, if you want a Google+ account or want to use the Google +1 button, you will first need a Google Account.
How is it any different to Facebook?
It does look similar and it does similar things but personally I like the visual elements of “Circles” and “Hangouts”. There’s an article in PC Mag ” 6 Things Google+ Can Do That Facebook Can’t” and it cites:
- Easily share photos, link, post with select friends (not everyone)
- Plan event details with live video chat
- Watch a YouTube video in real time with friends
- Curate content based on your interests
- Instantly upload photos and videos to the cloud and decide later how to share them
- Quit ( have you ever tried to delete your Facebook profile?)
What’s the point of it?
For Google, there’s a very big point. It needs to get in the social networking game in a big way. Advertising dollars also plays a big part. Targeted advertising in Facebook is excellent and Google needs to be able to compete.
From a user perspective though, is it just another time wasting social network? Perhaps. It’s too early to tell but after just one week, I can see it replacing Twitter for me personally and I do love Twitter. I can also see it replacing Facebook over time. I’d love a single social network that allows me to do everything from one place and Google+ is shaping up to deliver that.
What about as a business tool? I like that I can set groupings of “friends” and decide who sees what content. It means I can share my personal photos, posts and news with friends but not with my business networks.
As an online coach and business consultant, I can see the Hangout and Circles being very useful for running group coaching and training. It may well replace Skype for video calls. I love that I can quickly and easily curate content in one place.
Those are the benefits I can see after just one week of very limited use. I’m sure there are many people out there already working away at being the Google+ equivalent to Facebook expert Mari Smith 🙂
Will it take off?
I was lucky enough to get an invitation about a week ago (thanks Mark). When I first signed up, it was really quiet. I did think “what’s the point?”. It reminded me of when I first joined Twitter and didn’t get it 😉
One week on and it is suddenly busy! I keep finding more and more people I know or know of. I don’t think there are any official stats from Google but I’ve seen estimates of close to 5 million. Facebook has around 750 million.
I’m an early adopter of technology so I love it if for no reason other than that it’s new! Yes, I’m attracted to Bright Shiny Objects.
According to a Mashable poll, 47% of the 8,300 respondents voted “I absolutely love it and can’t wait to play with it”. It will be interesting to see how poll results after a few more people have had the chance to play.
It’s early days, but I think it’s going to be HUGE!What do you think? If you have a Google+ account, let’s connect here. If you like this post please share it and +1 it 😉