On Friday, I got my invitation to join Google plus, and with great curiosity. I started to browse around and see what it was like. When I first went into Google+, I found there was an intuitive help feature that explained how to use the different aspects of the program, and it was really very quick and easy to learn how to use it.
So what is Google plus? Google+ is the new social platform that Google has been working on secretly. for some time and has now released to a limited number of users. Google+ lets people share comments, articles, photos and videos with various “circles” of friends or contacts, or they can share content publicly with any user who wants to view their posts At this point in time people can only joined the platform after having been invited by someone else. Having said that since its release, three weeks ago, the number of users on Google plus has jumped to a phenomenal 20 million users. This is far quicker than the growth of Facebook or Twitter. However, it needs to be remembered that Google already has large number of people using their other products and so its rapid growth has a lot to do with Google’s large preexisting database
Image used by permission from Leon Håland
The first feature that you are introduced to when going to Google Plus is the Circles, which is the hub of the
program. Google suggests people that you already know based on the people you have interacted with using Gmail and other Google programs such as Buzz or Wave. The thing I like about it is that Circles replicates how people interact in the real world. Typically, we have circles of friends that we communicate with based on common interests, and Google+ enables you to use this natural way of relating and communicating very easily in a virtual setting. All you deal is to name a circle in a meaningful way for you, so for example, “Family” and then from the pre-populated list of people that you already communicate with, Google shows you images, from which you can drag down your family members into the Family circle you created. The privacy settings are very easy to determine, with Private being the default. You can have as many circles as you wish. When you select a circle stream, you can have conversations with all people in your circle and follow the conversations people in the circle have with each other.
Another feature is called The Hangout. This is the first online capability to creating an impromptu meet up with people online. If you feel like hanging out and chatting with people, you can let your specific friends or a particular circle know that you’re’ hanging out’ and then wait to see who drops in for a face to face video chat using The Hangout. You can video chat with up to 10 people at the same time, and Google intuitively shows that video of the person who is speaking at the time. If the person in the hangout wants to share video, everyone in the video chat can watch the video in exactly the same time.
Google has made it easy to share your photos that you take on your phone. With the Google plus app on your phone. You can instantly at load your photos and videos and they go to a private album on Google class and you decide who you’re going to share them with
Another feature is called Sparks. You just type into Sparks, what you’re interested in, and it will send you related content that it thinks you will like. This means when you have a free five minutes, there’s always something that you can watch, read and share..
The Huddle is another pretty cool feature of Google plus, which enables you to text in real-time, with a group of people. So this means when you’re trying to decide with your friends, which movie to go to, for example, using The Huddle turns all those separate text conversations into one group chat. So everybody is on the same page, at the same time in real time.
Google has indicated that theses features in Google plus are only just beginning and that there are more in the pipeline. So far in the initial three weeks there has been a very positive response to the Google+platform, and over the past three weeks more people have been spending more time on Google bumping the average time spent from 12 minutes a day to over 13 minutes a day. This can only increase as more people start using it.
To sum up my experience so far, I think that Google Plus is a definite Plus in the social media world. I see a lot of potential for making meaningful connections online and has a very easy interface for setting it up to suit your own preferences and requirements. It can be as public or private as you want it to be and i have found it great for adding like minded people to my network and having meaningful conversations. There is no business component as yet (like the business page capability on Facebook for example) and this can be a positive thing. You are not going to be bombarded by sales pitches and mindless business promotional comments. Instead it provides a platform where networking and building relationships in a social setting is easy and isn’t that the way true business partners are created?
If you would like an invite to try out Google Plus for yourself, make a comment below and I’ll see what I can do to send you an invitation:)