Is Google+ a Minus?
Google has recently released its newest attempt (third time’s the charm?) at tapping into the social networking space – the Google+ Project - and competing head-to-head with Facebook. While the product has yet to be released, a demo version is being tested among a small number of people. It has already been met with mixed reviews.
I was not one of the lucky few who received an invitation to test the product, so I can only base my opinion so far on the interactive tour within their new website and what I read on my fellow online marketers’ blogs. My first impression? The platform seems cool but still lacks that big idea that would entice people to drop their Facebook addictions, myself included. So see for yourself. Below I’ve broken down the key features. I’ll let you decide the pluses and minuses of the new platform…no pun intended.
Circles: With Google Circles, you have the ability to group your contacts into (you guessed it), “circles.” You could set up circles for family, college friends, coworkers, etc., and then share information with the circles of your choosing. For example, maybe your family members won’t be very interested in the latest article on Search Engine Land but your coworkers and industry friends will. I do find this useful and dare I say it, wish Facebook would incorporate something similar. Being able to segregate how you communicate with different groups is a big plus.
Hangouts: Also known as video conferencing, Hangouts allows you to face-to-face chat with any friends who want to join your Hangout. This application lets you chat with up to ten friends, but doesn’t yet work on mobile devices.
Instant Upload: With Instant Upload you can upload your photos and videos to a private album and share them with friends or circles.
Sparks: The idea behind Sparks is you add the areas that interest you to the platform. Based on your interests it will send you information it thinks you’ll like, which you can then read and share with friends.
Huddle: Huddle allows you to create group chats within your circles so you can chat with everyone at the same time. I hope that there will be more to this application that sets it apart from similar applications already out there.
So there you have it. Now we just have to wait until the entire platform is unveiled before making any further judgments. Will Google succeed with this new platform? That is still to be determined, though I’m not sure how many of these features I’ll actually use myself.