Just when you thought you had enough social media properties to worry about – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Digg, Delicious, MySpace – Google decides to enter the scene.
It appears that in its quest for total world domination, Google felt that it needed to intervene with its own social medium by fixing what they thought was ‘broken’ – enter: Google+.
Currently only in a trial phase and available by invitation only, there is still a lot of uncertainty around Google+. For those of you who haven’t been ‘invited’ yet, the official Google Blog provides an interactive overview of the key features which we’ve summarised for you here, along with links to the relevant videos Google has produced:
- +Circles allows you to share different things with different people – as sometimes we might want to tell our friends about our weekend plans, but maybe we don’t want work associates getting involved. The theory of +circles is where Google+ differentiates its product development from the competition. The ability to create as many “mini social networks” (i.e. circles) and push specific content to each network could be an advantageous tool as it eliminates privacy issues that exist with Facebook currently.
- +Sparks is an “online sharing engine” with a feed of highly contagious content.
- +Hangouts involves live multi-person video so you can talk to a few friends at once, and see their faces!
- +Mobile works on the features that users want when usinga social medium on their mobile device – integration with GPS, camera and messaging. It incorporates +Location that will add your location to every post, +InstantUpload that adds all photos you take to a private album in the cloud, and +Huddle that provides group messaging.
Overall, Google+ sounds like it could be fun! But are loyal Facebook users willing to convert over to this new medium and rebuild their networks? Mashable provides an interesting poll on their website, cast your vote to see the results. I guess lots of people with MySpace accounts went over to Facebook, but we feel that Google+ obviously has a bit more work to do before it gets to that point. For the moment it is working through the trial phase and ironing out any issues as they arise.
A final important note for all the business owners out there who want to be among the first to jump on the bandwagon – Google+ is not available for businesses just yet. Google have requested that businesses hold off on signing up as they are currently working on a ‘richer experience’ including analytics, connectivity with AdWords and much more. They will also be removing any business profiles that they find, so it’s best to sit tight and wait (if you can!).