Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (on in an undisclosed location), chances are you have heard about Google+, the newest social network to hit the mainstream, that is working to give Facebook a run for its money. In general there are many different features that Google+ has that Facebook lacks. On the other hand, there are a few things that Google+ does that makes you want to run back to Facebook. Here’s a quick review of Google+ Plus:
First, keep in mind that Google+ is still in beta, so the only way to get inside is to get an invite from someone, or to be one of the lucky few to get an original invite. Either case, once you’re inside, you’ll get the opportunity to set up your profile – just like on Facebook, or any other social networking site. You can even add a picture of yourself or what have you to represent yourself on your page. This can be very helpful if you are trying to brand yourself for your business. Like most social networks, you can add more pictures, and videos to your profile as well. Also, there is a stream in the middle of the screen that is reminiscent of Facebook. From there, you will find there are some distinct differences between Google+ and Facebook.
At the top of the screen, you have a toolbar that shows different updates, and messages, and who has added you to their circles, or is now following you. At the top is a search feature that allows you to search for people. The keyword here is PEOPLE. Unless the person put a keyword in their name (ex: gadgets, tech, marketing, etc.) their profile won’t come up (for comparison, you can search for people, and groups in the same search bar on Facebook). The best thing to do is to put in the names of people that you follow online in a particular industry. For example, currently Chris Pirillo, one of the leading tech bloggers on the internet, is one of the most followed people on Google+. After pulling up his page, if you wanted to make a comment on one of his posts, you can do so even if you are not following him, or have him in one of your circles. This is only true for content that Chris has made available to the public. Also, being able to edit your post is really easy. If you make a mistake, you can edit it without having to delete the whole post, and start over again. Privacy settings is another area where Facebook, and Google+ greatly defer.
One of the main differences between Google+ and Facebook is the Circles section of Google+. On Facebook, privacy levels have developed over time, however, it is still difficult to separate what the different people in your life see in your stream. With Circles, this is much easier. There are four layers of access within Circles – Friends, Family, Acquaintances, and Following. The first three are simply labels which means if you wanted to share more information with those in your Acquaintances circle than with those in your Family, or Friends circles, you could do that. The labels give you three different ways to group people so that you can decide what you wish to share, and with whom. Conversely, the Following circle is a bit different in that it works more like Twitter, but with one big difference. On Twitter, if someone follows you, they will be able to see everything that you happen to tweet. With Google+, people who are following you will only be able to see things in your stream that you have made public. Anything else would only be accessible by those within your circles. You even have the ability to create new circles that you could put people in. The main downside with adding new circles is that each person can only be added to one circle at a time. For example, if I had a family member that was also my business partner, and I created a circle for business partners, I could only add that family member to either one of the pre-existing circles, or the business partners circle that I just created. I couldn’t have that person in both the business partners circle, as well as, the family members circle. For those looking for a new way to do video chat, Google+ has a unique feature that might be of interest.
Google+ has a video chat feature called Google Hangouts. It allows you to go into a chat room, and chat with other people. If no one else is in the chat room yet, you can still have fun by watching YouTube videos while in the chat room. Definitely a great way to be able to have video conferences with family, friends, or business associates. Also, you can share videos easily, and make comments in the chat room.
While there are many great features with Google+, there are still a few things to watch out for.
— Google+ pulls from your contacts in Gmail. So if you have a former ex that you forgot to delete, you may want to delete them from your contacts before you accept your Google+ invite. Else, the former ex would be able to see when you are in Google+, and may start bothering you while on the site.
— If you do something to get your Google+ account suspended, all of your other Google accounts (Google Buzz, +1, etc.) may be adversely affected.
— The Gmail account that you use for your Google+ will be linked together. Meaning that contacts you have listed in Gmail, will be used on Google+ to give you suggestions on who you may want to add to your circles. This may render VERY interesting suggestions depending upon who you have in your contacts.
— Currently, if you have a new update, it will show up in the top toolbar, but even if you open the new message, or view the comment made on one of your posts, if you refresh the screen, the status bar will still have those same updates marked as new.
— Along the lines of your Google accounts being tied together, when you add people to your Google+ circles, they are also automatically added to your Gmail contacts list. This might be a good way for spammers to get the email addresses of people who are on Google+. Unfortunately, since deleting people from your Gmail contacts also deletes them from your circles on Google+, there isn’t an easy fix for this unless Google disassociates your Gmail from your Google+ account, which is not likely.
Google+ is definitely something that internet marketers are going to want to get into, especially if you are marketing unusual gadgets or any other type of high technology product. It is still too soon to tell whether or not Google+ will overtake Facebook as the social network supreme, but it is definitely for certain that the tech world has embraced it whole heartedly. But will other demographics follow suite? Only time will tell.
Don’t forget to add me on Google+.
Read What I’ve Written About Google+
How to Create a Google+ Page For Your Business
How to Get Your Google+ Posts Indexed in Google
Google Buys Illegal +.com Domain Name
Google Stops Indexing Google+ Posts
World’s Largest Google +1 Button
Why You Should Use Google+
How to Remove Circle Counts on Google+
How to Promote Your Personal Brand on Google+
Are Google+ and +1 Changing Web Marketing?
How to Increase Your Followers on Google+