New Social Network – Google+

posted in: Gadgets & Tech, Review | 0

Have you had a chance to play with Google+ yet?

Google+

I was fortunate to get an invitation to test out the new social network yesterday morning and have had opportunity to give it a go.

The Google+ project makes sharing on the web feel like sharing in real life.

There are three main elements to this new social media tool:

Circles

These are your friends, followers, acquaintences etc.  Anyone you link with you put in a category (or two or more) so you can share information, photos and links with specific groups rather than just everyone.  When you share something you choose who can see it – so you can share the office party photos with just your colleagues, you can share what you’re doing on Saturday with just your family, and you can share that amazing music video with just the person you think would appreciate it.

I like this idea.  In real life our friends are in groups – work, family, church, hobbies and so on – it’s a really good idea to be able to share content with just those who would be interested.  And it’s much easier to grasp and manage than facebook groups or twitter lists.  If there is something you want to share with more than one circle, everyone, or just one person then that’s fine too – you’re not bound by the groups but I can see how they will be very useful.

Oh and your friends don’t know which Circle they’ve been added too – so you can put people in groups as you see them in your head without worrying about what they may think about that!

Hangouts

I haven’t been able to try this yet but it seems to be like a little chat room for you and your friends to converse.  It’s advertised as somewhere you can “drop in” if you’re free for a chat using a webcam.  I wonder if people will most likely use it like Skype.  Webcam chats isn’t something I have done much of so I will reserve comment until I have tried it, but I’m not sure at the moment this is an element I would be using.

Sparks

These are your interests.  The concept allows you to state what you are interested in (very easy – you do a search under Sparks and click add), and then you have a list of feeds on different topics you like to read about.

I have, for example, got a Sparks feed for my place of work, my county, blogging, specific technology I’m interested in and so on.  To read things about each topic I simply click on it in the list and I get a feed of news articles, blog posts, videos, images and so on.  It’s then very easy to share them with my Circles.  I’m sure as time goes on my list of Sparks will change as I get used to how it works and what sort of content I’m given.

It’s really interesting to be able to use Google+ so early on… the network feels very empty right now for obvious reasons, but I’m looking forward to seeing how the ideas work out as it gets busier.  It’s clean and so far pretty simple to use, although there isn’t a lot going on!

At the moment I see it as a personal networking tool – I wonder how companies and organisations will be able to use it to interact with their customers.  I’m sure that is something that will develop, just as facebook pages did.

Some people have already called Google+ a “facebook killer” as it allows you to chat and share with groups of people online in much the same way.  But at the same time you have to remember that Google hasn’t exactly been successful in the past!  It could go either way, it all depends on how people embrace the new technology and whether it becomes part of everyday life like Facebook and Twitter and others have (and haven’t) become.

Let’s see what happens…

[If you’re on Google+ and want to add me to one of your Circles please feel free!]

What do you think? Comment below...