Saturday, March 17, 2012

Google Plus+: Real-life sharing, rethought for the web

Google Plus (G+) is a social networking project, operated by Google Inc. The service was first launched on June 28, 2011, with an invitation-only. Existing users were allowed to invite friends who were over 18 years of age to the service to create their own accounts. However, it was suspended the next day due to an “insane demand” for accounts. Then on September, 2011, G+ was opened to everyone 18 years of age or older without the need for an invitation. The age limit had previously been 18, but on January 26, 2012, Google opened Google+ to teenagers.

Features in Google+:
Circles: enable users to organize people into groups for sharing. You share different things with different people; to put it in another way, you share right stuffs with right people. For example, you can organize people into groups of Friends, Acquaintances, and Family. The organization is done through a drag-and-drop interface. Also, you can share certain posts with users in a specific Circle. 

Stream: is a place that users see updates from those in their Circles. There is an input box which allows users to enter a post. There are fields to put text, to upload and share photos and videos. The Stream can be filtered to show only posts from specific Circles. 

Hangouts: are places used to facilitate group video chat with maximum of 10 people. You can hang out with your friends anywhere at any time without being in same space. Actually, President Obama had done virtual interview in the past through aired live on the official White House Google+ page. 

Sparks: are topics that you want to discuss with others. It allows you to post your likes and dislikes and enables users to identify topics they might be interested in sharing with others. Sparks helps to keep users informed of the latest updates on the topics of their interest.
Games: There are about 38 games. Unlike Facebook games, Google+ games are located under a games tab, which gives games less visibility, and have notifications that are separate from the rest of a user's notifications.
+1 button: allows people to recommend sites and parts of sites, similar in use to Facebook's Like button.
Search: allows users to search for content within Google+. You type what you're looking for into the Google+ search box, and Google will show relevant people and posts, as well as popular content from around the web.

Google+ for Business:
Google Plus is a great tool to use in business which helps to get closer to your customers. You can share breaking news, updates, promotions, links, photos, etc. You can even talk to customers in face-to-face via video chat. By putting the +1 button, you can recommend your business, products, or services to friends and others. By clicking Google+ badge icon, people will be taken to your Google+ page where they can follow your page and see your posts from then on. Google’s measurement tools allow you to know what people are saying about your business, how many +1’s your business receives, and how these affect your traffic.

You can find out more about Google+ through Amir Efrati’s article titled, Google Wants Search to Be More Social.” Also, Olivia’s post called, “Difference Between Google Plus+ and Facebook” shows different Google+ features compared from Facebook.

Which one would you prefer between Google+ and Facebook?

What else can you think of the effects that Google+ can bring into your life and your business?