Google+ has entered the fray to capture a chunk of the social network, and is following the same route it did for its Gmail service, increasing its membership by invitation alone. This helps Google exercise control over memberships and use customer feedback to improve the services it provides. The first to receive invitations were the tech savvy early adopters of such services. Google+ was launched the day MySpace was sold, and industry watchers are trying to establish its positioning against the more experienced, established and highly successful social network, namely Facebook.
Google+ has a different and interesting interface with the following:
- Stream– This is the area open for adding newsfeeds. It is the platform offered to update content, share news, information, links, photos and videos. Much of it is similar to what Facebook offers, but Google+ offers the addition of the location option. The updates can then be responded to through “comment”, “share” and “+1”, which is the equivalent of Facebook “like”. The most commented updates appeared at the top in the same manner as Facebook’s Top Stories. The expectation from Google is higher, perhaps in the form of a feature that allows users to see only those updates they want to, rather than repeatedly seeing the same ones.
- Photos- As in any social networking site, sharing photos is important. Google+ offers options as follows:
(1) Photos from friends
(2) Photos uploaded yourself
(3) Photos of you
(4) Photos from your phone
- Profile- This is similar to the Google app called Google Profiles, which has been incorporated into Google+. It helps members to create a complete profile, including a biography, photos, videos and shared items with the aid of Google Buzz. The Profile comes with a +1 button which is similar to the “like” button available on Facebook.
- Circles- Circles is Google’s form of friends, to create groups, contacts and network of people. It has been simplified since its interface has the easy to use drag and drop feature, and categories can be created for friends, acquaintances, family, professional connections and others. This helps users filter content supposed to be made available to specific circles. This makes it similar to Facebook lists, but perhaps a bit more complicated.
- Sparks- this is an interesting feature available to Google+ users to get news and information about topics of interest on the basis of keyword categories. Google provides information from a simple Google search, along with Google+ content and data available under the Google +1 feature.
- Hangout- A social network is not quite complete without a chat segment. So Google has added a Skype type feature called Hangout, which offers live video conferencing features to connect and chat with friends or anyone else.
The fundamental idea behind creating Google+ appears to be to create a platform for all Google apps to get social networking features added and present a homogenous Google front that sums up complete needs of users. While it has been signed up for by all technical people invited, it remains to be seen how many will switch from other social networks into Google+.
This is a guest post from Neil the head of Marketing at eMobileScan. A specialist site that provides solutions to make businesses more productive and cost effective.