Saturday, July 2, 2011

Some pluses (and minuses) of Google+

Now that Google+ is allowing most anyone to sign up, I've had a chance to explore the new social network and find I like it much better than Facebook. Despite its name, however, it does have a few minuses that Google will likely fix as it adds features and changes to what is now the early, experimental version. It's already looking like they plan on adding gaming abilities.

But with the possibility of new features like games and applications, you have to wonder how Google+ will succeed if it decides to copy Facebook rather than capitalizing on what makes it unique.

That said, here are a few pluses and minuses of the current version of Google+:

+ Google+ is integrated with Gmail and all other Google functions. When you're logged in, the bar at the top of the page includes the typical "Web, Images, Gmail, etc" options, but there's also a section on the right of the bar that sends you notifications and allows you to view and access your profile and settings. So you can access your email and notifications, and you can post links and status updates - all on the same web page. This is the biggest plus for me.

+ Adding on to the previous plus, Google+ has a thing called "Sparks" that is similar to Google News. You add an interest to Sparks that will show up in your side bar and can click on it to view the latest news and web articles on that topic.

+ Its concept of easily arranging friends into "circles" is unique and fun

- When you invite people from you gmail address book by putting them in a circle, they show up in your circle whether they've accepted your invite and joined Google+ or not.

+It has a unique, clean look

- But it may lose that when it starts adding more features

+ It allows you to edit photos

+ It has video chat capabilities

+ Like other social media sharing methods, it allows you to share by giving you the ability to give a +1 to stories and other information/postings on the Internet, and it also provides a column in your account to view everything that you have given a +1 to.

+ It also has a column for Buzz posts

- Not that anyone ever uses Buzz. I only have one friend who uses it, and everything I post is automatically coming from Facebook and Twitter

- Posts are separated from Buzz and +1. The organization here is unclear, and since I already have all my Facebook and Twitter posts coming to Buzz, why bother reposting? Well, because otherwise I won't show up in people's streams.

- There's no ability to post from your phone, unless you have a smart phone and download the app for that. The webpage labels "SMS" as "coming soon."

- There's no way to connect Facebook and Twitter to your regular posts.

+ In a way, it combines Facebook with LinkedIn by automatically using your professional Google profile.

- Unfortunately, as it is in its beginning stages, I currently only have two people to be sharing things with.

Chris Brogan has made a list of 50 possibilities regarding Google+. Check it out here.

What are your favorite Google+ features? Have you joined yet? Will it beat Facebook?

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