Look out! Google has arrived in the world of social media and I’m sure you already know; it’s attracting a lot of attention. Google+ is the new social media channel that is flittering Twitter feeds everywhere.
It just so happens that the field trial of Google+ reached its user limit within 48 hours; but don’t worry, Google plans to release more invitations periodically. Until then, here are some insights into Google+ for those of you who have yet to receive your golden ticket.
Google+, in a sentence, is a social media network positioned between Facebook and Twitter. It requires less of a commitment to connect with friends than Facebook, and is more substantial than Twitter. Here are a few points that make Google+ a potential keeper and a few that might make you think again:
Circles: Circles are Google’s attempt at Twitter’s list feature. Circles are custom groups for family, friends, business acquaintances or whoever, and when writing a status, you can specifically choose who receives your update. The ability to target specific audiences is an excellent tool for customizing messages.
Streams: The news feed in Facebook can get bogged down with thousands of posts, which makes looking for something specific a difficult task. This is why the stream feature uses your circles to divide the content into specific groups. For example, if you have an industry professionals circle, you can view that stream and find out what’s on their minds.
Hangout: Google+ created a videoconferencing tool called “Hangout.” It’s a ten-person Skype-like video chat where members can come and go as they please; perfect for webinars, conferences and chatting with your circles.
+1: If you like a post by someone else, much like Twitter, you can let the world know. Clicking the +1 button is much like the Twitter retweet. Google+’s +1 is a quick way to get feedback on your content.
Sparks: Sparks is Google Alerts all over again. You tell it what you’re interested in and it pulls news from Google’s search engine. This is a great tool for staying on top of the industry news or finding out what others are saying.
Conversation is difficult: One negative to Google+ is that you can’t post to a connection’s wall, or direct message. The only way to send out information to your connections is sharing through your circle. This reduces the open conversation that Facebook and Twitter excel in. How Google+ gets around it is once you post something, others can comment on that post. Until then, your feed is silent.
Those are just a few of the features that Google+ brings to the table to challenge Facebook’s reign over social media. Take a look at some of our favorite Google+ blogs to learn more:
Julie Yamamoto: Jason Falls produced a video that tours Google+: An Introductory Tour Exploring Social Media – Shel Holtz, Communicator. http://bit.ly/nbrBhz
Gary Rubin: A good FAQ on Google+ from MediaPost
Jesse Davis: Google+ is looking to become the social music site too. Wired’s article: 5 Ways Google+ Could Steal Music Fans From Facebook. http://bit.ly/r2fQh7
What do you think about Google+? Does it have enough innovative features to pull users from Facebook and Twitter? What else would you like to learn about Google+?