In honor of National Social Media Day today, I spent yesterday evening digging through the test version of the new Google+ social network so I could share my experience and screenshots with you.
Basically, Google+ was created to win over three main areas of social media: privacy, video conferencing, and content consumption. One major complaint of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and others is that our entire network sees every post, even though most of us have thoughts we’d like to share that some parts of our social network won’t care for. Consequently, we tend to only share watered down updates, pictures, and articles that won’t confuse, irritate, or offend anyone.
At least that’s what smart people do.
Facebook is like the dinner table with family, friends, and colleagues all together. Google+ aims to be the big house with different rooms (with thick walls) for the different groups of people you know. You can share your sports talk with the friends, the work talk with coworkers, and the deeply personal conversations with your inner circle.
This was not easily done before.
Will it change social media forever? Only time will tell. Take a look below and see for yourself, then post your thoughts in the comment section.
The welcome screen is fairly simple (click the image below for a full size version). Right now it highlights the three main Google+ innovations: Circles, Hangouts, and Sparks. I’ll get into those in more detail below.
This section is the first of three main innovations that Google is hoping will put this project on the path to social media stardom. Basically, it allows you to segment all contacts whatever way you’d like. Family, friends, acquaintances are all standard, but I’ve gone even further and segmented the people I know by type of work they do. That way everyone gets relevant discussion. My friends don’t have to hear my work talk and my colleagues don’t have to hear my family reunion plans.
The user interface is clean, simple, and uses a drag and drop type method to sort through contacts. It was quite easy to use.
Here is their play at Skype. The only difference is that Skype makes you pay for video conferencing, where as Google Hangouts does not. It will allow up to 10 people at a time into a video chat.
This is the first major thing that leaders ought to look at. You’ll be able to easily conference with remote staff members, clients, and others all on video. All free.
(Did I mention that Google is desperate to get into social media?)
The Sparks page is basically Google News that remembers your favorite topics and allows you to share them with whatever circle you would like. It’s more like a public news feed than a social media channel. I wasn’t impressed when I searched for a topic and 7 out of 10 articles were the same exact topic. Until they fix that, I’ll stick with Twitter for news and reading material.
It’s simple. It’s public. It’s got a map.
Click the image to see for yourself.
Fairly standard pictures page. Very similar to Facebook, however it’s worth noting that Google+ has an photo sharing feature from mobile phones that keeps all pictures stored on your Google+ photo section instantly. Nice.
Much like Facebook. In fact, for a second, I thought I was on Facebook…just with fewer ads.
Google +1 Page
When signing up, they already had all the items listed that got a +1 click from me on Google search since the +1 service started. This was intriguing and looks like an attempt to provide a social bookmarking service like StumbleUpon, Del.icio.us, or Digg.
If you’re interested, later today I’ll be inviting the 8pm Warrior email subscriber list to join me on Google+ and I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on it. Come on back and share your thoughts.
Will you use this?
Will this beat Facebook in the long run?
Have a great night!
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