Many people have asked my thoughts and opinion on Google+, so I decided to write a post to share all that I know, all that I like and what’s on the horizon.
OK first off, it’s Google, so you might want to take it seriously. As have 20 million users within the first 3 weeks of its debut. Secondly, I loathed thinking I needed to be on yet another social platform. So just know, that I entered into Google+ with a bad attitude. But all in all, it has been a smooth and worthy transition.
All the Google+ Goodies That I Like
Love this. Finally I can post something and not worry who I may be offending. Google+ has the concept of “circles” where once you make a connection with someone, you add them to a category of circle that you have created. For example: family, friends, colleagues, social media superstars, clients, high school friends, college friends, geeks, shutterbugs, etc. could be individual circles that you can choose from to put them in. Now you have the ability to target your message to groups of people it is relevant to.
Easy Access to the Google Peripheral Applications
Google Docs, Google Reader, Google Calendar and of course Google+ are easily accessible within my Gmail email account. If you are like me, I pretty much live from my Gmail account and have it open all day long. (See my future blog post on how to import all your email address into Gmail and have a cool email signature). So having easy access to all the other Google tools I use is very helpful. This also allows for more efficient data dissemination as you have the ability to publish Google Docs to certain groups of people (or circles of people).
Google is pretty much the champion of video chat compared to Facebook. Google lets you video chat with up to 10 people at the same time, Facebook has Skype now, but its capability is limited to one-on-one video chat. Another cool feature is you have the ability to launch a YouTube video right within the group chat and all participants can watch video simultaneously.
I am already imagining the usefulness of Hangouts with my clients weekly or monthly meetings, especially those who have multiple decision-makers. Also, I create video training tutorials for the business owner who wants to tackle social media on their own with my consultation. In this way, if they are having difficulty with a concept or set up, we can view the video together and I can help assist them where they are having an issue.
To start a hangout is easy, there is a “Start a Hangout” button on the right sidebar of your Google+ homepage. You will need a web cam (most newer computers already have these built in), Google Voice and Google Video plugins installed to initially use it. Once you launch it, it will prompt you to do this.
This is a group-based text messaging feature where you have the ability to chat with several friends at once from your smart phone. The interface is easy to understand and super simple, just like Google+. There is a downside, at least for right now, you can only “huddle” up with Google+ friends. But of course that will change once Google+ gets more popular. This app is good for Android and iPhone devices.
I could see this being helpful at business conferences similar to Twitter, but a much more tightly-focused audience or “circle” of your colleagues.
There’s a “Go Mobile” button on the right sidebar of the homepage if you want an install URL sent to your phone.
Sparks are a way to catch up on your favorite topics. Once you click “Sparks” in the left sidebar, it will prompt you to enter a keyword of your topic of interest, then just click “Add Interest” From here it will create and save a feed of the topic that is generated from many different websites.
This is a great way to quickly find content to share with your circles. I use Google Reader similarly. Yet another way Google+ is a one-stop shop with everything at your fingertips.
If you found value in this post, I would love for you to share it with your social networks. What are your thoughts on Google+, yea or nay?