Have you heard…Google has launched a new social platform called Google Plus. Well, how do we find it? First and foremost, you can go to https://plus.google.com/, but hold on…you need an invitation in-order to join. Google Plus is still in Beta, so it is not completely public…yet. You need to find someone who has a Google Plus account and ask them to send you an invitation, but you need a Google Account like Gmail to accept the invitation. They can send the invitation to your Gmail account.
Google Plus bases this whole new social platform on your profile. Most of you that have a Gmail account might know about Google Profile. Google Profile creates a “profile” for you with a picture, your email address, where you have worked, your contact information, and even more. Google Plus bases this account on your profile so you can be found quickly and efficiently via a Google Search.
Google Plus also cannot be used on the business class Google account. For many of you that have created a business account leveraging email and other business applications, you cannot use this account for Google Plus. This will not be available until later this year. So if you want to create a Google Plus account for your business, you will have to use the basic Gmail account or personal profile to create a business Google Plus account.
Ok…enough about who can and cannot use Google Plus, let’s move on to the cool stuff. Google Plus is probably a mixture between Facebook, Twitter, and Google Wave. Here is a place to check out the interactive demo of Google Plus: http://www.google.com/+/demo/ <– CLICK THIS LINK!
Want to watch a video that introduces you to Google Plus, here ya go:
There are a few big things that I love about Plus…it is called Circles.
Google+ Circles helps you organize everyone according to your real-life social connections–say, ‘family,’ ‘work friends,’ ‘music buddies,’ and ‘alumni’. Then, you can share relevant content with the right people, and follow content posted by people you find interesting. For example, you might post an announcement about your engagement and show it only to people in your friends and family circles, or maybe you see a post from the circle you created for your book club that there’s a recent article on your favorite author.
Oh yes…I have been completely impressed by the Circles concept in Google Plus. But my only reference point here is my Facebook account settings and Twitter Lists…but this is completely different.
So may times I have wanted to only interact with a group of people in a discussion, but has the interactivity of Facebook. I have found a link, an idea, a video, a picture, or an opinion…and only share quickly with a specific group of friends. This can be done by just creating a Circle of connections (people) then updating your status for these to see.
This to me is where I am beginning to see some value, and where I see where Google Wave has some influence. I can quickly create a “Circle” where I add friends/people/connections, then I can interact with them and only them. No more worrying about trying to separate a status update from those who you feel do not need to see this information. So many times on Facebook, I wanted to share a video with just a group of friends…but was worried about either upsetting someone on my public timeline or marginalizing someone based on the content of this update.
If you look below…you can see how an update will go only to a group of people are just in my “Friends” Circle.
Then there is Extended Circles…
When you share something in the stream, you might notice an option to share with your extended circles. Your extended circles are like your circles’ circles. Content shared with your extended circles could appear in the Incoming stream of people who are one degree removed from you with certain conditions–namely that we’ll only include people whose association with people you know is already visible to you.
Here is a video about “Circles” from Google that walks you through the interactivity.
Then there is the “Hangout“…yes, a collaborative video chat inside Google Plus. You can take a text chat and have a video chat with up to 10 people within a post. Tired of typing your response, just start a Hangout and invite people to jump in the conversation.
Here is a video about Hangouts:
Hangouts are the best way for you to say, “I’m online and want to hangout!” Hangouts lets you:
- Chill with friends that are scrolling through the web, just like you!
- Use live video chat that puts you in the same room together!
- Coordinate plans, whether it’s working on a project or meeting up for coffee.
- Maybe you’re bored. Start a hangout, invite your circles, see who’s around!
All in all, pretty cool new social network. And if you are wondering if it is going to flop, well it has close to 10 millions users within the first two weeks of being live. I think it is going to be around a while…it is about to hit a billion users! Have Fun!
Bobby Rettew is a Emmy Award winning, documentary storyteller and digital media strategist. Bobby works with IT-oLogy with all of their video, digital media, and social media strategy.