Last night, I came across some interesting news.Google has launched its own social network called Google+ [Google Plus] Google has been in the social network game before, with its now almost extinct network – Orkut. Google attempted to replicate Twitter and Facebook‘s status message feature through Google Buzz. However it failed again. But this time around, I believe Google has something good in its hand.So much so that I think Facebook might see a threat.
Google has tons of products and using them the right way is exactly what Google Plus achieves well. Where products like Email, Voice Chat, SMS, News, RSS reader are already a part of Google… Facebook would have to create some of them from scratch.
There are two main facts which separate Google from any other social network.
- First, its stronghold into the mobile market in the form of it OS Android. Google can easily integrate Google+ in all Android based phone.Facebook integration is already there, but Google can be preference to Google+.
- Second, the overview of the internet through its major monopoly – Search Engine which it uses in the form or Spark!
Google has used these to its advantage quite well. While Google+ initially looked like a copy of Facebook, it involves some new exciting features. Google+ is fresh and fun.Let us have a look at the features of Google Plus.
There are two kinds of feeds in Google+.The first being social content from your friends, family and other people on your list.The content they share with you will be visible on your streams page.I’ll give some more details soon.
The other kind of streams are a part of ‘Spark’, which are interest based streams that Google+ will provide you with.Interests could be like photography, cycling, gardening etc. I think Google would make use of ‘Google News’ and ‘Google Reader’ here.
Another thing that makes much more sense now, is the +1 button Google unveiled a few weeks ago.The plus one would not only affect search results but Sparks as well.How exactly will Google provide the most relevant content? I do not know, I don’t have an invite yet.But I think Google will somehow find a way to make it interesting.
I think Spark is really cool. The only thing I do on Facebook, is check out streams from my friends. I do not mean the results of their stupid games and quizzes. I like to read what going on with them, the places they’ve been to and the photos they’ve taken. Thats pretty much all Facebook is to me. Spark gives me a chance to read about my interests along with my friend feed.Cool!
“Tell Sparks what you’re into and it will send you stuff it thinks you’ll like, so when you’re free, there’s always something cool to watch, read, or share.”
Now there’s one complaint I had with Facebook from the beginning.Facebook makes everything public.I think there are some features in Facebook which allow selective sharing,but they are not as simple as Circles in G+.What I mean to say is, all relationships are not equal. I donot want to share the stuff which I share with my close friends to be visible to my work collegues for example.There has to be a boundary.Some of the people I add, are added purely due to social obligations.I am not interested in receiving feeds from them.Nor do I want to share mine.But somethings just HAVE to be done.
For example, I do not want to share my whereabouts with certain people.Circles allow me do just that.I can creates circles for my college friends, my family, my work colleagues and select how I share my streams with them. Circles also allow you to have one way streams.Which means you can follow someone without them following you.You can receive their public feeds.So I guess you can add and get to see celebrity updates on your main page!
Also, this way you can receive updates from certain people but they wont be receiving updates from you.It all sounds a little complicated at first, but Google’s UI is spot-on and simple.It even has has a cool animation when you drag n drop a contact into a circle!
“You share different things with different people. So sharing the right stuff with the right people shouldn’t be a hassle. Circles makes it easy to put your friends from Saturday night in one circle, your parents in another, and your boss in a circle by himself – just like real life.”
Hangout is a group video chat service.Hangout offers as many as 10 simultaneous video screens where groups can meet face-to-face online and have a discussion.It also provides instant messaging to supplement the chatter.
From the looks of it, Hangout seems really cool.As some reviews say, Hangout offers competition to Skype and Google does it well. You can see the members of a particular hangout as thumbnails. Click on the thumbnails and you’ll see their webcam feed. It sounds perfect for an online get-together with friends!
“With Hangouts, the unplanned meet-up comes to the web for the first time. Let specific buddies (or entire circles) know you’re hanging out and then see who drops by for a face-to-face-to-face chat. Until teleportation arrives, it’s the next best thing.”
Taking photos is fun. Sharing photos is fun. Getting photos off your phone is pretty much the opposite of fun. With Instant Upload, your photos and videos upload themselves automatically, to a private album on Google+. All you have to do is decide who to share them with.The Google Plus app would allow you to easily click and upload your pics into your Google+ account.Since Google has control over Android, there might even be a ‘Send to Google+’ option in the Camera Menu.
Circles are great.Huddle allows you to interact with those on your circle through instant messaging. Its perfect for having a discussion with your peers. However currently its available to only those using the Android phone app.It will be interesting to see how the huddle works when people join through different platforms! The interface is lively and you can all the invited people in the top bar and the messages below.
” Texting is great, but not when you’re trying to get six different people to decide on a movie. Huddle turns all those different conversations into one simple group chat, so everyone gets on the same page all at once. Your thumbs will thank you.”
The Android app has released and you can find it here
Here are some screens
G+ is currently on invite basis only and is in a limited field trial.You can always rely on Google for creating excitement and then limiting access to its products!
Now some questions arise:
But I already have all my friends in Facebook.Who has the time to add everyone again in Google+ ???
I think Google will soon include an import service.Currently there’s an indirect workaround for it.You can import your Facebook friends into Yahoo and then import them into Google+ through yahoo.
All my photos are in Facebook!!
Well, Facebook has an API which allows other application to access its data.It shouldnt be long before albums are import-able as well.In my opinion, migration to Google+ should be such a big problem.
But then again it wouldn’t just suffice if only you join Google+.For you to be active in a social network your friends, family and other contacts also need to join it.
There’s one thing I’d to see.What if Google used its search by images feature in G+ .Imagine searching for friends through their pics!
As far as I have seen, Google+ looks superior to Facebook.The design and feel is awesome.The ease of use is good.The features are fresh.The Android App is brilliant.And the time…is right!
I just joined Google+ 10 mins back..So like and share/comment on this post and maybe I’ll send an invite
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