Google+ has been a pretty hot topic in the social networking world the last few weeks. Our founders, being the internet junkies they are, have been using it extensively and have taken a few minutes out of refreshing their pages to tell us what their thoughts are.
There are a lot of people on my Facebook and Twitter feeds who are very confused. The smashing together of the two most prominent social networks has allowed the most cynical of us to slink off into the efficient world of Google+. There aren’t any games here, nor is there a personality test to take. Instead, G+ offers organization topped with streamlined simplicity. It easily found my Facebook friends who don’t post about their every step and what they’re cooking for dinner, and even suggested a few Twitter users I wouldn’t mind connecting with on another level.
My favorite feature of G+ is the same feature that seems to be confusing the less migratory. When updating a status, the options are photo, video, link, and location with an immediate choice as to which friends I am sharing. Unlike Facebook, I don’t have to dig around to find a way to create a new group to separate all my friends from my business contacts from my family. G+ has me make this decision upon granting anyone access to my profile. Hopefully, with more people joining every day, this means our acquaintances will realize they can share their hundreds of baby pictures with just their close friends and relatives.
The cleanliness of G+ is what makes it different from all the other networks. Only the circles we create are featured on the sidebar instead of every group we may have joined over time or requests to applications we never used. As of right now, there aren’t any ads either. A simpler Facebook style stream combined with Twitter’s emphasis on sharing information easily means G+ effectively took out the distractions. Fear not, Interwebs, if I catch you updating about your kid’s execution of potty training again, I am not afraid to “Start a hangout” and yell at you myself.
I’ve been using G+ for close to 3 weeks now. My day to day productivity has decreased dramatically. For avid social media users I think Google has really hit a home run. I used Buzz and Wave when they were both in testing and wasn’t impressed. The interface for both were clunky and there weren’t many initial users, so it was quickly left by the wayside. G+ could very well be the next big thing in social networking.
I love that if someone adds me to a circle, I don’t have to add them in return, similar to twitter. Just because someone follows me, doesn’t mean I have to follow them back. This is one of my favorite aspects of these two platforms. I know for some that is a social networking faux pas, but frankly there are too many people that are “That Guy”on the internet. Facebook gives me the option to sort people into groups who have limited access to what information I share with them, but I have to set that up manually and every time Facebook changes their privacy settings, I spend another 3 hours resetting what could be seen by the people on my friends list. Eventually, I just gave up and began censoring my updates.
Consequently, I also have to censor myself to some extent on twitter as well, lest I offend someone and start a fight on the internet. We all know how well that works out. Twitter at least gives me an easy option to list the people whose updates I’m interested in reading in addition to the general timeline of those I’m following. Google has taken this functionality and made it infinitely better with Circles.
It has the option to add photos, videos, links and locations with my updates, but it also gives me the option to email those not on G+. This is brilliant for the sole fact that I have friends with whom I’d like to stay in touch with, who have given up Facebook due to drama, privacy issues or just plain boredom. I know email seems antiquated, and in many instances it is, but allowing me to email people a link or an idea that I’m sharing with the rest of my social network offers an inclusiveness that neither twitter or Facebook can give me.
I have really enjoyed the usability of G+, they took all of the best parts of Facebook and twitter and combined them while adding easy to use privacy settings and integrating features, like email, that neither of the other two social media platforms bother with. I would even go as far as to say the mobile application is better than the official Facebook or Twitter apps.
I hope that G+ goes public, I think it will be a phenomenal alternative for those of us that are disillusioned with Facebook and slightly overwhelmed with twitter. The only things I can think of to improve it, is if I had the option to also share my G+ updates to Facebook or twitter with a single click and there seems to be a bit of a censorship issue going around.
What are your thoughts on Google+? Do you think it will be to Facebook what Facebook was to MySpace? Is it just a new level of social networking that you will integrate into your already busy cyber schedule?
You can add The Well Written Woman to your Google+ circles here. If you aren’t using Google+ yet, let us know! We have a few invites we can throw out!