Google Plus, the latest attempt from the Big G, to break into social media, has begun. By invitation only at the current time, Google Plus is the buzz all over the tech and social media sites. But will it be another flop (any one remember Google Wave)?
The structure of Google Plus revolves around circles. As you connect with friends, you assign them to a circle. The process is as easy as dragging them to the circle where you want to assign them. You can then filter your updates and your news streams to the specific stream, helping to cut through the clutter that’s so prominent, especially on Twitter.
The signup is ultra easy if you already have a Google profile. Simply sign up with your gmail or Google profile email and your in. If you don’t have either, it’s just takes a few minutes to complete. One confusing step, when you first sign up it asks if you want to connect your Picasa photos. The choices are Yes and Quit Google + Setup. If you don’t have a Picasa account, it won’t matter. If you have a Picasa account and link it, the folders there will not be visible in Google + unless you share each folder.
As with all other social media sites, completing your profile should be your first priority. You can add videos, links and even photos.
Other cool new features in Google + are Hangouts, Group Chat and Sparks. Hangouts uses Google voice and video plugin. You can create a group video or audio chat from within Google +. It does require you download and install the Google voice application. Once installed, you can Hangout with an entire circle, share YouTube videos
Group chat allows you to talk to members of your circles in a text chat format, much like Facebook’s chat function. It’s a quick way to send a message while they are online and much faster than email.
Sparks is another Google Plus feature. Sparks finds stuff you are interested in and delivers them to your Google Plus page. It searches news feeds and blogs to find the most relevant content (in Google’s estimation.) By entering the keywords in the search box, a stream is created for that term and is updated daily.
Google Plus also has an app for Androids. Pictures and videos shot from an Android phone can automatically update to your private album making it easier to edit and share them. One feature of the mobile app is group huddle. No need to make numerous phone calls to confirm dinner plans for the evening. A group huddle can pull all parties together in a simple chat.
Whether Google Plus will be another monumental flop, or a homerun, remains to be seen. For my money, I’m betting Google Plus takes it’s place along side Facebook as a player in social media. What do you think?
Gary Wagnon is the master Ninja for 800biz Online Marketing Solutions. Using a combination of action-centered web site design and the latest search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, combined with efficient and effective use of social media, 800biz creates an online presence that helps it’s clients stand out above the competitors and drive more traffic through the door.