I’m sure you’ll have heard the buzz by now about Google’s new foray into social networking – Google Plus.
It launched last week to a select group of people, who were then able to invite others. I was fortunate enough to get an invite, and have been spending some time exploring the new social network.
See above for a screenshot of my Google + welcome page.
My initial thought is that I like it a lot – it’s very clean looking with lots of white space, and there are some nifty ideas, such as Circles – this allows you to organise your friends and contacts into groups such as Work, Family, Acquaintances (“a good place to stick people you’ve met but aren’t particularly close to”), Following (“people whose posts you find interesting but don’t know personally”). NB Those are Google’s descriptions! You can of course also create as many other Circles as you like and name them accordingly.
You can set up “Hangouts” – these are live video chats via webcam with any of your contacts. I haven’t tried this yet but it has the potential to be very useful (online meetings?) as well as fun!
At the heart of Google Plus is the Stream – basically this is the same as Facebook’s news feed and is the way in which you interact with your contacts. You can post photos, videos, links etc. just as with other social networks. And instead of “liking” posts, you “+1” them 🙂
Of course speculation has already started as to whether businesses / brands will get their chance on Google +, and apparently this is definitely on the cards for the future. For now, I’m going to keep a close eye on Google + and hope to find many of my contacts participating.
As yet we don’t know when Google + will be rolled out to the general public, but I suspect it won’t be too long 🙂