Since Google announced the new Google+ social networking platform, all of social media has been in a frenzy- and why shouldn’t we be!? It appears Google has finally broken through the social media gates with Google+ (that’s Google Plus, not Google Addition, Google Add or Google Cross Thingy). As new information is released and/or discovered about the new platform, we continue to learn more and there’s still new secrets that have yet to be unveiled! Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve learned so far:
What’s all the craze about?
It has happened. Google+ is the first real “threat” to the social networking giant, Facebook. To gain some insight into the inner workings of Google+, its best to start off with Circles, Hangouts and Sparks.
- Circles are a way for users to organize contacts into groups based on their relationship. This can be used to increase privacy setting as users can customize what viewing power different circles have. Circles also create communities rather than binary connections, like in Facebook.
- Hangouts are places used to facilitate group video chat (with a maximum of 10 people participating in a single Hangout at any point of time).
- Sparks are a front-end to Google Search, enabling user to identify topics they might be interested in sharing with others; “featured interests” sparks are also available, based on topics others globally are finding interesting.
Is there an app for that?
Google+ mobile app was already available in the Android Marketplace and it has been rumored that an iOS version is “coming soon,” says Digital Trends. Google is currently in the midst of Apple’s approval process, which will determine if the app will see a formal release in the App Store sometime in the near future.
Can organizations/businesses join?
This morning Ad Age provided us with an update stating that in about two weeks Google+ will allow brands to set up pages. Google+ is currently accepting applications from brands for their pages and you can find that here and Google+ will notify you when their “business solution” launches.
How can Google+ benefit my nonprofit?
Beth Kanter, a highly resourceful blogger who focuses on nonprofits and social media has a lot of hope for Google+ and nonprofits. For example, she sees nonprofits using Google+ to set up circles similar to based on levels of involvement in various campaign goals in which charitable groups can conduct tailored conversations with donors or better understand their main influencers.
How can I join?
Although initially only a select few were chosen to test out the new network, you can receive an invitation to join from someone who already has a Google+ account. So it seems your personal circles will determine if and when you get to join the Google+ bandwagon.
Pluses for Google+
- As soon as you log in, you are placed on a secure (https) server which is great especially when you consider the recent controversies facing Facebook over privacy.
- It’s as basic as ROY G. BIV. The red, green, yellow and blue scheme is easier on the eyes than the played out blue and white used over and over again by other social networking sites such as Friendster and MySpace. Oh yeah and Facebook.
- Peace out Farmville! For those of you gamers out there, this might be a turn-off, but I am thrilled that no one will be asking me to join a mob, sorority or help their farm.
Minuses for Google+
- “Oh no, not another site to update!” Yes, social networks are a great way to keep in contact with those you want, and even some you don’t want, but it is tiring to have to update Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare and now Google+! How much can one person say?
- My circles are miniature. Since there is still very limited access to the alluring Google+, many of my friends on Facebook and Twitter have not had the opportunity to merge over yet, which results in my frequent retreat back to Facebook for more interaction.
Want to learn more about what Google+ has to offer? Watch this video for A Quick Look into the Google+ Project.
What are your initial thoughts on Google+? What are your Google+ pluses and minuses?