So its been a little over a week now that I’ve been in and playing with Google+ (Google Plus). At first glance it has a good few visual concepts that are both familiar and appreciating at the same time. Like any other Google product, it is fresh and new, and takes very little effort to learn. However why should you get involved?
For starters it has a clean user experience (UX). It reminds me of the earlier days of Facebook before the left and right side panels were littered with ads and game notifications. There’s an easy but small navigation bar that has 4 icons for your jump menu that will take you to either your Home Stream, Photos, Profile (yours), Circles.
To the left is a Stream filter that enables you to either view all of your Streams, or just Streams from certain Circles. So no need to be mad that you missed out about your 3rd cousins new baby because she didn’t qualify as “top news” for your wall, you can simply click on your “Family ” stream and not miss out. This also helps keep the clutter out of your posts too.
- Home – This is where your streams will be. Similar to the Facebook wall. Not much different to the Facebook wall, but what I personally like is how you can make a post and have it limited to just your circles, or specific circles.
- Photos – Well this is simple; a place to upload photos from your computer. But the cool factor here is the collage of pictures from people your connected to that covers the page. Soon mobile devices other than current Droids.
- Profile – Here is where you can change/load your picture, details about yourself, location, alias, etc. You can also Chronologically view your posts, view all your photos and videos, and all the +1’s you’ve clicked on around the web.
- Circles – Here is where you see everyone your connected to. Those that you’re not you can easily send out an invite. Part of the invite process requires an email address (Gmail preferred) and what circle you want to place that person in.
One of the game changers to me is the Hangouts option. Multi-video chat with people in your circles is a nice feature. I haven’t tried it yet with more than one person. It’s been a bit tough getting everyone online at the same time and there’s still a limited amount of people able to get into the site. Speaking of that; since official launch the Google servers have been quite loaded with user’s trying to accept invites. So if you received an invite, keep trying. Though you have to sign in with your existing Google account.
I had to explain all of that to tell you my number 1 reason why you should give Google+ a try. The great separation of family, friends, and clients in a social media platform. Facebook is great and has groups and some rather difficult filtering options for sharing with certain people while blocking others. With Circles you can easily have your mom and aunts in a family circle and make posts about that client from hell and neither of your family or clients will see your outbursts (provided they’re all in their respective circles). So couple that with a sleek minimalist interface and you’ve got a good baseline to grow something compelling.
Well let me know what you think. And just for stopping by I’ve included a link to @graphicsfuel’s website for some neat Google+ icons. Yes they’re free so get ’em quick!
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Excellent review of Google+ jpdesign!
However I’ve been a little frustrated by the inability to do certain things on Google+. While the features appear to be fantastic, it’s kinda hard to give them a test run when you have no-one to engage with. I sent out invites to lots of people but the vast majority of them are still having trouble signing up! I understand that Google is busy ‘ironing out the kinks’ but in the meantime, the delay is causing folks like me to just go back to what we know best i.e. Facebook.
I totally agree. Much like their other previous attempts at social media, they have great initial ideas but lack the sustainability to keep users coming back. It’s best to have a solid platform at launch and incrementally add more options to keep users enticed and excited for more. I’m hoping it works out because I’m getting bored with Facebook.
I strongly encourage you not to get bored with FB! You can’t afford to. Not with 750 million users and growing. It’s all about demand and supply and while FB might get a little boring or frustrating at times, keep in mind that it has demonstrated remarkable user demand, and long-term sustainability. One can only ‘wait and see’ if Google+ has the same ‘staying power’.
Unfortunately I can’t completely ignore it. I still manage a few fan page accounts. But from a personal perspective, I’m no where as frequent as I used to be. My biggest issue that’s been longstanding is how the Top News works. The people I talk to more, I see less of on my stream. Circles with Google+ solves that quite easily for me and gives me greater controls for what I want to see without having to manually (or individually) seek posts from people I want to hear from most. Not saying that + will be the true answer to Fb, but it has some interesting options.