I got a feeling The Google+ Project is going to be the first legitimate social network that will give Facebook a run for its money. I won’t have my G+ invite until 4th of July so I had a little time to do my recon on what it is, how it works and what we can expect in the near term. Here’s what I learned so far.
The Google Plus Project Bar
The Google+ bar, which appears at the top of Google products, is your connection to Google+. You can share what’s on your mind, view your Google+ notifications, access your profile, or jump to a variety of other Google products. For instance, to get to Google+, all you have to do is click +[your first name]. When you’re signed in and look at the Google+ bar, you’ll see your full name or email address displayed with a photo or avatar next to it. This helps you identify which account you’re currently signed in to. You can sign in to multiple accounts at once and switch between them using the Google+ bar. Learn more about account switching.
Taking photos is fun. Sharing photos is fun. Getting photos off your phone is pretty much the opposite of fun. With Instant Upload, your photos and videos upload themselves automatically, to a private album on Google+. All you have to do is decide who to share them with.
Google Plus Sparks
Tell Sparks what you’re into and it will send you stuff it thinks you’ll like, so when you’re free, there’s always something cool to watch, read, or share.
Google Plus Huddle
Texting is great, but not when you’re trying to get six different people to decide on a movie. Huddle turns all those different conversations into one simple group chat, so everyone gets on the same page all at once. Your thumbs will thank you.
Google Plus Project Song
Google Plus Circles
You share different things with different people. So sharing the right stuff with the right people shouldn’t be a hassle. Circles makes it easy to put your friends from Saturday night in one circle, your parents in another, and your boss in a circle by himself – just like real life.
Google Plus Hangouts
With Hangouts, the unplanned meet-up comes to the web for the first time. Let specific buddies (or entire circles) know you’re hanging out and then see who drops by for a face-to-face-to-face chat. Until teleportation arrives, it’s the next best thing.
Google Plus Headlines
Here are a few high profile blogs that covered this week’s release of Google Plus
- 9 Reasons to Switch from Facebook to Google+ | PCWorld
- Google+ a clean, intuitive mobile experience so far | CNN.com
- Google+ could make Twitter the next Myspace | VentureBeat
- Facebook Engineers Build Google+ Inspired Facebook Hack
- Google+ Project vs Facebook | Scoop.it
- Google Plus is currently available on an invitation-only basis.
- Google does not consider it a Facebook competitor (at least publicly).
- Google Plus is currently available for download as an app in the Android Market.
- When you download that app, it splits off the “Huddle” feature as a separate app.
- Users can post status updates, and these appear on the Google Profile under a tab called “Posts”. The +1′s and Buzz tabs remain separate. I have to wonder if we’ll see Buzz and Posts merge eventually.
- What is available now is “just the beginning” according to Google. These are just the first features or presumably many more to come.
- Circles is one current feature. It lets you share things with different people (kind of like Facebook Groups) but with a very different user interface. Watch this video:
- Another feature is Sparks. This looks for videos and articles it thinks you’ll like, so “when you’re free, there’s always something to watch, read, and share.” Filter Bubble anyone?
- Hangouts is another feature. It’s basically group video chat. Google describes it as “the unplanned meet-up.”
- Instant uploads is a mobile-specific feature. Photos upload themselves as you take them, and are stored in a private area on the cloud.
- Huddle is another group-conversation feature for mobile. Essentially, it’s group chat.
- The stream is basically the equivalent of the Facebook news feed.
- When you share something with Google Plus it’s added to your stream and the stream of everyone you shared with.
- The stream shows you what all of your Circles have shared with you.
- If you mention a user, using the “+” or “@” symbols, the person may receive a notification that you mentioned them.
- You can see who specific posts were shared with in the stream – whether they were shared publicly, to extended circles, or a limited group.
- You can filter the stream by specific Circles.
- You can chat directly in the stream
- You can report inappropriate content.
- You can search for people from the search box at the top of the stream.
- Soon, Google says you’ll be able to search the stream itself from the search box.
- If you leave comments on a post, you can edit or delete them.
- Same goes for posts, you can’t edit a post’s sharing settings after the post has been shared and you can delete the post and share again to different circles.
- You can “re share” posts made by others (like re tweeting).
- You can “mute” a post. This will let you stop receiving updates from a post, like if the comments get out of control for example.
- You can use the “Google Plus Bar” that appears at the top of various Google products as your connection to the social network.
- When you’re signed in you’ll see your full name or email address displayed with a photo or avatar next to it, to help you identify which account you’re currently signed in to.
- If you have enabled multi sign-in you can sign in to two different Google accounts and switch between them using the Google Plus bar.
- When you sign up for Google Plus, you’re also signing up for Picasa Web Albums, so all photos and videos uploaded to Google Plus (including from your phone via Instant Upload) will also be available in Picasa Web Albums.
- You can use the Google +1 button from the stream.
- You can have a ton of friends on Google Plus. Robert Scoble quickly added over 1,000.
- The central user interface is very Facebook-esque.
- Google Plus quickly became the butt of a lot of jokes (and even cartoons) but has also received a great deal of praise thus far.
- With Google Plus Google adds a “You” link to the recently redesigned (painted black) navigation bar across Google properties
- You can view public Google Plus content without actually being invited (Danny Sullivan has a guide on how to view it)
- China is already blocking Google Plus. That didn’t take long.
- Invitations have been listed on eBay.
- There are already privacy concerns about Google Plus but the Privacy Guide can be found here.
- According to the Financial Times article, you can share something within a closed “Circle,” but someone from that circle can then re-share it with anyone, and even make it public.
Tags: Google Plus