Google has announced its latest effort at social media, its best so far. The Social network site, called Google+, borrows a few ideas from the world champion in social media, Facebook, but also introduced some new and better ideas that could make it a good alternative to Facebook.
Google+ is available to a limited number of users on an invite-only basis as Google field tests the service. So far, user reviews from Google+ invitees have been positive, with most commending how it handles privacy and the control it gives users to select who they share particular contents with.
While you wait for Google+ to go public, here is a brief overview of the idea.
Google+ allows you add your network into groups called Circles and enables you share content easily with specific circles or group of circles. Google+ has pre-labeled circles for friends, family, and acquaintances, but also allows you to add your own labels.
When sharing on Google+, you select which circles you want to share the content with. This gives you control over who sees your post. For example, if you do not want your boss or family member to see the content you are about to share, just make sure you do not share it with the circles they belong to. So, you can keep your privacy, while still having your family and boss as friends, mimicking our real life relationships. Google+ makes adding friends to circles having easy with drag and drop.
Google+ features a video chat area called Hangouts. You can create a Hangout or join one created by a friend. Up to 10 people can join a Google+ Hangout. To chat with text, you have to use another Google+ feature called Huddle, which is similar to Hangouts, but for text chat.
Google+ also has a news feed, called a Stream. When posting on your Google+ Stream, you select which Circles see the particular post (all circles or specific circles). Each friend will see only what the Circle he/she belongs to is allowed to see when he/she views your Google+ Stream.
Like on Facebook friends can comment on or endorse your Google+ Streams. However, while Facebook uses the Like button for endorsement, Google+ will be using what is called the +1 button. You can see a +1 button on this post opposite the Facebook like button.
Search is also integrated into Google+ in a feature called Sparks. Sparks when prompted will automatically search for contents relevant to your interests from all over the web and deliver them to you, something Facebook still can’t do. You can then share such content with your Circles.
Google has also announced a Google+ mobile app for Android, which comes with all the Google+ features for mobile.
No doubt, Google+ is a strong challenge to the dominance of Facebook, but the question is whether Google is too late to the social media game?
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