Although I was not a charter invitee to the Google+ trial universe I have been playing around with it now for about a week. Google+ is throwing the gauntlet down at Facebook offering its version of a social network. It’s easy to get started and to use. My question is will it make an impact on people in choosing Google+ over Facebook or considering switching to Google+ from Facebook?
The current field trial of Google+ allows Google to hear the noise and then tweak what they feel needs tweaking. The crash and burn of Google Buzz has learned Google a few things as the saying goes. Katie Boehret of the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday did a nice job of laying out her viewpoint on Google+ and I agree with many of her observations here – http://on.wsj.com/qnCmdR and an accompanying video here http://on.wsj.com/qTnaFB.
One of the most attractive features of Google+ is the ‘Circles’ aspect. I like the way you can organize friends, colleagues, family, enemies, or whatever into their own circles. Nobody can see what circle or circles you’ve put them in but it offers you the categorization of relationships that continues to be lacking on Facebook.
I am sure there have been many times when some obscure professional or work acquaintance ‘friend requested’ you on Facebook. The normal reaction is to shake your head and then click ‘Ignore’. But what if your boss sends a ‘Friend Request’ on Facebook? With Google+ you can share what you want to share with any particular circle. Or not. BIG +.
I haven’t used the Google+ ‘Sparks’ feature as yet, nor have I used the group video chat module called ‘Hangouts’. I can see the value of both and the Hangouts group chat (up to 10 people) could become popular among some users (but probably not me). The Google+ mobile feature offers group texting (it’s called Huddle) and I can see that being useful and another separator from Facebook.
So overall I feel Google+ has done a good job of taking the things I like about Facebook and enhancing them. But unless the people I interact with (my friends and family) on Facebook migrate en masse over to Google+ I personally don’t see myself giving up my Facebook account nor do I anticipate many other people doing that either. And the thought of having to manage two social network profiles will be a non-starter don’t you think?
I will continue to use Google+ for a while at least. If you’d like to be invited to try it, just send me a note and I will invite you to try it as well. But if you do I’d love for you to come back here to my blog and let everyone know what you thought. It’s all about the conversation isn’t it?