Google Goes Social

Posted: July 6, 2011 in Just Out!
Tags: , ,

Google+

Ok, so I know that I often post about Google products. I admit that I have been a Google fan since day 1, and the folks at Google have managed to keep me this way until now.

For those of you who have not heard yet, Google has launched its own social network Google+, in a very blatant move to compete with Facebook. While Google+ is still in trial mode (it is not open to the public yet, and joining is invitation-based), it has already started to gain momentum and receive praise for its many features. In this post, I’ll try to go over some of these features, and compare them with equivalent or similar features in facebook.

  • Circles
    This is the way Google+ uses to put friends in different groups, similar to the “friend lists” in facebook. The Google+ circles are much more intuitive and adding friends to circles is extremely easy (drag and drop). Try deleting a circle and enjoy some fun animation 🙂 The folks at facebook even cooked up a small application to simulate the Google+ circles.
  • Sharing
    In facebook, when you decide to share an item (link, picture, video, etc), you can either post it on your wall, on a friend’s wall, or send it as a message to a friend. In Google+, you have more options. You could share it with one or more specific friends, one or more circles, all circles, any combination of those, or even make it public for everyone to see.
  • Privacy
    Facebook has been notorious for constantly changing the way it handles its privacy settings, not announcing these changes until it’s caught, and always setting the default to the least private option. Google+, on the other hand, has much simpler and easier to manage privacy settings, and the defaults are generally private.
  • Hangouts
    You can have 10 people call into a room and it lets you all talk to each other. Facebook responded to that feature by adding the ability to video chat with a friend. It still doesn’t have that “multi-person” chat as far as I know (please feel free to correct me).
  • Backup
    This is actually one feature that has no equivalent in Facebook. Although it might not be important to most users, I think it’s good to be able to download all your data and save it on your own computer. Google+ provides that capability through its Data Liberation page, which lets users download their pictures, profile data, posts, circles and contacts as compressed zip files that can be stored easily.

As I mentioned earlier, Google+ is still in trial mode, and there is no telling, and most of its current users are from the tech-savvy crowd. There is no telling if it will catch on to regular users afterwards or not, but it certainly does look like a promising addition to today’s social media.

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