*Update: As of April 2, 2019, Google+ will no longer exist. Learn more.
Unless you have been spending your July living on a remote island, you have probably heard all the hype about the giant of the tech world, Google, launching it’s own social networking site, Google Plus (aka Google+ and G+). Facebook and Twitter users who are thinking, “I don’t have time to keep up another social network” or “ I am still learning Twitter!” – you are not alone. But just as we heard this same attitude during the MySpace to Facebook era, I think it is better to get your toes wet, and see what it is all about early on.
Now up to 10 million users in the first two weeks, it seems that overall, people who have started using it have latched on quickly (I know I have). For me, after a small learning curve, I feel relatively comfortable with the layout now. As a Gmail and Google user, it feels very familiar to me.
The star of Google+ is the Circles
Circles manage our G+ friends in groups in a way that no other social network can.
- Every contact you have in G+ has to be in a Circle, so it forces you to organize your contacts. Circles can be named anything you want and no one sees your circles’ names but you.
- Circles allow you to share information with your limited or expanded networks- not just what you see in your stream, but what you broadcast out. Now you don’t need to blast your business-related posts to friends and family, or details about your kids to acquaintances. You can just share your post with a specific contact(s), circle(s), public, or extended circles (people in your contact’s circles).
- The circles are fun. Graphically pleasing and fluid, adding someone to a circle or deleting a circle is simple and very visual.
Circles allow users to seamlessly blend business, personal, and special interest groups in a way that is a little more like real life. It doesn’t feel weird to connect with people you don’t know personally in G+, because you can put them in a circle that describes your relationship or interest, and then connect with them in the appropriate way, saving your personal posts for those who are close to you.
Google+ Business Pages are on the Horizon
As a marketer or business owner, you may be wondering when G+ will have business and brand pages. +Christian Oestlien, Google+ Ads guy said in his post “Right now we’re very much focused on optimizing for the consumer experience, but we have a great team of engineers building a similarly optimized business experience for Google+.” So far, Google+ has asked that businesses hold off from creating regular profiles for their business, since business profiles are hopefully coming later this year. My guess? It will be worth the wait. To tie a social network to the giant that also controls Google Search, Google Places, Google Local, and Google Adwords will be very powerful.
Most of my Facebook friends and family are not on Google+ yet, and I primarily see tech, internet marketing, social media enthusiasts, and early adopters on Google+. But, I have made new contacts thru Google+, and have also found that thru G+, I have re-established some relationships that may have gotten stale or lost in the clutter at other social networks. Maybe this is because my network is smaller at G+, or because we have something new in common (G+!). Whatever the reason, I am glad to be in their circles.
More interesting Reads and Resources about Google+
The Possibilities with Google Plus chrisbrogan.com
Google+: The Complete Guide Mashable
10 Things CMO’s Need to Know about Google+ Chris Brogan on Forbes.com
Google+ Cheat Sheet Mashable
Google+ Pros and Cons Mashable
Find People on Google+ (search directory)
How to transfer your Facebook friends to Google+ all at once (video)
Have you had a chance to play around in Google+? What are your first impressions? Please leave your comments about G+ below. Oh, and add me to your Google+ circles! +Jackie Kaufenberg