Google+ is a new social networking site run by Google. It is currently in a testing phase and is invite-only, but anyone invited to Google+ is allowed to invite others to join, and currently, you have an unlimited amount of invites to send as you wish.
I was invited to partake in Google+ and have had the opportunity to experience and try it out for myself, and I am rather impressed with it. But there are also a few things I have some issues with. In this article, I’ll explain a few of the features of Google+ and share some of my experiences using it thus far.
Google+ has quite a few features that current Facebook users will find to be very similar to what they’ve already been using. “Liking” things for example is called “+1” on Google+, it is essentially the same thing, however, whenever you +1 a status a counter will appear and will count how many people have clicked +1 for that status and it counts upward. So, you’ll see +2, +3, +20, etc.
I rather like the idea of +1s. It seems every site these days is using Likes and it’s nice to see Google trying something a little different, even if it still works about the same way.
Another feature definitely worth mentioning is “Circles.” Circles are groups that you create and help you sort and manage your contacts, like “Friends,” “Family” “Co-Workers”, etc.
While this seems rather basic, what’s really nice about this is the ability to sort who sees what. For example, if you were to share a YouTube video, you can set it to show only your Family circle and not your Friends circle. This adds a new layer of privacy and helps you filter out who sees what and when.
Also, managing your Circles is done completely through a drag and drop interface, so it’s incredibly easy to use and doesn’t take long at all to get used to.
Hangouts are basically a way of creating a group video chat for your contacts and anyone else you want to invite (Up to a maximum of 10 people).
The only issue I’ve seen with Hangouts is that anyone that has the URL for your video chat can join it, whether you’ve invited them or not. This will most likely be fixed by Google in the future, but it’s still something to be aware of.
Sparks are a way of adding various things you’re interested in and it work s as a front end for Google’s search engine. It displays similar things to what you’d see if you did a Google search on the same thing.
This adds a new and interesting way to find and share things with your friends. I rather like this, though I do wish your Sparks would show up on your profile as well so your friends can see what you’re interested in, but perhaps Google will add this in the future if the demand is high enough.
Better Than Facebook/TikTok?
There’s no doubt that Google is trying to exceed Facebook’s and TikTok’s user-base with Google+ and, in turn, become more popular. However, as you have the option to Buy TikTok Views for any post users can improve the stats of the content they post on TikTok and get the best out of their social media network.
However, it is of my opinion that Google+ still has quite a ways to go in terms of being better feature-wise than Facebook. There are still a few things missing from Google+ that Facebook currently has that I would like to see added.
Being able to add your political and religious views, and some of your interests and hobbies would be welcomed additions as they help find and meet people with similar interests and views as yourself. Without simple things like this, it’s hard to call Google+ a social networking site.
Also, there are no games on Google+. While I don’t particularly care for them, many Facebook users love playing games on there and sharing their achievements with friends.
I’m quite surprised by how well Google+ is turning out. It is definitely on the right track to becoming a popular social networking site, and if Google keeps adding new and wanted features then it’s possible it could become more popular than Facebook.