Google+ is the latest social networking platform from Google. It is a way to socialize on the Internet just like that little company you know as Facebook. If you’re used to Google failing with its last attempts of competing with Facebook, this is different. This is not Buzz or Wave, Google’s previous failures.
Will Google+ be able to compete with Facebook? I don’t think so due to Facebook’s huge membership. However, if Google+ will have any glory in the social networking world, it will be because of its selective approach of who you choose to socialize with. In Facebook, your comments on the wall are shown to all of your friends publicly. Google+ has created circles of friends, allowing you to choose who has the ability to see your comments. If you have a click of 5 best friends, you can set up a circle with them. The same goes for family members and work buddies. Yes, Facebook can accomplish this too, but it’s not a one-click setup and you have to continue to go through Custom Privacy settings to accomplish this.
Taking the step farther with Circles, you can easily view each stream of your Circles. In contrast, Facebook has one huge wall that you can only scroll up and down for. Also, you don’t have to go crazy search for contacts in Google. All you have to do is look through your Google Contacts list and drag them to a Circle.
Another cool feature is Sparks. It allows you to search topics that interest you, such as basketball, computer repair, computer Internet setup, Apple expert and more. Can you tell I went a little tech geek overload on that one?
Hangouts, another nice feature, lets you videoconference with your Circle. That’s a great way for business meetings or family chats. How many times do you find yourself making 3 to 4 separate phone calls to spread the word? Now, you can use Hangouts to expedite this info.
The big plus for Google+ is its Circles feature. I know personally that I don’t post many of my stream-of-consciousness comments on Facebook because I know colleagues and business associates will also see my foolish thoughts. With Circles, you can let your thoughts run wild knowing they will only be reached to your intended audience. The big negative for Google+ is that Circles will not be available until a good amount of users have subscribed. That really defeats the purpose and may discourage folks from signing up. Also, Google+ is only available on Androids for now, and will be designed for iPhones soon. That’s also a bummer.
The bottom line here is that Google+ is great in theory and will compete with Facebook by not looking to take over Facebook, but to be used alongside of it. I can see people using Google+ along with Facebook especially for Google users who want to keep in touch only with certain friends, not the whole world. There is already a huge Google user community, but Google + needs to be able to gets its functionality available now with its Circles feature and iPhone app before Google users are turned off by a bad first impression.