The Web just can’t stop talking about Google Plus, the new social network from the search engine giant. It’s being touted as a site that could unseat Facebook—no small task. As a NH Web design firm, we think of ourselves as social media early adopters, and we’ve been trying our new accounts. Here’s what we think Google Plus gets right (so far).
Google Plus is tied to your Gmail account and contacts, and it’s integrated into your Google homepage. When business pages roll out (which they will soon) business owners will already have a suite of Google programs (Places, Maps, Local to name a few) ready to be put to work for them. Also, very simply: Google powers search. Consider that when you want your content to be found.
Google’s answer to the big problem of Facebook: everybody and their mom is using it. You might not want your photos from a night out shared to your Great Aunt Eleanor and your boss, but you might choose to share them with a select “circle” of friends. You might find a cool site or article that would interest people in your industry but bore your friends and family. With Google Plus, you can share it to only a “work” circle or an even more specific circle like “designers” or “clients.” You can customize circles to fit the way you really interact with people in your social sphere.
More than 1 billion items are being shared every day on Google+. That’s not too shabby when you consider that Google+ currently has around 10 million users (although that number is growing by the hour). The +1 button is already all over the Web. If you read something interesting, you just hit the +1 button at the bottom of the page to share it to your circles.
Facebook is reciprocal: you friend me, I friend you back. We both see each other’s updates. Twitter allows you to follow someone even if they don’t follow you back. So while Google Plus has a look and feel that’s more like Facebook than Twitter, you can add people to your circles (and see the content they post publicly) even if they don’t add you. Other people can put you in their circles, and you can choose whether or not you want to add them to yours.
No Farmville, no Mafia Wars, no quizzes, so far. In general, there’s none of that feed-clogging stuff that slowly has been taking over Facebook for a few years now. You get short updates from people in your circles, links to cool stuff they like and a little information about them, and that’s it. How refreshing!
What do you think? Does Google Plus walk the walk, or is it bound to go the way of Google’s other social media attempts? (Anyone remember Buzz or Wave?) Let us know in the comments. And by the way, we’ve got Google Plus invites to give away! Stop by the Vital Facebook page, check out our contest and win one. If you snag one, or if you’re already on Google Plus, don’t forget to add Vital Design to your circles!