What is Google Plus? New Social Networking Site

After receiving an invite to Google’s new social networking platform Google+ I was pretty excited.
The interface is easy to use and seems to have a short learning curve.

Google+ also has some other interesting features. One of which is called Circles, and it seems to redefine the way we “friend” on social networking sites. With facebook you pretty much have to choose – friends or not friends. There are some advanced settings that can help you share content with only certain people, but it requires you pay attention. However with with “Circles” your boss and co-workers are not in the same “friend pile” as your college frat buddies therefore easily allowing you to share content with certain people and not others, and it does this almost automatically. Circles allows you to filter your friends, co-workers, neighbors and family all into different categories or circles. Circles also gives you the ability to choose which content you share with which friends. Very cool feature.

Other features of the new Google Plus: (or as they like to be called Google+ which probably takes a page from Prince’s playbook. Google will soon be called: Google+ The Search Engine formerly known as….)

Stream – Your stream is like your newsfeed that you see with facebook. When you log in, just like FB, you are taken to the home page where you will see the most recent activity. It will update you with activity from friends and others. And similar to other social networking sites, you will be able to see what’s happening in real time through your “stream”.

Sparks – This feature brings you information about topics you are interested in, right to your profile. Unlike your “newsfeed” your sparks feature generates content based on the “spark” you have shown interest in. For example, if you are someone interested in running/jogging, you choose the topic “running” in your sparks category. Now, when you check your “sparks” – you will be fed information from Google search that Google believes to be the most relevant based on your interest in “running.” You will be able to see the most recent and most relevant information on your topics of interest or Sparks, as they happen!

Hangouts – Google+ allows users to socialize using video chat with the feature “Hangouts.” Video chat is nothing new. However, Google Plus is the first social networking platform to offer it. At this time a max of 10 people can all “hang out” at the same time. The main speaker of the “hangout” is featured in the center of the window; the screens showing everyone else in the group are in a row at the bottom. While connected, users can share links in a text chat which is typical of most chat programs. However, with Google+ Hangouts, you will have the ability to watch YouTube videos at the same time and all from within the same screen.

Here is what the dashboard looks like for new users:

It seems that Google Plus will be a force to be reckoned with. So many people are are using Google search. Now, from this point on, your social networking experience will become more and more integrated into Google Search results. You will see what other friends and acquaintances are using and recommending through Google and that’s the real power of social media and social networking.

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