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Google + (Plus): What Is It and How Should I Use It?
Monday, July 18, 2011
In late June, early July 2011 Google was getting social, more social than perhaps previous efforts. The launch of Google Plus had people instantly comparing Google’s newest social project to popular social site Facebook. Is it a Facebook killer? Will that remains to be seen, but is unlikely at this point. So for those who may have heard others discussing Google Plus, here is a quick rundown of Google +.

Who: Google
What: https://plus.google.com/# social network
Where: The Web
When: June 28, 2011
Why: To become a player in the social network space.

Now if you have tried Google + you will notice something right off the bat and that is that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Google + looks a lot like Facebook. You have a main stream column where updates from your friends or “circle members” appear. You have a list of “streams” that you can follow in the left rail and you have access to your circles, suggestions for people to add to your circles and options to create a “hangout”, go mobile and send Google + invites out in the right rail. Is it safe to assume that we can look for Google Ads to appear soon as well?

Google has come to the realization that people spend a lot of time on social networks and especially on Facebook. As Claire Cain miller pointed out in her piece a few weeks back, according to data from comScore, time spent on Google is much lower than time being spent on Facebook. Google has to be concerned with this.

So who can we expect to find using Google Plus? Well I think that there are four groups that we can expect to see using Google +:
  1. Early Adopters – and techies looking for something new to take for a test drive.
  2. Anti-Facebookers – those people who have never used Facebook or were one time Facebookers who had a poor experience on Facebook.
  3. Newbies – people who have familiar with Google but not necessarily the social networks of the world. (Are there any of these people left?)
  4. Wait ‘n See’ers – ah yes those people who will wait and see how Google + shapes up. These are the people who will
    • wait and see if the masses flock to it
    • wait and see if there are privacy issues
    • wait and see what Facebook’s response/offering might be
    • wait and see if Google + actually serves a purpose for them to switch from using Twitter or Facebook
Google is great at algorithms and Search but they are not so great at social. (One might actually question their algorithms and search changes as of late as well).

How Do I Use Google Plus?

Well first off you have to have a personal Google account. You can then either accept or request an invite and voila just like that you can begin using Google Plus. Then, if you so choose, you can learn more about Google Plus with a demo http://www.google.com/+/demo/ where you can learn about key Google Plus features including:

Circles – a group-like function that allows to you control what you share and with whom.

Hangouts – a video conferencing option between you and up to ten of your friends.

Huddles – where you can have a group chat and discuss whatever it is that you choose to talk to your peeps about.

Sparks – video and article resources on a given topic that can be shared within your groups or friends.

From there, if you have used Facebook, you will quickly become accustomed to Google+. Your stream is basically like a Facebook news feed and shows you what others in your circles are discussing.

So what about Google+ for businesses?  As for your business and whether you should be using Google+? Well that will remain to be seen. If Google + takes off and is able to gain some popularity and if your audience is hanging out on Google Plus, well then it might be a useful tool to monitor what people are saying about you and your brand. Quite honestly, I have to agree with Chris Brogan that it is too early to tell. 

Fast Facts About Google +
  • Within two weeks, Google + passed the ten million user threshold
  • Google + is technically Google’s third, or forth, or fifth attempt at breaking into the social space ( see Google Wave and Google Buzz, Orkut etc).
  • You can re-share others’ post similar to a retweet
  • Mark Zukerberg (main Facebook dude) currently has the most followers on Google + followed by the Google Guys (Larry and Sergey). In fact Zukerberg has 82% more followers than Larry and 159% more than Sergey. A more extensive list can be found at socialstatistics.com http://socialstatistics.com/.
  • Google plus was developed under the code name 'Emerald Sea'.
  • With a Google+ account, you get unlimited space for photo storage on Picasa. However, if you use Picasa directly, you get no more than 1 GB space on regular subscriptions.


Additional Resources
Google / Facebook Comparison
Danny Sullivan’s Review of Google Plus
Google's Learn More
Google Plus Support

39 Things You Should Know About Google Plus - Web Pro News


Labels: ,

posted by Jody @ Monday, July 18, 2011  
  • At 6:46 AM, Anonymous Nick Stamoulis said…

    I think I'd put myself in the "wait and see" category. I have an account, but for now I really don't see it as a "Facebook killer". Sure, there's a lot of buzz surrounding the launch right now, but I wouldn't be surprised if that faded.

  • At 7:55 AM, Anonymous SEO Liverpool said…

    Hi, I found your blog on Google after searching on How to use Google Plus. I’m happy to have found you blog on this topic i really need this info. thanks for sharing.I will definitely come back!

    Keep blogging on these types of topics good work!

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