Google Plus = A+?

7 Jul

I’ll admit I like the new social media platform offered up by Google. After the exceedingly public failures of Google Wave and Buzz, one would suspect the masses would be leery of another Google offering. But no, the hype was still there, if not more intensified.

I got a chance to try it out about a week ago when Google opened their invitations. My feeling towards it after using it for a week? Google has served up a nice platform and maybe taken a step further to improve the social web experience. It’s Facebook all over again, yet different. It’s also a lot like Twitter, too, much to my liking. Unfortunately the only thing stopping it from succeeding is its timing and it’s a mistake that Google founder Eric Schmidt admitted as one of his biggest regrets with his company. If Google Plus had come out around the same time as Facebook, Google Plus could have outpaced Facebook much the same way Facebook put Friendster into extinction. With its release now, is Google too late?

Honestly, I think there’s still a good chance people will use it. In fact, some may even migrate there from Facebook. Once it’s fully available to the public, however, I can’t predict it will catch on with everybody. Are the features, seemingly a step up from Facebook, enough to compel people into logging onto Google Plus repeatedly like some people are hooked on tweeting and facebook-ing (myself included)? As a well-connected person, I’m already having a difficult time keeping up with tweets and status updates throughout the day. Many use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for specific and different purposes. For me, I use Facebook for play, Twitter for news, and LinkedIn for work. Google Plus seems to want to incorporate all of the above. Probably the immediate concern for Google is will people have the patience to start over again?

The Pros: Organize your friends, acquaintances, coworkers, frenemies into groups immediately (Circles) to publish relevant posts and protect privacy. Video and group chatting made easy (Hangouts and Huddles) and not surprisingly, Facebook just introduced videochat via Skype. You can follow people you may not know personally like celebrities and add them to your circles just like following people on Twitter or Liking something on Facebook. There’s also ‘Sparks’ where you can follow topics much like Google Alerts or following topics on Quora.

The Cons:  People argue that part of the social media experience is sharing and collaborating with all your friends and not partitioning them into groups (or Circles). Timing of release. With Facebook and Twitter, Google Plus maybe redundant. Lacking social-network games like Farmville.

Future additions: Syncing between Google Plus and Facebook and Twitter will likely come about.

Last Thoughts: The introduction of Plus is adding more reason to switch to Android-based phone, namely the next Google phone.

Your thoughts?

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