Aug 12 2011
Last month, Google entered the social media fray and unveiled Google+, its answer to Twitter and Facebook. Essentially, all of Google and its social products are now part one large social network. In fact, next time you log into your Google Docs or check your Gmail account, you’ll see a new navigation bar that integrates sharing capabilities with all of its products.
Keep in mind that, Google+ should not replace Facebook or Twitter. Rather, it should just be another part of your social media strategy. As we stressed before, like a wheel, your website or your blog should remain the hub, or central piece, of your communications with your internal and external audiences. All of your social media channels should merely be spokes of your wheel, driving your readers back to your hub.
In future issues, I’ll talk more about Google+, but first below are my impressions so far.
Design—Lots of white space which makes it easy on the eyes. But it’s pretty simplistic, much like other Google-related products. Grade: B-
Usability—Very simple to navigate and only a few features to learn. You’ll quickly grasp it. But it’s also a blast to use. Grade: A
Google+ Stream—This is similar to your other social media streams, and combines the best of Facebook and Twitter. In fact, if Facebook and Twitter had a child, this would be it. You can decide which stream of content to see—your network of friends, colleagues, people you’re following, or all streams. Grade: A-
Google+ Circles—Love this functionality the best. Simply drag and drop your contacts into a circle—choose from Friends, Acquaintances, People to Follow, or just create your own circle. When you see someone you’d like to add, just click and drop. It’s that easy. Grade: A+
Google+ Profiles—If you have a Gmail or any type of Google account now, this just automatically ports that data into the Profile section. Simply put, it’s just your personal data. Nothing groundbreaking here. Grade: B
Google+ Hangouts—This is the feature that has everyone abuzz. With Hangouts, you can do video chats with a group of people. Very easy to hold a teleconference using this concept or just chatting with family members or friends. Facebook came to the game late on this one. Although they have partnered with Skype, their video chatting capability is limited to one-on-one chats. Another cool aspect about Hangouts is that the camera angle will switch to the person who is talking at the time. That means, you don’t have to worry about having multiple video feeds opened. Grade: A
Google+ Sparks—Interesting feature, but one that few people are using now. You’ll select items of interest to follow. It’s akin to Google Alerts. If you want to follow healthcare, just add it as an interest and you’ll be kept up-to-date on topics related to healthcare. Grade: B+
Overall, we give Google+ an A. Knowing how Google operates, they’ll continue to evolve its new social networking tool, adding features and improving the current ones.
Are you using Google+ yet? Let me know what you think and we’ll share your comments in a future post. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to add me to your Circle, my Gmail account is email@example.com.
Daniel Casciato is a full-time freelance copywriter, journalist, and social media ghostwriter from Pittsburgh. In addition to copywriting and ghostwriting, he writes health, legal, real estate, and technology-related articles for trade magazines and online publications. For more information, visit www.danielcasciato.com.
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