Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Google Plus Initial Thoughts

Some beginning thoughts on Google+.

First, it's overwhelming, since you can add people to your circles without them adding you back, like Facebook. So, connecting with interesting people is easy. But then you have a ton of great stuff to read, so hence the overwhelming part. I'm finding myself wanting to be there more than Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else. Others are too. It actually has a name:  the Google+Diet. People are avoiding all other social places and staying on Google+ only to see how it goes. People are also dropping Facebook altogther and leaving little Google+ icons as their profile picture on FB.



Secondly, it's overwhelming because of the sheer amount of information being written about Google+. People are comparing it to Facebook, sharing great tips about how to use it technically, how to use it as a network and how to protect your privacy. I've been using it for a while just flying by the seat of my pants, and bookmarking all of the articles & tips. Now I'm just beginning to dig into the information to learn more.

But I have already found things to share about it.

*The HANGOUTS feature is promising for sure. It's their version of video chatting. But you can have a group. This would be great for social hanging out, but also for webinars, meetings and other gatherings. You can make them private, of course. The video toggles with the main person speaking, while the others are at the bottom in view in smaller screens. Before you ask, yes you can "mute" your video screen if you don't want to be seen. I realize we have Skype and other tools like this, but this is really super easy to use, so I feel like it will get more use.

*CIRCLES are a great way to distribute your posts. You can group whoever you want however you want. So if you're posting about a family vacation that you know only a small groups like "friends and family" want to see, then you post it to them. If you're posting about a project at work, then maybe only your "work" friends want to hear about that. As Mike Elgan puts it:
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9218103/Elgan_Declare_independence..._from_Facebook_
Exactly! This is my favorite part of Google+. Everyone you know doesn't want to hear everything about you and what you're doing. What you might share with your high school BFF isn't the same information you'll share with your colleague or college professor. Here is a little pic of how you can drag & drop people into circles. The animations and visuals are all top notch.

*As a librarian, TAGGING holds a special place in my heart. Trying to search for an old post in FB can be cumbersome at best. People are beginning to use tags in Google+. This would make it more like Twitter in that aspect. With the power of the Google search engine behind it, I can only imagine that this feature will improve. 
Overall, people are saying that it has the best bits of FB and Twitter rolled into one. I have to agree. I'm also really toying with the idea of blogging there. (In addition to circles, you can make a post public)
I found two reasons why I like this idea. (and it's called a BloG+ post - a blog that originated and is located only in G+, I just found out!)

1. Ability to do lengthier posts than with Twitter or Facebook, but easier than going to a different platform.
2. Directing the post to an already built-in audience. (or make it PUBLIC for non Google+ members)

Overall, Google+ has my attention.

A few more links for you to learn about Google+
A nice overview Ryan Bretag
A cheat sheet from Mashable
Great Visual Start-Up guide by Saidur Hossain (click on the photo to scroll through)