I have been using Facebook (actively) since 2007 and Twitter since 2009. I also remember completing my profile on LinkedIn early 2007. All of them got me excited but nothing as much as Google + when it launched early this year. I am not saying that Google+ is going to replace all or any of them going forward but what I can say for sure it is going to eat up a significant portion of the social media content out there. Though I was an early adopter, over the last couple of months I have been using Google+ extensively and have been liking it a lot. I think its a simple,uncluttered and does a good job to cut out the social media chaos for me. Here’s why -
Finding Information – Finding information on a specific topic or people who share a common interest is much more fun and effective on Google+. Yes, you do have groups,lists and pages on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin but both the results and the interface are quite better on Google+. This is where the noise factor comes in, personally when I have tried following or joining groups on the other networks and it has always come with its share noise and the painstaking task of eliminating the noise from information. Sure Google+ is not completely noise free, but it does a much better job comparatively. Quite a few special interest communities have also sprung up all across Google+.
Unique Features – Google+ debuted with some really cool and unique features like sparks, hangouts and circles. Circles allow you to almost completely control how you share information with people in your circles as well as publicly. While twitter almost completely lacks this feature, Facebook’s implementation of lists has been sketchy so far.
Sparks (Saved Searches) on the other hand is a more sophisticated implementation of Google alerts where you can save searches of you favourite topics on Google+ as well as across the web. This adds a more social element to your searches which is more effective than the tradtional search.
Hangouts is a completely feature brought in to Google+ where you setup a spontaneous video chat session with people from your circles. It is both fun and easy to use. You can setup a hangout with a few clicks. If there is one thing that I don’t like about hangouts is the restriction of having 10 people. Again the restriction of 10 participants per hangout may help in cutting out the chaos. What helps though is that you can use third party tools to record and share Google+ hangouts. I am quite hopeful that Google will have this as an inbuilt feature in the near future.
There is also lack of those annoying apps that you keep pooping up on Facebook adding on to the noise factor. While this may also be due to the fact that Google+ is quite young and Google has not made public all of its APIs.
Seamless Integration – There is a strong possibility that Google is already part of your overall web usage experience and it is all about adding to that user experience. Soon after its launch Google has been integrating Google+ with all its services like search, reader and YouTube. It takes the complexity out of finding, reading and sharing information.It is also very well integrated with the Chrome browser by providing official Google+ plug-ins. In the coming days these integrations will only increase and if you are a google power user you will enjoy the experience even more
A nice short Google+ educational clip
If you are already on Google+ feel free to add me to your circle @ +Sam Palani where I share ideas and posts on a topics ranging from project/program management to photography, from technology to ‘foolish’ investing. If you are not already out there, it’s never late to join in
So while I am most certainly not going to stop using Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin, I have only so much time that I allocate to social media and Google + will be having a share of that time. I am sure that would be the case with most active users. How about you?