I'm feeling it: Goolge+

2 Jul

Google once again is blazing not so new frontiers. This week Google released Google+ (it’s pronounced “Google Plus,” Dad), their take on a new social networking site. It’s still in the Beta version and it’s by invite only. My dear friend who is currently blowing up the Huffington Post, Chris Spurlock invited me yesterday.

Naturally, I had to join. I was a little apprehensive because I was part of the beta group for Google Buzz, the failed attempt at a Twitter spinoff. Considering social media is part of my job, not to mention becoming a way of life for my generation, I feel obligated (and super curious) to try it.

In the media it’s being constantly being compared to Facebook and for good reason. It lets you develop a profile, including an avatar photo, relationship status, interests, etc. In Facebook fashion, you also “friend” people by adding them to your different circles. Here’s the cool part.

So I’ve created circles called “friends,” “journalism,” “Tour Team,” “Boone Hospital,” and so on… I can post info (in FB terms a status or article), pictures and “hangout” within these specific groups. I like this organized way of controlling social media. My boss and my aunts don’t need to see photos from Harpo’s last night and my friends don’t need to see me and my cousins discuss plans for the lake. It’s privacy and filtering all in one. So far, I’m a fan of circles!

Hangouts are another cool feature. It’s basically a chat room you can choose to open to anyone or a select group. Participants can converse in real time, it reminds me of Google Chat.

That’s about as deep as I’ve explored, but I’m a fan.

Does it have a fighting chance on a web already packed by Facebook, Twitter, Four Square, MySpace (the next comeback?), etc.? Most of the articles I’ve read say no.

I say maybe. When Twitter arrived on the scene everyone described it as a Facebook status because Facebook is a language everyone (well almost everyone) speaks.  Three years later, we see that Twitter and Facebook can cohabitate on our browsers and phones. I’ve used a lot of Facebook features to describe Google+ too. One article I read and didn’t bookmark, which I’m now kicking myself about, wisely said if a person is satisfied using Facebook, he or she will not get invested with Google+. People who are looking for more, will find more.

I think there is more to be had in a social network than what Facebook offers right now. I applaud the peeps at Facebook (and Twitter, too) for constantly updating and redesigning. The moment a redesign hits everyone’s status’ are “Bring back the old…” and “I can’t find anything anymore…” But we should be grateful we aren’t using the same Facebook I joined my junior year of high school. Changing is staying power. Changing also means the folks that are making that changes are listening to us, the users, and improving their product and our experience. It’s just plain customer service.

If Facebook is really smart, they already know all about Google+’s circles and they’re trying to find a way to incorporate that idea into their current network. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, add me to your circle!

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