Share & Connect
With the motto “Real-Life Sharing Rethought for the web”, Google announced its social networking site Google+ on Jun 28, but limited its access. Google sent out access to a limited group as the new platform is on trial mode. The site bears a striking resemblance to Facebook, with streaming feeds and specialized groups of friends. In fact, Google + gathers many of the features of existing social networks.
The network has five basic components: Circles, Sparks, Hangouts, Instant Uploads and Huddle. It also requires a Google profile, meaning you will need to provide Google, at minimum, with a name and a photo.
Here’s a deeper dive into the network by feature:
The “Circles” option allows you to share specific stuff with the people that you want. Circles makes it easy to put friends in one circle, parents in another, and for instance college´s mates in a circle by themselves.
“Hangouts” is another feature which they have created to have video meetings with your entire Circle or just with one person. With this tool you will be able to see how many contacts one of your friends is talking to before you accept the invitation to that “Hangout”. Once you join the meeting you will be able to talk with different buddies at the same time, and whoever speak louder will take a center stage. Google has also integrated YouTube into Hangouts to let you watch a video together.
In addition in the pictures folder you´ll have different sections: Photos from your circles, photos of you, your albums and photos from your phone. For this last option they have created a specific feature called “Instant upload”, which make easy and fast the upload process. With “Instant Upload”, your photos and videos upload themselves automatically to a private album on Google+. Integrated with Picassa, all you have to do is decide who to share them with.
Another of their new items is “Sparks”, this will give you the option of choosing different topics that interest you and will keep you posted on them. Some of your “Sparks” could be animals, travel, and health, so whenever you want to read something about these topics all you have to do is click on them and enjoy the different news about it.
With “Huddle”, you can text groups of people or individual friends in Google+ Mobile. When you receive a new message in “Huddle”, Google+ sends a push notification to your phone. This will make it easy to arrange to meet with several friends because everyone gets on the same page all at once.
What´s more, Google+ lets you edit posts after you post them, and it also hasn’t forgotten its usual features as Gmail, Web, Calendar, Reader and Photos.
Unfortunately, as we have said at the beginning, this is just a project and they seem to have temporarily exceeded their capacity to join them. So unless you have an invitation you cannot join it. When you try to join the network they warn you that they are in limited field trial with this message: “Right now, we’re testing with a small number of people, but it won’t be long before the Google+ project is ready for everyone. Leave us your email address and we’ll make sure you’re the first to know when we’re ready to invite more people.”
Since they announced a new service called +1 on the 30 of March which competed directly with the Facebook “like” button, they have been working for Google’s big push into social. However, will Google+ beat Facebook?
So far some analysts as the TechCruch guest contributor at The Washington Post, Semil Shah, are asking the same question:
Today’s soft-launch of Google’s new social galaxy, Google+, raises one interesting question: Can Google, a massive, multinational, cash-rich, consumer technology company with multiple successful productivity applications and services, take its dough out of the oven and bake a social network into their bread?
Over the past year, Google has undergone some big changes. Chief Executive Eric Schmidt stepped down. Co-founder Larry Page stepped in, reshuffling the deck and tying employee bonuses to creating a successful social experience. The result seems to be a slick-looking yet potentially Wave-like confusing constellation of social “circles,” “huddles,” “hangouts,” and ”sparks” that could, theoretically, lay the foundation for new, more nuanced social networks to form. In the middle of all the reactions to today’s release, I believe it’s important to step back and ponder whether Google is focusing its efforts on the wrong problem, and in doing so, to investigate a potentially better fit that coincides with the company’s own DNA.
On the other hand, according to Business Insider website Facebook has already blocked a Google Chrome extension called “Facebook Friends Exporter” that saves loads of time by importing your Facebook contacts into Google+. As this website remarks the reason why Facebook has done this could be due to two different reasons; “Facebook could feel threatened by a new social network designed by a hugely successful tech giant, or it could simply be a noble effort playing watchdog by protecting its users’ information”. Either way the battle is served…