Who wants to see Google+?
There’s been a lot of buzz these pasts months about Google social network offering, and now it’s here.
Let’s take a look!
Starting with the top bar, from left to right, the icons include: Home, Photos, Profile and Circles.
Home is where the heart is.
Your Home page is where you will find your Stream. It is a little bit of a mix between a Facebook Wall and a Facebook News Feed.
When you post, you can add a photo, video, link and location, along with your text. There is one huge difference, here. When you post to your Stream, you select who can see it. They’ve broken it down into … well … circles!
Here are your “who sees it” options:
- Individual person – Type their name or email address.
- Individual circles – i.e. Friends, Family and all the other Circles you create.
- Your Circles – All of your own circles.
- Extended Circles – All your own circles plus the circles of your “friends.”
- Public – The world.
This effects anything you post to your stream. From text to photo album.
Let’s look at some of the options involved when posting anything past a simple text post.
When you post a photo, you can simply add one photo, create an album or grab a photo from your phone.
Google+ automatically syncs with your Picasa account, so if you already using Picasa, you’re all set!
Adding photos from your phone, is part of the Google+ for Android, so you can enable Instant Upload to your Google+.
This is brilliant. Syncing an established web photo album and editing software along with their smartphone OS, gives them an edge that Facebook just doesn’t have.
The video posting options are slick.
You can upload a video via drag and drop, via YouTube or straight from your phone.
The YouTube options are robust. You can search YouTube in the pop-up, paste a YouTube URL, or select your own YouTube video associated with your YouTube account.
Again, we see how Google has synced their established product. All your YouTube is instantly interwoven into Google+, and like before, your smartphone options are already there for Android users.
Simple. Drop it in and you’re done.
I would imagine that this is built into the Google+ App for the Android. If you select it from your desktop, it says your location based on your IP. It’s as accurate as Google Analytic’s is about web visitor location. So, if you’re on vacation with your laptop, BAM! Different location.
This can be added to a photo, video and link post, too.
This is the second icon selection on the top. After all, social networking can be more about looking than reading, right?
- View photos from your circles.
- Photos from your phone (this works with the Android App).
With the correct settings, this will show you every photo you’ve taken with your Android. It won’t make them view-able unless you explicitly share them.
- Photos of you.
I’m not sure if this will involve a tagging system like we see with Facebook, or if this is just a place where you store photos of yourself.
- Your albums.
As said before, if you are already using Picasa, you’ll find all your albums already loaded in!
The next icon/tab is your profile. It’s similar to a Facebook Info page, but better.
A sub-menu appears, giving you the options to view your Posts, About, Photos, Videos, 1+’s and Buzz.
Everything you’ve posted is here. When you click on a users page, this is the stream they will see. Every thing you’ve posted, that they are allowed to see.
I must have had a lot of this info in my Google Profile, since I didn’t add any of this info. It was already there for me. Freaky.
I love the map. It shows everywhere you’ve lived! You’ve got your links on the side, occupation, education, the usual stuff. There some additional fields, too.
If you don’t want everyone seeing this info, you can select the level on each item. This is far easier than the Facebook security. As you’re editing the info, simple select who you want to be able to see it.
This is where you can select some photo options. You can choose whether or not the Photo tab is in your profile. You can set who can tag you, thus controlling who can tag you in someone eles’ photo. Finally, you can choose whether or not your geo info is attached to newly uploaded albums.
Again, do you want this tab available on your profile? You decide!
Again, with the integration!
I haven’t it used +1, yet, so here’s what John’s looks like. Everything you’ve +1 is here! If you don’t want this part of your profile, you can remove this, just as it is with photos and videos.
They’ve integrated this, too. I turned it off as soon as it had came out, but since then, you now have the option of syncing your Buzz with your Twitter and Flickr streams.
Chris has synced his up with Twitter, so when you click on his Buzz stream, you can see all of his Tweets!
This would be really cool for those of you that use Flickr a bunch, too.
Like before, you can choose whether or not this is part of your profile.
I know, kinda empty right now.
This is where the magic happens. This will make or break Google+. Everything else is enough like Facebook for people to intuitively know what to do, this, on the other hand, is a whole new animal.
The drag and drop is great. I’m guessing it pulls the info from your Gmail contacts, since you can also find friends via your Yahoo! and Hotmail.
It comes set with a few circles, and of course, you can add as many as you like!
You can also view just those in a particular circle:
Here’s a short video, breaking it down a bit:
Your left sidebar includes your Streams, Sparks and Chat.
This will effect what streams you see on your main page for you to read. The default is all of them, like the Facebook News Feed. With Google+, you can select the individual Circles. You can view just your friends, family, acquaintances, or any of the Circles you have created.
I love this! It’s kind-of like Twitter lists. Some people have so many connections, it’s hard to follow just your close friends or family. This solves that problem.
This is my least favorite feature. It essentially filters the internet for you.
This explains it best:
G-Chat is integrated like it is with Gmail and iGoogle.
Again, with the integration.
This is where you’ll find your thumbnails of friends, suggestions to add more, and Hangouts.
A Skype killer:
How sweet is that?
With Skype, you have to pay to have that many in a video chat!
Unlike previous Google social networking offerings, Google is leading with their strengths.
They’ve taken all applicable apps and services and tied them in.
+1, too, new.
The other’s, however, hold a lot of weight.
One of my biggest criticisms of Facebook is that it’s too big. That’s Facebook’s greatest weakness, and Google+’s strength is it’s Circles innovation.
If there was ever a chance to capture a large segment of Facebook’s users, this is it.
[Take part in the, ironically enough, ChurchMag Facebook Survey about Google+]