Monday, July 11, 2011

Google +

I've had Google + for a week now and they finally opened things up slightly.  Friday they opened things up enough to where most of the people I work with are now using it as well.  In addition I was able to get my wifey signed up and I believe one of my sisters is on as well.  In case you're not aware it's an alternative to Facebook that allows some features Facebook doesn't currently offer, or makes certain things easier. 

The main reason I wanted to check it out was for the 'Circles' feature.  Basically, that allows you to place people into 'Circles' that are really nothing more than designations such as 'Family' 'Acquaintances', 'Work' etc.  That is the main thing I think Facebook lacks.  As you know if you're on my Facebook friend list, I tend to post often, especially if we're away from home somewhere.  Many times I'd like to post an update and share pictures, but would rather limit that to family and some friends.  Other times I might have something more technical or work oriented that that I'd like to post, but I know 90% of people could care less, but isn't an easy way to accomplish that. That's where Google + comes in.  You can put people in one circle or multiple circles and you are able to specify what circles can see individual posts or pictures that you share. 

In addition, one of the other main features I want to try soon is the 'Hangouts' option.  That allows you to have group video chats with specific people or circles.  I'm familiar with the idea of using Google chat or AIM and as of last week, Facebook video chat with one person at a time, but I'm curious how the multiple people video chat works.  I used video chat with my sisters recently, but since I didn't have a webcam/mic, it was all one-sided.  I just got the Logitech C525 over the weekend and am curious how well that works with multiple people using the Google + Hangout feature.  I'm sure we'll try it out this week.

There are also other features similar to bookmarking or the Facebook 'like' option, but Google + keeps track of sites that you hit the +1 option on and saves them for you to refer back to, etc.  I haven't tried that or many of the other options just yet, but I definitely plan to. 

All in all, it seems cool, now that I have a few people in there to try things out with.  Will I convert over and only utilize Google +?  Time will tell...the likelihood all my Facebook 'friends' will change over probably isn't high, but then again who thought everyone would convert over to Facebook from MySpace so quickly, abandoning the later.  I think Facebook will be forced to add the new features that Google + now offers, seeing how popular Google + is becoming, at least among techies.  And if that happens, I think Facebook will remain at the top, but if Google keeps offering new/cool features that Facebook doesn't have and are improvements, I can see Google + picking up steam.  Will see how things unfold!

Do you have Google +?  Plan to try it out?  Not at all interested in another social networking site right now?  I'm curious to know what you think.  As of right now, I can invite people again, not sure if that will be true by the time I post this though.  If you'd like an invite to try it out, let me know!  If you're on there already, add me to one of your circles and we can try things out.


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