Over the weekend, being the early adopter that I often am, I decided to see what this “Google+” thing was all about. After I got someone to send me the invitation to join (it’s still in the trial period and an invitation is required), I set up my profile. Set up was easy enough, considering it is an extension of your existing Google/Gmail account (I’m assuming most of you have Gmail – if you still use Hotmail, you need to get over that ASAP).
I’m still just figuring it out, and once more people join, I’ll really be able to see what this new network is capable of. First of all, you add people into “Circles,” which you can name “Friends,” “Relatives” or even “Douchebags” if you want because the other people won’t see. You can share photos, videos, and status updates with people you have in your circles – just as you do with Facebook and Twitter. It also incorporates live video chatting, just as with Skype. This feature falls under the umbrella of “Hangouts“. You can invite a friend or group of friends into your hangout, where they can then join in, allowing you all to have a live video conversation together at the same time. There’s also a text chat functionality on the left hand side as well if you prefer not to speak to them LOL.
Above is a little snapshot of my profile to give you an idea of what the interface looks like. This would be the equivalent of the “Profile” page on Facebook. There are other pages for seeing what people in your circles are up to, as well as for “Hanging Out”. You can see my actual profile by clicking here.
Google+ has an app for phones & iPads as well, but it isn’t yet available for iPhone. This app has something called “Huddle” which incorporates the group chat functionality from BBM and WhatsApp. I think you’re starting to realize now that Google+ is aiming to be the mother of all your social networking sites and apps. There is still a bunch of stuff that I haven’t figured out or explored yet, but I find this to be definitely worth checking out. I remember I ignored joining Facebook for a while at the beginning, thinking it was going to be just another MySpace, but it turned out to be a thing. It became the thing, actually.
It’s hard to say if it will take off or not, but they’re definitely onto something with the “Hangouts” and some of the other cool features. It’s definitely not going to replace Facebook, but it will offer something different and if anything, it will push Facebook to evolve and add some of these more advanced features to it’s site.
One thing I must add is that there is a lot of discussion and litigation going on right now over Google+, privacy, and it being a monopoly. This picture pretty much says it all:
Do you have Google+? Let me know if you’ve tried it and what your thoughts are so far.