Friday, July 15, 2011

Google+: The next big social networking site?

Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, and then comes Google+. Is it the next social networking site to be in?

Late June of this year, Google made a soft run/ soft launch of Google+ wherein only selected users were invited to try out the site. From the looks of it, it's the leading search engine's answer to Facebook.

I fortunately got invited by a friend of mine who was invited to be part of the Google+ testing. Looking at it at face value, you'll see it's like Facebook during its infancy and growth stage.

My Google+ dashboard. Some names and photos were blurred for security purposes.
Very streamlined, without much going on. You'll see a timeline of posts from your Circle (more on that later), suggested friends, chat and Hangout options (more on that, too), and some others.

So what does Google+ have? As you explore your Home page (dashboard), you'll also find these:

Circles - basically your friends, acquaintances, family, colleagues, etc. This section allows you to group your friends in certain categories (you can actually put one friend in more than one Circle). It's Google+'s helpful tool for sharing what you post here. Since your friends are grouped in different Circles, you have total control of sharing and privacy. When you post a status in your dash, you can choose to make it public (visible to everyone even outside your Circle) or choose the Circles whom you want to share your post.

Hangouts - where you can not only chat with friends, but also share videos and other media with them, even while on webcam. Haven't tried it, though.

Sparks - a list of what interests you. On the Sparks page, just enter your interest and Google will list down a search of feeds related to it. And once you added an interest in Sparks, you'll automatically get related feeds.

What's interesting to know also about Google+ is that it seems to consolidate all other info related to your Google account: mail, photos, documents, calendar, Buzz, and soon enough blogs (on Blogger, most probably). I think Google is working on bringing all Google products together here and they'll all be accessible from just one's Google+ account.

So will Google+ be bigger than Facebook? As of now, Facebook seems to be ahead of the social networking game. But who knows? Google works fast and probably in a flash, or once it has games and entertainment apps on the site, Google+ might give Mark Zuckerberg a run for his money.

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