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Google+ First Review

Posted by on 30/06/2011

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Google recently unveiled their latest attempt at social networking, this time calling it Google+. While other endeavors such as Wave and Buzz have proved somewhat unsuccessful, they have put quite the effort into this new project. We were lucky enough to get an invite last night, and it seems the new service was so well received that they have disabled further invitations, but we do hope they re-enable the option later on. Our review first looks at the features they have to offer, and then we make some comparisons to other popular social networks.

The Features

Starting on the homepage (as seen above), you can see the Stream which shows all activity created by yourself and friends. One the left side, you can filter the stream by groups or Circles as Google calls it. There is also a like to Sparks, which categorizes the latest news from Google News by topics such as autos, sports, etc. If you’ve used GChat, your contact also appear in the left column. To the right of the Stream, you can view a quick preview of the folks in your Circles as well as possible suggestions based on your Gmail contact list. Finally, we see the most talked about Hangout feature where friends can video chat with each other in conference style. Ok, let’s get into detail about each feature.

Circles


The one of the more popular features about Google+ is the ability to classify friends into groups or Circles. This has a huge effect on privacy and is supposed to be a step up from other networks in terms of better control over privacy and content sharing. When you initiate your account, there are four groups called Friends, Family, Acquaintances and Following. There is the option to add more groups to better categorize your friends. They have made it easier to control who sees what, so this means you don’t accidentally share your private photos from the secret vacation with your parents.

Sparks

Sparks delivers up to the minute news on a variety of topics, with the option to search for any topic of choice. It combines Google News and other hot sources, such as articles and videos. You’ll be able to add a link to whatever topics fancy your interest, so whenever you log in again, you just have to click the link and it dishes out the newest headlines based on those topics.

Photos

Just like Facebook, they have also included the option to upload photos via the web browser or via the mobile phone app. Unlike Facebook though, the uploader is very easy to use and quick. Rather than having to configure a million settings, it’s basically a 1-2-3 process.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=698371861 Benjamin ‘Billy Bones’ Bourjoi

    ‘Circles on Google Plus compares to Lists on Facebook’

    How exactly do they compare?  In my experience all Facebook lists allow you to do is message a group of people at once and set general filtering options.  Google Circles allows you to filter everything you post on the main feed to specific people on the fly.
    Nothing on Facebook compares to that feature, as everything I post can be seen by everyone on my friends list (obviously unless I filter specific people out, but that would take forever each time I wanted to post something specific to one group of people). 
    If Facebook implemented a feature where by there was a drop down menu on the status bar which allowed you to select one of your ‘lists’ to post to specifically, then you could say they compare.  But as of now that’s not possible.

    Amongst all my friends, Circles is the one thing that is drawing them away from Facebook.  I think you have totally underestimated the usefulness of the feature.

  • https://www.blogtechnical.com Bradley Wint

    You can create lists on Facebook and then filter all posts by choosing which lists get to see it and which don’t. Facebook takes a reverse approach in my opinion where all content is set to what you configure in your privacy settings, and must be changed each time if you what to specify which Lists see what. Circles basically has the option right there and then, so I’d say it’s more “visible” than Facebook with the tiny lock at the bottom of posts, BUT there is still a significant level of control over at FB if you understand the system fully. I think Facebook did not do the best job at promoting that recent feature, so many users still either don’t understand it fully or don’t even know it exists. Facebook pretty much gives you a blank slate (that is very public from the start) and you’d need to configure that later on, but most users don’t take the time to set it up and complain that Facebook doesn’t do much to protect their private data…rather they should be more pro-active about their control..because the features are there.

    Google Plus has a chance in that many users use Gmail and have contact lists which have been migrated to Plus, which was a good step in my opinion. Facebook is still my fave, BUT I am definitely going to use Plus as a techie profile to keep in contact with a wide range of people. Facebook still is more a friends/family profile for me.

  • http://twitter.com/monline11 monline

    Nice article also checkout http://monline.in/?p=275 for Facebook Vs GooglePlus Comparison.

  • http://twitter.com/monline11 monline

    Nice article also checkout http://monline.in/?p=275 for Facebook Vs GooglePlus Comparison.

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