Google Plus is the third attempt of folks at Mountain View to be socially relevant & take on the blue juggernaut names Facebook. While they failed with Wave & blundered with Buzz I can safely say – Google+ going to make it this time. Why do I think so? I am not a Social expert but I’ll give my I’ll give my opinion based on my understanding.
Why do I need Twitter AND Facebook?
One of the main reasons I use Facebook is to interact with friends. I like to keep people whom I know personally or have met at certain point. I also like to maintain my photo album & videos on Facebook. Mainly I don’t bring my professional life or politics or religious beliefs on Facebook.
Why do I use twitter? Primarily for “professional” discussions. Mostly I do on Twitter is do Internet Marketing discussions with people I don’t know personally but have come across them through a blog or social medium. Most of these people are from Internet Marketing background, as well as things related to my area of interests. These include discussions on specific areas, providing opinions on technologies, and at times heated religion and political discussions. I bond with lots of people on Twitter. Some of them I like & some I hate. I try to keep my personal relationships out of my twitter account.
Google introduces circles
Google+ is based on the concept of Circles. In your social life have circles of friends where you behave differently. The first task you go on Google Plus is to organize/place your Professional relationships, Followers, Family & acquaintances in different circles. You can block certain people & also create your own specific circles. You can add people to multiple circles. What this means for me is that Google+ gives me the ability to interact with both groups, i.e. those I talk to on twitter & those I communicate with on Facebook.
There are some other benefits of using Circles which I will discuss later.
Facebook has lists but hardly anyone knows about them & there is a method & design to it which has a reason at its core. The reason for lists not being in your face in Facebook is because Facebook wants you to share as much as you can, publicly. They don’t care about your ease of using it and privacy. Remember you are not the consumer for Facebook, your content & details are the product which they sell to advertisers. Giving you privacy options doesn’t help them. If it’s about making a simple user interface, explain to me why they make it so extremely hard to change privacy settings?
If people can post hash tags on Twitter, upload images on twitpic & add people to conversation on Facebook, create multilevel login screen which includes a call on your cellphone; I do believe they can organize their contact lists by creating circles. There’s a difference between creating systems that are easy to use and treating users with an attitude or feeling of patronizing superiority.
In Google+, the circles are there from day one. Circles gives you the option to choose who you want to post the status update to, a person, a circle, multiple circles without making it complex to understand or use.
Google Plus lacks the Charm of Twitter
What Twitter lacks in features it makes up in a certain way it is setup. Twitter mainly works as an ego massaging unit by telling me how many people people listen to me in terms of followers. The concept of having thousands of followers and hundreds of re-tweets attracts seems to attract many. With Facebook, if you want to be loved, you either set up a Fan Page (which very rarely people do), or accept everyone has a friend, which becomes a bit too busy.
Google+ takes tackles this in a little different style which has a mix of both worlds. When someone ads you to their circle, you don’t have add them back. You can also follow people without being acquainted to them, by placing them in the Follower circle. This allows you to drive up your ego, while keeping the noise to the desired level.
Sorry 140 chars is really hard to express myself
If I want to express myself in 140 characters I don’t need a software system to tell me so. Everyone is intelligent enough to restrict self to characters if and when he/she wants to or ave we become so completely and utterly mindless that we actually need that enforced by a software system?
Google+ wont workd as it is filled with Scoble & Geeks
The status-quo of Google+ being closed currently to those with an invite is temporary. It is true many of current social networks were initially limited to nerds and geeks & the online crazy joiners who jump on every new product no matter how sketchy. And, of course, they’re led by their ersatz leader, the ubiquitous Scoble, the blogger, Scoble. This will change as more people pour in and invites are shared. It actually even works to Google’s favor, just like it has with many other services. Everyone wants to be part of an “exclusive” club. Gmail itself for quite sometime was a closed group. As G+ grows, it will open up.
Will G+ beat Facebook by crossing the userbase on 7000 Million? Probably not. But I think it will grow faster than many expect it to.
Google Plus is of little interest to App Developers
Google+ has received criticism for lack of API for APP developers. While Facebook loves developers & Twitter is known to screw them bad, Google+ has not revealed its API story. This might change as it is still early days & the platform might see many changes. Google is loved by its developers for their openness & clear policies which don’t change overnight.
Some more of Google Plus Benefits
Its next to impossible to track conversations on Twitter. With Google Plus, tracking & participating in conversation is a charm. I can read an entire thread & read content by my friends as well as discover new contacts. Twitter has made some improvements in this area but its not there as yet.
Another step Google has taken is to integrate Google+ with its other services. Google has Billion plus users using its service at one point of day or another. You can navigate from one Google Service to another. If you use Gmail, Google as a search engine, maps, reader or Picassa you instantly get a notification icon in the top bar indicating status updates.
These notifications can further be fine tuned by simple options in settings tab.
The user retains the copyrights over photos and videos you post
I hate Facebook & some image hosting services as they don’t let me retain the copyrights over my personal information. facebook privacy page is simple, it is set to let Facebook to use things posted by us as it pleases.
What it means Facebook can take your favorite beach photo and use it in their tv promotion, ad campaign, printed reference material, any given day even after you have deleted it or made it private. Remember Facebook was setup in a way people can find out which girl in their circle is sleeping with which dude.
Compare this to Google+ makes it easier to share and manage contents and yet retain full rights over your content.
Simple and to the point.
Here is again where circles are effective. How often have you heard a story that someone posted a tweet or an update on facebook about going on vacation or going to a dinner for the night, only to come home to find their house being burgled. Circle helps you by giving you the ability to share the information with whom you trust and not the world.
Not much to add on this cool feature of multiple video chats which is one of the show-stopper of Google+ and beats the so called recent awesome launch of Facebook Video chat feature.
You can’t Ignore Google Search
It’s Google. The undisputed leader of search. If you want to promote your content or you run a small business, you can never parley/ignore the importance of search. Google recently ended its partnership with Twitter to show real time search results from the latter. No doubt what was the reason for this move. It’s Google+. Google controls the searches. It will be able to provide real-time info if the case arises. In addition it can also provide other G+ features like + & not to mention “sponsored” updates from Google+ (which might come in one form of another at a later date).
As mentioned previously, most of the criticism of G+ talk about how complicated it is for average Joe. In-fact G+ is as complicated as one wants to make it, which is sometimes influenced by conflicting interests. By so-far the only so called complicated feature of Google Plus right now is the “CIRCLES”. What I would say is when it comes to settings, both concerning the privacy as well as general ones, G+ is far simpler and less obscure than Facebook.