I’ve been testing out, using, and utilizing Google+ now for 5 days. I’m proud to say that I was in on Google+ on Day 1, because it’s like being in the ground floor of a building that’s being built around you. There’s tons of activity, lots of potential, and builders who are actively listening to the ideas and concerns that their new tenants have. Let me introduce you to the basics first, then I’ll share my overall thoughts.
What is Google+
Google+ is Google’s answer to Facebook/Twitter, in a nutshell. In it, you can divide people into “circles”, share content with them as you see fit, upload photos and video, and communicate with them however you se fit. Those +1 buttons popping up over the web are being put to good use now, serving as the “like” button that Facebook users are so used to.
The community is still small and intimate at the moment, and there’s lots of great discussions going around. I’m privileged to see social media superstars like Chris Brogan and Scott Monty dropping by my updates to leave their insight or comments. Ashton Kutcher is there getting his groove on as always, and even Newt Gingrich is poking around to see what this is all about. Still, I’ve seen more discussion (legitimate discussion) happening over the last week on topics than I ever did on Twitter or Facebook.
You share information by categorizing people into “circles” – you can name them whatever you like, and those become the holes in which you fill your content. You can take the fire-hose of content if you wish, but you can also only consume “friends” or “chess club members” to really dive down to who’s saying what. It also controls who gets to see the content you produce. If I put Holly into the “family” circle, and only share the update with her, she’s the only one that sees it. What happens when Luke and Kieran are old enough to join? We get our own family communication board that no one sees but them. Pretty cool
Anyone who has used Picasa knows what it’s all about. It’s photo storage. If you use Google+, you get any photo under 2048×2048 resolution stored free – which isn’t too shabby considering most monitors display up to less than 2000px at the moment.
You can start a video chat with up to 10 people – that’s 4 more than Skype – and open it up to let anyone who wants to jump in and chat. I see a lot of potential here.
The Bottom Line
Google+ has hit the ground with Hussain Bolt speed. There’s a lot of stuff going on that has quite a bit of potential, and they’re already doing a LOT of stuff right. Look for this to get even better as it expands.
By the way… if you’re on, find me whydoncha? 🙂