Google launched its most awaited and highly anticipated social networking site and has 750 millions users all across the globe in its development phase. This is not first time for Google plus to have a Social Networking site, before the boom of Facebook was Orkut which in early stage did work well but then because of its limitations and lack of variations it could not stand in comparison to Facebook. But, it’s too early to conclude between Facebook and Google+.
In order to use Google +, you need to have a Google account, though it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have a Google Mail account. Once you set-up your Google account, you can use your address book to invite people to your network and use that as a starting point.
Google has come up with the concept of circles — you can create a circle of contacts that are family, friends, work friends, former co-workers and so on. With these groups or circles you can define who gets to see what kind of updates. Facebook currently doesn’t offer the ability to control who sees what goes in our life that we share online.
This just might be the killer feature of Google + effort. It is essentially group video chat done right. You click on the Hangout button and invite members of a certain group by sending them a notification. If there is no one around, all I could do is hang about without much drain on the system waiting for someone to show up. So theoretically I could invite all members of team GigaOM circle and have a quick video chat. In the demo at least, Hangout felt intuitive and easy to use (Google uses its own video codec and not Adobe Flash for this feature).
This is a mobile group-chat service that is very much like Beluga, the fast-growing service that was snapped up by Facebook weeks after it was launched and is now said to be part of a major new communications push by Facebook. I think this is a great little feature and frankly, if Google was smart they should be rolling this out to all Google Apps for the Enterprise customers.
It has also come up with a new approach to mobile photos & videos. Google calls it Instant Uploads. Take a photo and it uploads to your Picasa or YouTube account and then you can share those videos via Google+ to specific “circles.”
It is a new feature that allows you to create topics of interest and use them as source of information and then share it with various different groups. For instance, I could share results of Top Gear with my “petrol head” friends. These “interest” or “topic” packs offer a lot of content and not surprisingly YouTube videos. Circles, Hangout and Huddle are about personal sharing and personal communications. Sparks on the other hand is devoid of that connection and stands out as a sore thumb.
Except few of the features like Circles, privacy settings and editing a wall post, I didn’t find anything else much different from Facebook. Facebook is a fully developed social network and Google Plus has just emerged so talking about their comparison is pretty irrational.
Facebook Features which still keeps it ahead of Google+
Yes, Google is commonly referred to as the search-engine giant but so far, only other users are searchable within Google Plus, but on Facebook, all public content is searchable.
So, let’s say we want to find reactions to a breaking news story. You can do that on Facebook, while right now, it’s not possible on Google Plus. That’s pretty ironic.
Application Programming Interface
Right now, Google Plus does not play well with other applications. For example, foursquare users can have their check-ins automatically appear on Facebook, but there is no way to accomplish this on Google Plus. Google is obviously working on releasing an API, but it’s not there yet.
Moving past the when Google did not outline its brand page policy for Google Plus, causing companies and organizations to create pages that were subsequently deleted — from a user standpoint, some of the information shared by brands on their Facebook pages is actually of interest and useful. It’s not all, “Please buy our product.” Google must clarify its policies on brand pages sooner, rather than later.
While users probably don’t miss ads on Google Plus at all — especially the targeted ads that appear in the Facebook sidebar, which often focus on one word a user types in a status report, and then deliver ads for products they have zero interest in — revenue is revenue, and Google is missing out on some serious revenue, with Google Plus approaching 20 million users.
Not running ads during the trial period is understandable, and seeing them appear when Google Plus “officially debuts” would not be a surprise. But if they don’t appear when the site moves out of beta, well, that would be interesting.
Although photo tagging has been known to raise security questions on facebook , it is also the most efficient way to let friends and contacts know when they appear in users’ photos. Overall, the interface to download and organize photos in Google Plus is well organized and easy to use, but the lack of tagging so far.
It is pretty much that Google is working on a gaming platform, and that it will attempt to lure game developers that are unhappy with Facebook’s terms, but it’s not here yet, leaving fans of Farmville, Scrabble, and the like dependent on Facebook, for the time being.
Google Plus now has a Gaming platform. Click here if you have a Google Plus account.
Events and Birthdays
As of now, Google Plus does not offer the ability to organize events, while the feature is widely used on Facebook, . Events are social, and should be part of a social network. In addition, the percentage of Facebook users who have avoided awkward conversations due to Facebook’s birthday reminders on its homepage must be staggering. Yet not only does Google Plus have no matching feature — birthdays aren’t even part of users’ Google Plus profiles. While this is certainly a minor issue and no reason to quit Google Plus, it’s also an oversight that should be attended to.