Google has taken its social media strategy to the next level with the launch of Google+ in an attempt to challenge dominant social media network, Facebook.
What is Google+ All About?
Google tells us that the need to connect with others is among the most basic of human needs. Today, human connections increasingly happen online but the quality and substance of real-world interactions can get lost in the rigidness of our online tools making communication awkward. Google+ attempts to fix this by offering a deeper, more subtle approach to online relationships. It is split into four areas, known as circles, sparks, hangouts and mobile:
+Circles enable you to share what matters, with the people who matter most - status and personal info can be shared with select groups of friends, similar to real life where we share certain types of information selectively with chosen circles of friends.
+Sparks: strike up a conversation, about pretty much anything – this is about sharing our healthy obsessions like cars, fashion and sport with others who share our interests. Google says great content can lead to great conversations therefore its online sharing engine, Sparks delivers highly contagious content from across the Internet, on any topic, in over 40 languages, once you’ve added your interests.
+Hangouts: stop by and say hello, face-to-face-to-face – this offers users a real-time video area where you can spend time with your Circles online having a group video chat, combining the casual meet-up with live multi-person video.
+Mobile: share what’s around, right now, without any hassle – Google+ focuses on things like GPS, cameras, and messaging to make your pocket computer even more personal. In life, the places we visit shape conversations therefore Google+ gives you the option of adding your location to every post. Your locations can easily be shared via your phone, your photos can be instantly uploaded to a private cloud album and a new group messaging service dubbed Huddle improves on SMS.
Google+ is live now, but is in testing and will remain invite-only for the foreseeable future.
What’s the Verdict So Far?
Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Google says “online sharing needs a serious re-think, so it's time we got started". Google+ has some useful features but some analysts say Google has simply reproduced features of Facebook while adding a video chat function.
Other sceptics say Google will find it difficult to convert Facebook devotees to their new social network, particularly as their previous efforts, Google Wave and Google Buzz proved unpopular with users....have they got it right this time or is it set to be just another failed attempt? This remains to be seen.
Google is playing it canny by only releasing the product via invite to a limited set of users before being gradually opened up to the general public”, says Maggie Shiels Technology reporter, BBC. This is perhaps a good sign indicating that Google is serious about getting it right this time by testing the water. Google needs to find out what works, what doesn’t and what needs improved upon before Google+ is made available to the masses, to maximise its chances of success. Once testing is complete, Google+ may be in a position give Facebook a run for its money!