It seems hard to believe there is any possibility of someone trying to compete with Facebook. Google, however, has decided to give it a go.
If you haven’t heard of Google Plus (or Google+) it is basically the company’s attempt at creating a newer, better Facebook. I wasn’t too interested in another Facebook, but got curious and decided to check it out. As you can see, the basic page looks a lot like the familiar Facebook page.
The biggest difference comes into play when you start adding friends. GooglePlus has a system called Circles where you create subgroups of all your contacts. This was always a tricky part with Facebook. You had 100 friends, but only 6 or 7 were actually friends. The rest were co-workers, acquaintances, old high school chums, long-lost family members – and even just strangers that you didn’t want to hurt their feelings. With G+ you create groups (called Circles) like Friends, Family, whatever you want. When you add a new person to your network, you decide which groups they belong to and you add them to those Circles.
Now when you post pictures from the party you attended last weekend, you can decide who sees the pictures and who doesn’t. It brings a little bit of organization to all the chaos – but it also requires a little more work to do all the sorting. It also connects with other Google features, so if you use things like Google calendar there is supposed to be some advantage. Honestly, not sure what it is…. but I’m told there is an advantage.
The big downside is that there aren’t as many people on G+ right now. Everyone has a Facebook account, so it is easy to track down all your best buddies. At this point, G+ is still invitation only. It doesn’t take much digging to get an invite. Just check with all your Twitter pals and one will probably materialize.
The biggest benefit I see is that it will probably force Facebook to get better. They’ve been without a real competitor ever since they knocked MySpace off the mountain, so there hasn’t been a lot of incentive for them to really make improvements. With Google knocking at the door, they will have to start trying a little harder.
So have you tried GooglePlus? How has your experience been so far? Let me know what you think!