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Circling Back to Google+

October 7, 2011

Depending on the blogs you read, Twitter accounts you follow or Google+ Circles you find yourself in, it is reported that there are currently somewhere around 50 million confirmed Google+ accounts. Not too shabby for the four month old fledgling of the social media world. Expect this number to continue to skyrocket since Google+ (G+) has moved from field trial mode to open beta as of last month. Haven’t had a chance to get your hands dirty with G+ quite yet? Well, let’s kick the tires on this bad boy, check under the hood and take it out for (another) spin.

The Show Room Floor

Upon first jumping into G+, I find myself running through a social media checklist almost subconsciously. This is kind of my techno-geek way of adjusting the seat, rear-view mirror and setting the radio to the nearest classic rock station. Status updates? Check. News feeds? Check. Photo uploads and sharing? Check. List of ever-growing adoring fans… errr, I mean friends? Check. Messaging? Mobile version? Events? Check, check and check. So why am I here? My current social media solution does all of this already. Why trade it in for G+ or take on another social media platform? Is there even room in my social garage?

The answers to these questions are as plentiful and varied as to why you might find yourself in the market for a new car. More features, easier on the (social) budget or maybe just because it’s so darn sexy. What’s very important to understand is that G+ doesn’t just want to be another social media platform; it wants to replace many of the technical solutions you may already have in place – both personally and professionally. Let’s hit the open road and find out more.

The Test Drive

Circles, if you haven’t heard yet, are G+’s way of segmenting your audience. This is a good thing. While Facebook doesn’t allow you to pick and choose which of your friends see which of your posts or content, G+ understood right out of the gate that not all “friends” are, or should be, created equal. Circles are simply groups. Friends, work associates, family members, you name it (literally) can all be placed in the circles of your choosing. All with your choice of varying access to the posts, images and videos you share.

Current technology in the G+ Circles crosshairs: any solution maintaining your current contact groups.

Instant Upload
Just like the name implies…Instant Upload takes the headache out of getting the photos from your computer or mobile device directly into G+. And, thanks to Circles, you get to choose who sees what.

Current technology in the G+ Instant Upload crosshairs: Facebook, Twitter and any other platform where you might normally share media.

Sparks is a search engine within G+ allowing you to add your search results as interests for a more tailored browsing experience. Think of Sparks as a more search topic specific “Add to favorites” function.

Current technology in the G+ Sparks crosshairs: your current “non-Google” search engine or any search outside of G+.

Whoa now G+! If you keep this up you’re going to start making my other social platforms look like a 1971 Ford Pinto. Huddle is group texting plain and simple. This is a huge perk, especially for business. Do you have last minute project changes? Well now you can start a group chat to get your team up to speed and on track.

Current technology in the G+ Huddle crosshairs: email, texting and all other third-party chat offerings.

Hangouts allow you to quickly and easily setup video chats with entire circles. This can happen over any broadband or Wi-Fi connection. Not only that, but you can share your screen, draw together, create and edit documents collaboratively and hold topic-based hangouts. Suddenly G+ isn’t just looking like a sleek hotrod, but also the sensible minivan able to provide many day-to-day business functions.

Current technology in the G+ Huddle crosshairs: GoToMeeting, Skype or Microsoft LiveMeeting; now is a good time to start getting nervous.

While I’m not ready to trade in my current social platform just yet, all of these features have me clearing out that space in my social garage to make room for G+, especially when it comes to using it as a driver for business. What are your thoughts on Google+? Have you or your firm had a chance to implement Google+ or any of its services? Let us hear from you –

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