Why Google+ is the Social Network to Use for Connecting

For a couple of weeks now Google+ is the talk of geeks and nerds on message boards, the mass reception was unexpected, as the Google+ team had to disable invites for a couple of days due to insane demand. In its second week, Google+ already has 10 million beta testers, and is still growing as I write this. Google+ is now in its third week.

The problem with social networks like Facebook and Twitter today is that the front page is always filled with buzz from people you barely even know. You can configure it to show only your close friends, but the process is somehow not appealing. How do you solve this jam-packed social network and transform it into a personal one?

This article is about using Google+ as an avenue for online personal connection. As mentioned earlier, having, in average, 300 friends on Facebook is a little taxing because of the incessant noise from people. I can’t help but compare Google+ to Facebook because they’re both social networking sites, but having different goals in mind: one is supposedly to address personal matters, but only Google+ is, among the two, living up to keeping things personal.

Circles

The idea is like Facebook’s Lists and Twitter’s Follow. You can follow people from all over the planet, people can also follow you back. “What if I only wish to connect with my close friends?” you ask. That’s the reason why Circles is a crafty feature. See image below:

Circles

If you aren’t using Google+ yet, the Circles are shown on the left side bar. You can choose which post stream you’d want to see by clicking Family, Friends, or others. They are treated as separate pages, when you select your Family circle and post there, only the people in that Circle can see. No hassles.

To give you an idea, I’m using Google+ like Twitter and Facebook combined. I add people I don’t know to “TROTW” (the rest of the world) just to see what they’re posting, in case it’d spark my interests. Then there’s a Circle for my Family where I post super private things that can only be known within the family. I also have a Friends Circle, those I personally know and friends over the internet that I’m comfortable sharing with. You get the idea. Sharing within a circle of friends is easy.

You can still mingle with the world, but when you want to quiet down and talk with friends, Google+ is a new way to do it.

Hangout

Hangout

The Hangout feature might be Google+’s ace. People love it because it’s fast and it can connect ten people in a group video chat. This is something you can’t do on Facebook and other social networking sites. Although Facebook has added their own video chat with the help of Skype, which is a very good integration (in my opinion), still it is not on par with Google+’s Hangout if your goal is to talk with friends and other people.

Control over people you can Hangout with is easy, just like with posting on specific Circles. The fun part here is while you are Hanging Out with your buddies, others who are online can unexpectedly join, making the party more fun.

Planning a meeting with friends is not an easy task because of distance and time restrictions, even if you just want to talk and laugh together. Hangout breaks that barrier and creates a virtual space for that purpose.

So, if you and your friends are miles away from each other, you can all Hangout and talk about things like you’ve done before.

Sparks

Sparks

You have your interests but you don’t know where to look on the internet? Easy, use Google+’s Sparks. Add your interests and wait for the things you are interested in come right in front of you. You can also share interests to your friends that may Spark meaningful discussions.

Others

Aside from the personal stuff, with the dawn of Google+ there are some useful things that have been introduced.

All-in-one Bar

I really don’t know what it’s called, but for Google users I’m sure you’ve noticed that black bar at the top. That’s what we’ve been looking for, an all-in-one bar where you only need to click once to go to your inbox, calendars, documents, news, and others.

Notification

Among the options available, it is also integrated with Google+. When someone adds you in their circle or mentions you in a post, you instantly get notified. Not just that, you can also use as a mini-interface for Google+ where you can comment, add people in your circles, and +1 posts without going directly to the website.

+1

There are several good things about +1. When your friends start using +1 on their search results, it adds credibility to your search and you’ll know you’ve found what you’re looking for. It also act like Facebook’s Like, but the links you +1 don’t show on the main stream, which is a good decision or every stream will be filled with +1’d links.

I know that sooner or later people will start shouting “we need a -1 button!” Please, don’t. If you don’t like it, ignore it.

Which leads us to +’ing people, like mentioning on Twitter. You can + anyone, making your existence known. Can be useful when you’re promoting an idea to someone.

So…

Google+ team  works closely together with their users, taking into great consideration each feedback they receive. For an in-depth geek talk, you can go here and read Google+ technical lead’s answer to people’s questions.

 

Currently, Google+ is invite only. I have some free invites left, so if you will comment be sure to include your e-mail on the e-mail field (not on the comments!) so that I can send you an invite.

Rean John Uehara

Rean concurrently served as the Head of Operations and Editor-in-Chief of 1stwebdesigner from 2011 up until Aug 2014. He regularly writes about freelancing, technology, web design, and web development with a little touch of internet marketing here and there.

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Comments

  1. Stan says

    Yesterday finally opened up for the large public. It took a long time but now I can use it as well :)

  2. Travis Allen says

    Google Plus looks awesome! I really enjoyed reading your article! You wouldn’t happen to have an extra invite would you?

  3. janice says

    thanks for the write up, i could do with getting to know Google+ a little better…are there any invites left?

    Cheers

  4. Lijuan says

    Hangout feature is so cool, almost like Skype group video. But google+ seems to have great ambition. Would love to try it if you’ve still got an invite to spare. Anyways great articles here, very useful! Keep up the good work!

  5. says

    A great write up…. Loved it. Thank you for posting :)

    Google+ surely rocks!!! I love the Hangout and circles option in it. Also you may find some of the famous people hanging out with the common men. Few days back i Hung out with some of the Techie and well known people which included Mr.DELL too :) I also love the .gif images shared on G+.

  6. Timothy says

    Just got an invite!! Thanks a tonne! Can’t wait to get into it.
    Thanks again. Keep up the awesome blog.
    Tim – Australia

  7. Timothy says

    Google….. you guys are unreal! I remember the day when I was reluctant to sign up for a gmail account or convert from Firefox to Chrome but they’ve got me to a point of possibly throwing away the iPhone and diving into the Android pool. Great article, you’ve only got me more excited!!! Any invites left?….. ;)

  8. Joshua says

    Very nice article. I am not sure how many invites you have left, as they are in high demand, but I know I am a Developer who would love to take a spin at Google Plus.

  9. Erik Thorsen says

    This looks far more intuitive than Facebook, which I find annoying for the reasons you noted, working exclusively on Mac I am critical of poorly designed interfaces, if you still have any invites remaining I would really appreciate one. Is reception and transmission on ‘Hangout’ better and more consistent than Skype? Here in Dubai they scramble the signal after a while and the only workaround is to subscribe to a VPN making it appear that you are based in the UK.
    Many thanks.

    • says

      For sure, it’s easier to filter which people you want to share with. The Hangout feature works smoothly, at least for me, without lag. Invite sent! Enjoy.

  10. Vincent says

    Hey, great post man! Google + looks awesome.

    I can totally imagine web design client meetings on Google+ oneday. You could maybe even get an old client to join a chat with a new one to convince them to use you.

    Have you got any invites left perhaps? I’d love to try it out :)

    • says

      Yeah, totally can be used for conducting businesses someday. I’m sure they’re already brewing something for that. Also, I just sent you the invitation. Enjoy!

      • Vincent says

        Hey, I just got the invite, thanks man! I’ll be sure to add you to my friends list.

        We might even have Google selling coffee someday at the rate they’re going right now

  11. Charles says

    Good write up! Love keeping up with the new technology if you have any invites would appreciate it

  12. Gavin says

    This is a good post. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Google Plus. I’m just waiting for a desktop app for it and i’ll be well happy.

  13. Ashley says

    Hey thanks for the Google+ summary, I’ve been wondering about this. I have just started my own blog/graphics/wedding business and would love an invite!
    Thanks!

  14. James says

    Nice summary! I was having trouble wrapping my head around Google+. Would love an invite if you still have any left.

  15. says

    Hi,

    Sounds really interesting. I’d love to check it out myself and see how it compares to Twitter and Facebook. Any more invites?

    Thanks!!!!

  16. says

    Great article :D Google+ does look interesting, honestly I find Facebook/twitter to be too impersonal for the most part and lacking in a lot of areas. If you have any more invites I’d love to check it out!

    Just hope it’s better than “Google Wave” as that was a washout ^^

    • says

      I used Google Wave during it’s initial phase too, and I believe this one’s different. Just now I read that Google+ is joining with Fridge, an existing “personal” networking site, so we can expect more from Google+! Just sent you the invite, enjoy exploring!

  17. Paige says

    Thanks for the info. I look forward to it becoming available. Do you have any invites left?

  18. Alex says

    from the people I know that are using it they says it all marketing people they know. do anyone know “regular” people that are using it? If there are invites left hit me up please.

    • says

      Done! There are a lot of frequenters there, especially the people behind Google+. They usually Hangout with people too. Mark Zuckerberg has an account there too.

  19. Alex says

    Google + does seem to put a new twist on things. I really wonder how people are going to start using it for business purposes. I bet the Hangouts feature will come in handy also for that. Can you please send me an invite if you have any left? Thanks

  20. Disati says

    Good article, gave us a lot of information.

    So do you have some free invites left? I’d sure like to join ;)

  21. Banana says

    You don’t need any -1 .. you just click it again and your +1 disappears..

  22. Andrea says

    Great review, i’d like to join and try Google+ so if you have some free invites, I’d be very happy to receive it
    Thanks!
    AO

  23. Ric says

    it’ll be great to get an invite and try it, as I did with Wave, I do wish them better luck this time :)

  24. Kunkhanda says

    A very good write up. Really did help us who had little or no information on the new Google Product.