Well I’ve been fortunate enough to have had access to the very sought after Google+ beta for around a day now and during this time I’ve been playing about with it to get a good feel for what’s been portrayed as my possible new home.
Google+, which I shall refer to as G+ from now on, is the much anticipated “Facebook killing” social network brought to us by search engine giants, Google. It comes in the wake of two failed recent attempts to bring something new to the internet with Buzz and Wave, which never really took off at all, if I’m honest.
This however had my eyes and ears perking up as soon as I was given the nod to enter Internet Nirvana. I was treated to a clean UI and a clean slate to run amock with. This was soon spoiled by the realization that nobody else I knew had G+ and using the “Hang Out” feature isn’t really as fun when you’re just hanging out by yourself.
So I began to send out invites to my friends, which Google soon put a stop to by capping invites (temporarily, I hope). This gave me the chance to have a proper play with the features on offer.
Circles allow you to categorize your friends into groups based on how you know them. You can name these circles as anything you wish and as far as I’m aware you can have as many friends within a circle as you wish. Even better is you can put a circle within a circle if you have contacts that would be included into multiple categories.
I had a lot of fun with this and as you can see not many people that I know have signed up yet, but they’ll get in once the invites re-open.
The next feature that I had a play with was Sparks
This is your place to add your interests and have the latest news/information about these in your feed ready for you to read. I will say that I found it rather unstructured, as a lot of the information/news appears to be old and picked at random. I’m yet to find any information that I enjoyed reading about in Sparks. So for the moment I’m leaving this bit until I figure out the rest of G+.
Next up was The Hangout
This bit was my favourite although for a while I had nobody to hang out with. Once you do it can be pretty fun, although every time I tried it, my hangout partner kept losing connection.
The hangout feature is basically a place where you can just webcam chat with your friends and display that you’re hanging out to different circles. It has the potential to be something great. A sort of mini web-conference for your friends, business meetings and anything else you can think of using it for. Post suggestions in comments.
This is your main connection with your contacts and is as standard as the “Facebook” feed. The only difference with this at the moment is that the most popular posts are pinned to the top, which is pretty rubbish if I’m honest. It is in the process of being ironed out by the techy folks over at G+, to get it changed into something a lot more user friendly. Get this part sorted and I can guarantee that G+ will be a very hot contender to taking over Facebook. Oh and once there are more users allowed in of course.
Overall I’d say that G+ is a stunningly simple social network of the future and will certainly be more of a hit than Google’s previous attempt to topple Facebook. Whether it will manage to is a different story. One which I will be very interested to see the outcome of.
Feel free to add me on Google plus or leave a comment if you would like an invite sent across once they are live again.