A brief intro to Google+ for my hesitant friends. You know who you are!

A few days ago I lucked out! I got a Google+ invite. Woot! My poor friends and family have all got invites (at least a bunch of you have so far. hehe).

Most of them will try it out a year from now, if Twitter and Facebook are any indication. So to move them along, I thought I would take a few screenshots of Google+ for them and write my initial thoughts about it…

There are 4 main screens that I thought I would talk about today.

  • Home – This is the place you look at your Stream. Think Facebook News Feed. Here you can do updates with new videos, pictures, web links, or status updates just like Facebook. You can look at all your streams together, or break them down into each circle you make. You also access your Sparks(web articles you wish to follow), you can start up chats with friends or circles of friends, or start up a video chat that Google calls ‘A Hangout’. One thing missing from the Home page is Ads! Yes!
  • Photos – Here is where you can go to see any photos people have added in the circles you are part of. As well, you can tag people and add additional photos (which are added to your Picasa albums). One note on photos, Facebook claims the rights to do whatever they wish with your photos, whereas Picasa explicitly states that the images you upload are yours and they will not use them at all. Nice touch Google.
  • Profile – Just as it sounds, this is your Google+ profile. This shows all your posts, and who you have shared them with. The best part so far for me about Google+ is that unlike Facebook, I can share things with everyone (public), or make it limited to certain circles of people. If I want to share photos from a party for instance, I may not want them shared with a work circle, or even family (sorry mom). In Facebook you share with everyone unless you spend the time tweaking your privacy settings.
  • Circles – This is the place where you manage the people in your circles. It is so extremely easy to add and remove people, and you can create any amount of circles and delete them just as easily. One of my favourite circles is the “Following” circle. This will be my replacement for all the people I follow on Twitter. Once Google+ gets opened up to everyone, I can add anyone that posts publicly to this circle without worrying about having to friend them. They show up in my main stream with all my friends and family posts. I can then comment on posts, follow the conversation, and also share with whatever circle I want. The flexibility is awesome!

There is more to Google+ that I have yet to play with, but essentially it is a great replacement for Facebook. It allows you to control what you wish to share and with whom. It integrates well with Gmail, Picasa, and Google’s powerful search engine to provide a great social media experience that you control!

Hopefully my brief review has convinced the 60+ friends and family I’ve invited so far to give it a try!

I really hope that this is the Facebook killer… I suppose that I’ll look back years from now to see how successful it really was.


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