Now, if you’re still sat thinking, ‘What the hell is this Google+ thing?’, well here it is in brief. Google+ is basically Google’s FaceBook you could say, to which your follow up question could be, ‘Great, but why would I want to use yet another social network site?’, well thats your choice to do, we’re not asking you to leave FaceBook, but when you see the comparisons between FaceBook and Google+ I’ll be surprised if its not on your mind to do so.
FaceBook is teaming with bugs, from even the basic task of adding a status to your News Feed, whilst on Google+ (even in Beta testing stages) has had no major hiccups. In this post I intend to answer the most common answered questions about Google+ and give you a more better insight on why you may want to consider making it your new main social network site.
Google+ might sound great, but I can’t get an invite?
Well, it doesn’t look like you’ve long to wait, early August, maybe even as early as the 1st is when Google+ goes public (thats days away) and out of beta testing stages allowing anyone to sign up with or without an invite from an existing member.
I play games on FaceBook, will they be on Google+?
As of yet, no. But Google have announced that they will be bringing their entire Chrome collection of games to Google+ with the first title being none more so than Angry Birds which you will be able to play in a HTML5 capable web browser (Firefox 4+, Safari 4+, Chrome 9+, Internet Explorer 9). This will likely be available upon launch. If you are looking for playing popular FaceBook games like Farmville we’ve no luck for you their until Zynga decide to develop for Google+, which if it gets popular they will.
I’ve heard of these Circles in Google+, how is this different to simple adding a friend?
On FaceBook, and traditionally all social networks you simply view a friend profile, send a friend request, they accept and then, thats it, they are your friends. But Google+ does things a bit differently, instead of adding someone as your friend, you add them to your Circle. By default you get 4 Circles “Friends”, “Family”, “Acquaintances” and “Following”, you can add your own if you wish.
What this means is, when you add any content to Google+, you have the option to post it “Public”, which includes all your Circles and people who haven’t yet added you. “Extended Circles”, which makes it available to all your Circles plus viewed in “Incoming” on anyone who is yet to add you to their Circles who you’ve already added, and then “Your Circles”, this just adds the status to all your Circles, this is more or less the same as any FaceBook status would be viewed.
But what if you wanted to add some content you didn’t want some people to see, well you have the option to only show that content to certain circles, for example, if you are arranging a night out, you could limit that to only your “Friends” circle rather than letting your Family or work friends know about it etc.
To me, this is the ultimate in privacy done easy. This can be done through FaceBook (believe it or not), but the simplicity of doing it on Google+ and not having to be a FaceBook exec to work out how to use it makes this feature a complete winning feature on Google’s side. And before you get worried, no one can see which Circle they are in, that secret will always be safe … unless you tell them in which you’re a dumb bat lol.
I love ‘Like’ on FaceBook, so how does it work on Google+
On Google+ you have whats called a “Plus One” button, in fact you may have noticed it in Google results on the web, and yes thats the same button. Works in pretty much the same way, someone adds a status, you can +1 it, same with all content. But, like FaceBook there is no dislike equivalent, oh darn.
Chat, how does that work on Google+, nothing can be as bad as the new FaceBook Chat?
Google+ has a much better Chat than FaceBook does, in fact they have 3 of them. A web based Chat like FaceBook, but much better and cleaner, you see whos available click them and chat, simple. A feature called Hangout, which allows you to Video Chat each other, and many people at the same time. And if you download the iPhone or Android app (Windows Phone 7 coming next week) you can chat using a feature called ‘Huddle’ … yeah not the best name, but it works, actually very well. Like Hangouts, you can Huddle with multiple people at once, its really pretty awesome. But yeah, Google+ is definitely winning on Chat features if there was any doubt.
Adding statuses on FaceBook seems pretty alright, how is this different on Google+?
Google have gone very far to make adding statuses better, not only have you the option to only add the status to a select number of people thanks to Circles, but you’ve so much more really handy options.
- Edit this Post: How many times have you added a status with an annoying typo, this can sometimes be quite embarrassing right, well now you can edit your already posted status to fix this, phew!
- Delete this Post: This is also on FaceBook, but it actually works on Google+
- Link to this Post: If you ever want to link to a specific status, now you can!
- Disable comments: This is a great feature. If you want to post something and get no comments on it, you can now post content and block any comments on it.
- Disable reshare: On Google+, when someone posts a status you can ‘reshare’ it, kind of like ‘RT (Retweeting)’ on Twitter, this is great as it allows you to share a status to your Circles from someone in yours, which is pretty awesome. But, if you don’t want that to happen, you can disable resharing.
Some really great options their, and thats just posting content, how awesomes that!
I love Becoming a Fan of something (or Liking) a company etc on FaceBook?
Well, for this, Google+ has a feature called Sparks. This allows you to search for a topic you like, then add it to your list of Sparks. This is probably the only feature where FaceBook wins over Google+, but hey, this is something that could easily be fixed, and hey, noughts perfect is it! Google have announced that business profiles will be coming soon, so companys will be coming to Google+ so TV show updates etc could be made available to be added to your Circles and then viewed on your Stream.
What about Photos and Videos?
As you would expect, Google+ embeds YouTube videos greatly … funny that as Google own YouTube, but you can also upload Photos and Videos, and easy to do it is too. You can like FaceBook add photos within a status, which unlike FaceBook you get an actual upload bar rather than a loading symbol, same for videos. The great thing about adding Photos and Videos to Google+ is the way they are viewed, they are viewed in full screen within the browser window, content to the left (unless videos are full screened) and comments to the right. Like FaceBook you can tag people in photos or videos, but unlike FaceBook you have some basic editing you can do within the browser, yes its basic editing, but hey, its editing.
Well, what more do you want to know, let me know via my Google+
page, my Twitter
page, or beyond, and I’ll add more to this blog.
Long story short, I can’t think why everyone shouldn’t move over to Google+ when it launches publicly, or now if you’ve an invite. Its like FaceBook, but better and works! What more do you want! And, its only gonna get better.