Ah Google+. Where to start? Well my mind is a little blank at the moment as all the things I wanted to say about it end in “…like Facebook” but I cant keep putting that in this review so I shall try and stay away from the F word….
A Google+ invite landed in my inbox and I thought I would give it ago and at worse I can say “I was on it before it was popular” and boy was I on it before it was popular upon signing in I started off with one other person on it the person that added me and ended up a few days later with one other person on it.
I checked my notifications as soon as I logged in which has, thanks to Facebook become a bit of a habit, not much to look at in this early stage though.
The flow eventually picked up and I had enough “friends” to start putting in “circles” If ive lost anyone here all will become apparent soon.
These circles allow you to segregate your friends… yes segregate you can even create a circle called ignore and… well ignore people, the main uses if circles are to dictate the level of information you want to give a person in a particular circle and for when you want to share status updates or posts with a particular circle such as “The boss doesn’t know I pee in his coffee every morning” you can share with just your friends and leave out people in the circle called “career suicide”
So it gives you more control than Facebook’s privacy setting to include or exclude people one at a time you can include of exclude an entire circle, I realise I mentioned Facebook here but sadly that’s all I can compare it against. If I was to compare it against MySpace we would be here all week on the what’s better in Google+
after playing with circles for a bit I decided to set up a profile so I could grow in popularity on new social network, I decided the easiest way to do this was to not include a picture.
After realising my status update of “On Google+!” (Original I know) was going out to all of my one homie…
I decided to get myself acquainted with a few more people I did this my firing up Google+ on my Ipad and selecting “Near Me” which gave me an entire feed of what people in my area were uploading and saying, so maybe its a good idea to take down the “If the neighbours cat doesn’t shut up soon I’m gonna set it alight and throw it into a ceiling fan” post. To be honest its really quite a scary feature I’m quite happy not knowing what people in my area are up to or what their cats look like. I don’t want people coming up to me going “I know you from Google+” and punching me in the face stating “that was for Mr. Whiskers”
Anyway enough of the cat related fun and onward to the like button, no sorry the +1 button. People can +1 your posts or status updates exactly as the like button functions on Facebook but unlike said button it is present against all Google searches and you can +1 searches so your friends can see what porn your into, obviously Im kidding about the porn…
From Google sites + is easy to access using the standard Google bar which once signed in has your name in the top left click this to be taken to Google+
Some other features of Google+ I tried out were hangouts and chat, chat was the same as Facebook…. but with less people. Hangout however looked intriguing until I saw what it actually did
Basically you start this up and it tells people via your feed that you are available to “Hangout” this then fires up your webcam and mic and proceeds to just sit there quietly minding its own business until you totally forget about it. fast-forward an hour or two and BAM! anyone can join that is on your friends list and by join I mean it just shows then your webcam. I have a feeling Im gonna see more of my friends than I really want to. Even the wording on the button above sounds somewhat seedy! After a quick download I was quickly hanging out… with myself…
and yes that is a “how the hell can can anything good ever come of the feature??” look on my face. Thankfully it is privacy permitting and only certain circles of people can see that your ready to hangout.
You can take Google+ with you with Android apps and HTML5 optimised pages for Ipad and IPhone
and below are some screens from the Ipad site
Uploading could not be easier either from the mobile or PC versions you can simply drag and drop to upload which is more in keeping with the slickness of what Google has managed to create.
Its all very clean lines and no clutter. It kind of ironically reminds me of an Apple store. There is more of a sense of humour about Google+ than Facebook bits added in like “check your hair” written above your camera in hangouts, more of a “Google will hang around and be your friend” vibe than Facebook. All in all Google+ seems a cleaner way to conduct your online ‘social’ life until someone bring out Farm+ and we get inundated with requests for neighbours at least. It appears they have took the good parts of Facebook and just carbon copied them the bad parts they left out, I could see nothing stand out of special to get the Facebook crowd moving across. Do people need another online persona? will they be bothered to retype all that info? will it go the same way as Google Wave? stay tuned into Google+ and find out.
and of course you have the privacy settings, they feel pretty solid but I’m sure the day will come when we all read the headline “Google+ ate my hamster and gave my personal information to aliens from Neptune” least its better than the one that will read “Status update about a cat gets out of hand”