google plus, google, social network, social, social media, social networking, ben heyman

Google is great.  Google has changed our lives so much and I know I cannot go a day without using a Google product.  But Google never got social quite right.  Does anyone else remember Google Wave and Google Buzz?  Don’t feel too bad; they had no value.

But Google took a stab at social again with Google+.  I have to admit I signed up immediately and did not touch the platform.  Some have written it off completely.  Others, like Chris Brogan, are huge advocates for the platform.  So… I am trying to remain active.

[ideabox]”I’d say if the #1 search engine launches a tool that facilitates social interactions, pay attention.” – Chris Brogan[/ideabox]

The thing is Google+ isn’t necessarily about the social features.  Instead, since it is deeply integrated in all of the free Google tools you use everyday, it is about making your search and web experience more customized for you.  Ever notice that when you do a Google search it is different than someone else’s?  Mhm.

So what are the best features?

  1. Circles:  The most important thing is the concept or organizing your friends.  You probably don’t necessarily want to share the same things with your work friends and your personal friends.  On Facebook that is pretty hard to do.  On Google+ it’s easy and intuitive. 
  2. Privacy: Google+ does not hide privacy settings like other platforms do.  Especially with the concept of Circles, you know who is going to be able to see the status updates that you’re sharing.
  3. Free of Advertising: Are you annoyed at the “targeted” ads Facebook has?  I know I am.  They rarely even relate to me. (Thank goodness for AdBlocker).  Google+ does not have ads right now but as Google looks to make money from the platform, do not be surprised if we see them in some fashion down the line.
  4. Hangouts: Google+ offers the ability to “hangout” (aka vide chat) with ten people. Free video conferencing?  Have a family chat, host a business meeting, meet new folks. The power is endless.  And… FREE!
  5. Connected with Google Brand: Google+ is directly integrated with all of the other Google services (Gmail, YouTube, Drive, Calendar).  The power of search unlocks so much potential for the platform.  Want Google to pick up on what you are sharing on Google+?  You do not have to do anything extra for this to happen.  Amazing.
  6. Communities: Whether they are your family, friends or complete strangers, you can join communities and share and digest tons of information.  They are very niche communities which makes the interactions great.  Want to share your blog posts? Want to find other peoples’ amazing content?  Communities makes this happen.  So fast. So easy.
[ideabox]There is power in Google+ and it should not be ignored.  Content and connections are at our fingertips. Take time to unleash the potential.[/ideabox]

I personally have shared my blog posts in many different Communities and have had a great response and have driven a lot of traffic to my blog.  That is how I am using Google+ the most right now.  But I know it has a much greater potential than just me shamelessly promoting myself. There are so many niche groups and communities and great content being shared.  What a powerful tool right at our fingertips.  Content discovery.  Don’t write it off yet, folks.  Take time to learn it and explore it.

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Great overview of Google+ from Epipheo Studios

Follow Me on Google+ (Had to shamelessly plus my Google+ account.)