Google+: The Rundown

Today on Digital Lust, I am continuing my weeklong coverage of Google+, the new social media experience from Google. Yesterday, I gave a quick overview of the service, and now that I have my hands on it, let’s get more in depth with how it works.

The Circles of Friendship
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One of the most unique features of Google+ is what you share with who. All of your friends can be grouped into different Circles. Grouping people in different circles helps you to share certain things with certain circles–so if you’re like me, who will likely use Google+ for both personal and blogging purposes, you can keep things from circles that may not be relevant to them. If you want to post pictures of yourself that you don’t want some others to see, you can do it. If you have a news story that you want to share with some people that may not make sense to others, you can do that too. It all revolves around who you put into your circles.

The Stream
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Your stream essentially serves the same purpose as your Facebook Wall, with a few extra features. The most prominent, of course, is the ability to view the stream based on circles. For example, if you want to view the stream for just the people you have in your Friends circle, you just select that stream on the left navigation bar. If you want to view all of your streams at once, you can do that too. It’s a pretty cool filtering system that Facebook doesn’t have, and is definitely a good way to filter out the crap. In the above image, I chose to just view posts that are in my Stream for people that I have invited as part of the Google+ Giveaway. It shows posts that I have made to people exclusively in the stream, as well as posts that would be made by people in the stream (nobody that won last night has accepted an invite just yet, which is why this is so empty). The concept behind this is pretty awesome.

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Websites like Mashable have already established a presence on Google+.

Photo Sharing

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One of my favorite features on Google+ is the way in which photos are shared. You can share them with everyone, or you can share them with specific circles. This works, especially for those who have pictures that they do not want to fall into the wrong hands. There is also an Instant Upload feature on the Android App (which I’ll be giving more details about tomorrow). Photos upload insanely quick on the service. You can tag friends in pictures, too, which is a welcomed feature that has become so prominent on Facebook.

Google+ may, at first glance, seem very similar to Facebook. In reality, it really is. Google really has given it more features to make the social experience more seamless and pleasant, and hopefully, it will catch on and become the next social success story.

Tomorrow, I will talk about the Android app in App Attack, as well as go in-depth with Huddle, the new chat service.

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Google+: Social Media Takeover?

The big talk in the digital world this past week has revolved around Google and their new social media experiment, “Google+”. The service launched in a very limited testing period last week, and now, everybody wants in.

And unfortunately for everyone–it isn’t easy to get in. Take it from me, I’ve been trying very hard to do so, in order to provide a proper rundown here on Digital Lust (I have now gotten a hold of an invite, I’m just not allowed in yet). The launch and demand for this new service is very, very reminiscent of the demand of when Gmail first launched back in the summer of 2004. This was right around the time that Digital Lust originally launched, and I was able to grab an invite and get a good rundown pretty quickly. I hoping for the same with this project, but not holding my breath.

Back on track! Social media has become a prominent way for friends and family to communicate with one another. Myspace was the start of the new social media trend, with Facebook and Twitter becoming the most popular today. With all of the demand that Google is receiving over Google+, are they perhaps posing to dominate one or both of the leading social sites?

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Google launched it’s new social media experiment, Google+, in limited beta last week.

Let’s take a look at the entire concept of Google+. At first sight, it will remind you more of Facebook than Twitter. Photo tagging is there. Video posting is there. Status updates and story sharing are all there. What makes Google+ different from Facebook is the ability to choose who you share your content with. Google+ allows you to place your friends into different “circles.”. You can share different stories with different circles. It’s a really unique feature that works! With Facebook, you post a story on your wall, and everyone can see it, including people who may not necessarily care about it. With this feature, you can share stories based on common interest. I’m definitely looking forward to playing with that feature.

Google+ also has a feature called “Hangouts.”. This is a video chatting service, similar to that found on Skype or Google Talk. This is something that Facebook does not have as of now (rumors have it that Facebook’s big announcement this Wednesday will be a video chat service in a partnership with Skype). As video chatting is becoming more and more widespread and more prominent, this feature will show as one of Google+’s greatest.

This entire project reminds me of Google Wave, a project that Google launched in a beta status back in 2009. Google Wave allowed you to start a new “wave,” which was essentially just a conversation between you and whomever you invited. You could share notes, videos, do polls, and all sorts of other fun. Google Wave was intended to be an evolution of the email concept, but unfortunately, never caught on, and was discontinued. I was one of the lucky ones who got to beta test Wave, and I absolutely loved it. If Google+ is anything like Wave was, I think we’re all in for some surprises.

With all of the new features that Google is planning to implement into your social media experience with Google+, I think it’s very possible we could see some shuffling of the social media empire. Will it dethrone Facebook as the leader in social media? Likely not. But the feature-limited Twitter? We’ll have to wait and see. For now, I’m going to keep trying to get in, because I’m excited to start playing with it. Once I do get in, I’ll be announcing a new online giveaway for invites, so stay tuned for that!