Friday, July 8, 2011
In case you haven't heard, there's a new kid on the block that has a whole lot of tech folks talking. Google had a stealth launch of their new social network at the end of June and they're serious about competing with the reigning neighborhood cool kid, Facebook. It's called Google+ and it is an amazing thing.
Like Facebook, Google+ allows users to share news, photos, videos, and links in a "Stream" with friends. The key difference is that Google+ users can arrange friends in "Circles" so that news and content can be shared publicly with everyone, or just some "Circles" and not others. There's also chatting, video chatting that accommodates two to ten people at a time, and "Sparks," a feature for exploring special interest areas in conjunction with the +1 button that's been added to every inch of the Internet.
Part of what's made Google+ such a hot topic the past two weeks is that it's been an invitation-only site. Google+ says that they are still currently in "field trial" mode and are "throttling" access so that they can build the service slowly and steadily to avoid bugs and other problems. The word on the street is that it will be full-speed and open to everyone by July 31. So if you haven't yet received an invitation, you don't have long to wait to try it out.
As with all social networking sites, the issue of user privacy inevitably comes up. I won't wade into that murky water, but please remember the most important rule in life... nothing shared on the Internet is ever private. Ever.
So with that, I hope you have enough information to know if you want to give Google+ a try. It's a lot less cluttered than other social networking sites and, in many ways, a lot more attractive. If you decide to jump in, let me know what you think. I'll keep a circle open for you.