Although Google’s new Google Plus service has a lot of hype behind it, many people are asking how this service is different from other social media services such as Facebook and Twitter. Many people seem to be of the opinion that the Internet already has more social networking sites than it needs, why should Google Plus be any different? The fact is that Google Plus isn’t a social networking platform at all. In truth, Google has never even advertised the service as a social networking site. Instead, Google Plus is actually a platform that allow users to share various things with each other. Although there is a social aspect to Google Plus, its main objective is to get people to communicate with people outside of their exclusive group of friends and family. The goal is to actually encourage the practice of information sharing.
Features of Google Plus That Separate It From Facebook
- Google Plus Isn’t Trying To Be Facebook 2.0:
The sooner that people realize that there’s room for both of these services to exist, the better. Both of these platforms have very different philosophies on the nature of social networking, and this fact is very evident in how they present themselves. Facebook essentially attempts to recreate a user’s real life social contacts in a virtual space, which is represented on the site by a user’s friends list. Google Plus, on the other hand, uses a person’s real life contacts as a starting point for expanding that person’s social contacts. One of the primary reasons for following someone on Google Plus is because that person happens to be doing something that interests you.
- Circling More People Makes For A Better Experience:
One thing that Facebook users will need to get used to when using Google Plus is the concept of circling. Circling is similar to adding someone to a friends list, except that it’s very common to circle people that you’re not acquainted with in real life. Because circles are organized around common interests instead of social acquaintance, the information being shared is usually much more relevant to a user’s interests. How many times have you read the Facebook status update of someone on your friends list and totally ignored it? With Google Plus, users have a much higher chance of being presented with information that is interesting to them.
- Circling Works Differently Than Facebook Friends Lists:
Although we already talked about some of the differences between a Google circle and a Facebook friends list, that was just the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps the most difficult adjustment that Facebook users will have to make when switching to Google Plus is that members of their circle don’t necessarily see their posts. Circles are more about receiving content than they are about transmitting it. For example, a user that is interested in cycling as a hobby is much more likely to see a status update from a perfect stranger about a bicycle ride than they are to see a status update from one of their friends’ cats.
- Google Plus Gets Better The More Time Users Spend On It:
At first, Google Plus can feel intimidating to new users. The idea of interacting with complete strangers on the Internet will sound like a dubious prospect to most people. However, users are posting using their real identities on Google Plus, which goes a long way towards encouraging people to be on their best behavior. Another thing about Google Plus is that it’s very unfocused, but in a good way. For example, users usually have a specific goal in mind when logging on to Facebook, such as checking their messaging or updating their status. Google Plus encourages users to discover new content, providing users with the ability to quickly lose track of time.
- Google Plus Offers Lots Of Control:
Users will have more customization options in Google Plus than in any other social networking site. Users can prioritize how information is displayed, ensuring that they can browse content in any order that suits them. Additionally, users can choose which circles they share their information with. Contacts can be arranged into categories such as friends, family, work, school and more.
- Video Chat Lets Users Communicate In Ways That Facebook Doesn’t:
Google Plus allows users to create “hangouts” that can accommodate up to 10 people at one time. Even though this feature doesn’t automatically make Google Plus better than Facebook, it’s one of many things that really separate the two sites. Although Facebook has announced that they will adopting a Skype-powered video chat service, it will only allow one-on-one video chats between users.
- Google Integrates Many Separate Tools Into One Place:
One of the biggest ways that Google Plus separates itself from Facebook is that it allows users to be productive instead of wasting time. To start with, users are able to access Google Plus right from their Gmail inbox. Simply logging into a Gmail account will automatically log users in on all Google sites, eliminating the need to continuously enter user name and passwords. Other Google services are also available to users, such as Google Docs, which provides users with a remote storage area for their private documents and files. Once they have uploaded their files to Google Docs, users can then choose to share the documents by making them public. Finally, activity on Google Plus will impact a user’s experience on other sites, such as Google Search and YouTube. For example, a user that gets involved in photography circles on Google Plus is much more likely to have Google Search return photography related search results.
To put it simply, Google Plus doesn’t change the landscape of social network. Instead, it changes the landscape of content sharing. Google Plus is poised to drastically alter the way that information is gathered and shared. It will also act as a central hub from which users can perform the majority of their online activities.