Hangouts, Circles and Sparks that don’t fly.

G+ stomps Facebook

Google Plus (G+) is hammering away at the record books with a well-engineered roll out that has enabled the fastest ever signup rate for a major new site. What is all the excitement about? At first glance Google + looks like another Facebook wannabe and in many ways it is just that; there are some similarities between G+ and LinkedIn too. There are some fundamental differentiators however that will probably secure G+’s place in the world of social and business networking. One of the features of G+ is the plus button, which in similar manner to the Facebook “Like” button, adds your personal stamp of approval to an online entity. This seems to be a little more powerful than the “Like” button, with a tendency toward G+ results in the SERPS being a potential conflict of interest problem. If you don’t have any G+ points but have a lot of Facebook likes, will your ranking be affected? No doubt time will tell, but there is no legal reason why Google cannot promote sites that bear a G+ rating, above those that bear a si

milar number and weight of Facebook likes. It is already apparent that the Google places listing is a powerful SEO item for any business, especially if you live near a large metropolitan area where there are many potential clients.

In the true spirit of 21st century online pioneers such as the Google development team, instead of chatting in G+, we get to “hang out” instead. Although a little urban in connotation, the Hangout is the G+ equivalent of a chat room. The fact that these hangouts can also send/receive live video too makes it a useful tool rather than a simple Skype video chat session. These hangouts can be used for business or leisure or both if you want, but there is a 10-person limit on the number of people in a hangout and for some reason they cannot be used on a cellphone at present, that will probably change over time as G+ development progresses. 

G+ Circles are another upgrade to the Facebook management of friends. The trouble in Facebook is that they made it quite difficult to manage your privacy and it is so easy to make a mistake, and at best make a fool of yourself online. With G+ Circles, you can separate your communications among the available groups so you don’t accidentally post something inappropriately and you can receive communications from those that

you want to hear from. It is a much m

ore intuitive and ergonomic way to control your information flows than Facebook.

Finding content of interest is a daily effort for many internet surfers; G+ Sparks is an effort to provide G+ users with content that they find interesting. The basic premise is that the G+ user can build up an interest and Sparks will supply you with online content related to the interests you have stated. This can then be shared with your
Overall G+ seems like Facebook for the over 18s, so far there appears to be no sign of irritating applications which always need access to your personal details for some reason; ever wondered why apps like “Happy Aquarium” need your personal info? This is one of the problems that Facebook has never really addressed properly. – privacy of personal information is probably not that important when you are 14 years old, but as time goes by most people want their personal info obscured. They may say that it is possible to prevent these apps, but most will not operate without this access being approved by the user.friends through the circles they are in. An example might be if you were interested in training horses, Sparks can be told that you are interested in this topic, and as you find more relevant sites, Sparks will keep track of them so you can be presented with a continuous flow of new information and websites to digest and/or share.

As for me, I personally prefer G+ to Facebook. I find G+ more elegant, ergonomic and suitable for my social networking. I don’t need a Happy Aquarium, I just need privacy when and the way I want it, and the ability to communicate easily. G+ does that. Will I have time to maintain both G+ and Facebook (and LinkedIn)? In my business I have no choice really – Happy networking folks!