What is Google Plus?

Here is a really interesting update from Drew McLellan about the new Google Plus. Sounds pretty cool! Maybe I’ll see you on Google Plus next…..Angela

What is Google Plus?

About a month ago, Google launched their own social network, called Google Plus. As you might imagine, Google Plus is tied to your Gmail account and you can’t have access without one.

So what exactly is Google Plus? It’s as though Google studied all of the more popular social media tools and took the best of each of them, added some cool interfaces and then knitted them all into one application. Here’s how I can best describe its key elements:

It’s like Facebook in that you can post updates, share links, photos etc. with your friends.

But it’s better than Facebook because you can put your friends into circles and only share certain things with certain circles. You might have a book club circle, a family circle and a co-ed softball team circle. Just like in real life, you’d share different things with those three very different groups. With Google Plus, you can do the same thing. Of course, you can share everything with everyone, if that’s your style.

It’s also like Facebook in that you can endorse content with a “Like.”

I’m not sure their +1 is much different than the like, except for one thing. How long do you think it will take Google to start linking page rank, SEO results, etc., to how many +1’s you get? I think they’re going to encourage web users to influence search engine rankings via their vote. And it probably won’t be just the +1s but also what content appears in the Stream.

It’s like Twitter in that you can follow interesting people whether they return the favor or not.

But it’s better than Twitter because it allows you to group those you follow into those same circles. If you follow 500+ Twitter accounts, the noise to good information ratio can be a little tight. With Google Plus, you can filter your information intake however you want to set it up. This is how Twitter envisioned us using their Lists functionality, but few people do.

It’s like Skype in that you can talk to people from all over the world for free.

But it’s better than Skype because you can video chat with up to 10 people of your choosing via their Hangouts. It’s more intuitive than Skype and is free, which Skype cannot always claim to be. One of the best things about Hangout is that the camera/screen shifts based on who is talking, rather than trying to have 10 video chat windows open at once.

It’s like Flickr (or TwitPic or Instagram) in that you can upload and share your photos.

But it’s better than Flickr and the others in that you can share specific photos with specific groups of people. So if you’re a soccer parent and want to share game photos with the other parents, your book club and clients don’t have to see all 57 photos.

So, how will Google Plus impact your business? Today, I don’t think it will. In this beta release, there are no ads or business pages (yet). Right now, everything is tied to an individual’s gmail account. I suppose if you’re a solo consultant, you could “market yourself” there but you’d be doing that in the Stream not in a specifically designated area.

But as I mentioned above, I would bet that behaviors, content shared, +1s and other elements of Google Plus will soon be having a dramatic influence on SEO. Which means businesses will need to be there, much in the same way they’re on Facebook today.

It will be interesting to watch it unfold. Stay tuned!

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