Google just recently launched a social networking site that they claim will rival with the social networking giant, Facebook. They call it Google+. It is rapidly growing with now 20 million++ members, and everyday a lot of users are signing up for their account. Although as of now, Google+ account is by invitation only and they are only accepting personal profiles where users will be required to use their real name when they sign up for an account.
It has all the common features of other social networking sites like being able to connect with your friends and contacts and share music, pictures, videos, news, thought bubbles and the like but it is more versatile as it has worked to improve some of the security issues and privacy settings that users complained about with other social networking sites like Facebook.
Let us take a closer look at some of the features and highlights of Google+:
1. Circles. Circles is similar to Facebook’s Friends feature wherein members can create their own “Circles” and drag and drop their friends and family into that group. They can make as many Circles as they want and set different privacy settings for each group. This gives members more options when sharing information with their friends and contacts in Google+ as they can opt to share certain information with a certain Circle only and restrict other Circles from seeing that information.
2. Hangouts. This feature of Google+ allows members to do video chat with up to ten people at the same time. It also allows watching a video with a friend in the video chat.
3. Huddle. The Huddle feature of Google+, which is also available with Skype, allows multiple friends to send group instant message using any smart phone or computer. Let say you find a good deal on a bag that is on sale. You can instantly send a group instant message about the discount or coupon code that you discovered using Google+’s Huddle.
4. Instant Upload. Almost all phones now have a built in camera and we just love taking pictures. Google+’s Instant Upload feature lets you take a picture and upload it in Google+ but instead of instantly posting it in the front page of a person’s profile just like in Facebook, it will be saved first in a private album. So the user can decide later what he wants to do with the picture.
5. Sparks. The Sparks feature of Google+ lets members choose a category that they are interested in like coupon codes, shopping, shoes, gadgets, and more and feeds under those category will instantly be sent and saved which the member can read and share later when he finds the time.
6. Games. Just like Facebook, Google+ also offers 16 different games, which can be found under the Games tab.
7. +1. Is similar to Facebook’s Like feature where users can click +1 for any news or post that interest them.
8. Access all Google’s service with Google+. Do you have Gmail account or do you often use Google for your search? With Google+, you can share your Google’s search results by just simply clicking the share button and it will allow you to share that information to your selected Circles in Google+. Even your contacts in Gmail can be added in your Circles so even if they don’t have a Google+ account, they can still receive updates from you via email.
The power of Google+ lies in the fact that it has integrated a lot of features that is available in the other social networking sites. Will it be able to topple Facebook, which is dominating the social networking world now? It is still too early to tell as Google+ is still in its initial stage. Let us give it a few more months and let’s see if Google+ really has what it takes to give Facebook a dose of its own medicine, and just let them be written in history as the social network giant who was once famous just like Friendster.
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