Somewhere between Facebook, the long lamented(!?) Buzz, a long-form Twitter and a bit of instant messaging, Google+ still has something of an identity crisis as the on-line world tries to make the most of it.
You can use it for – anything you want; as a blogging platform, collaboration tool, chat platform, whatever. Google+ operates circles. In the same way we all have various social circles, or groups in which we interact, so Google+ has circles as a mechanism you control. You can sub-divide all your on-line friends, acquaintances and followers into categories, in order to maintain some separation of audiences and threads of material on Google+.
Open to anyone with a Google account (GMail or another Google product) Google+ provides a step-by-step guide to setting up your Google+ page. There is plenty of scope to customise your page’s public profile.
Add team members, VIPS and customers to spearate Google+ circles to organise your news feeds and interactions. You can connect your website to Google+ using the Google+ badge.
Once you are setup, you can begin posting content – status updates, videos, photos – to your Google+ page. Threaded conversations on Google+ can go on extensively, with the added complexity that some people in your circles may not be able to see all of it. It is a very powerful, but potentially confusing tool. Beware memberships in overlapping circles.
Circles implement the categorisation of your friends and followers. Threaded conversations on Google+ can go on extensively, with the added complexity that some people in your circles may not be able to see all of it. It is a very powerful, but potentially confusing tool. Beware memberships in overlapping circles!
There is also the Google Hangout; a group video chat or video conferencing facility for users in your circle.
Visibility in Google+ threads is designated by colour-codes:
- Green – when a post is marked with a green button, it is public
- Blue – when a post is marked with a blue button, it is only for people in your circles.
There’s no doubt that Google+ is gaining traction, but it’s not about to usurp Facebook anytime soon. AJS
Image credit: Google Plus by West McGowan (west.m), licensed Creative Commons, some rights reserved.