A few months ago, Google announced the launch of the +1 button that has been tested on a small number of users. Two weeks ago it was time for what was expected for a while already to be brought to the surface – Google+ (Plus). Google+ is the first Google brand social network that promises involvement in the social environment through a carefully designed tool that is ready to become a reference service. The new social network has received an impressive promotion even from the outset. A large number of international publications have supported the project from the beginning. The service was first launched through an invitation system, but it has been blocked several times by the officials due to the striking amount of people who wanted to join.
Just a few hours after launching the service, the opinions of the users were divided: the majority was either encouraging the new social network, either labelling it as “another Facebook”. Some supporters have even built a Google+ theme to look like the Facebook interface. So, if you feel the need to live the marine experience of Facebook on Google+, you can do it by following the procedures here.
What exactly is Google+ and how is it different from Facebook?
Google has always been a company that launched simple and useful services and managed to do it very well. For many years already they dominate many of the markets for which they have made the effort to conquer or the ones in which they are serious competitors, but failed to win. However, one of their biggest problems was that they have never understood the phenomenon of social media and lost the start. They tried the Google Buzz, a service that has failed completely, then continued through partnerships with Facebook and Twitter in order to transform the Google search engine in a service that is influenced by the explosive events and various incidents that happen and are spreading through the social media extremely fast.
In the last year it would seem that they have better done their homework, they learned from the competition and they have secretly worked at one of the biggest products delivered on the market recently by Google, which is Google+. Google+ wants to be a social service that comes with solutions to the mistakes made by the competition, represented by Faceboook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora and so on, to suffer. The fact is that all the social networks so far have not understood very well sometimes the problem of public information. Thus, Google has invented the “circles”, which is a way of intelligent systematization of friends. Moreover, the circles of friends let you communicate information only with those groups and this is a gain for Google+, because the lack of this feature was a problem met many times on other social networks.
Another interesting feature is the “Hangouts”, which implements Google Voice and Google Talk to create an environment of real-time communication. Now you can talk to, you can see and you can hear all your friends, all your co-workers or project colleagues directly on Google+ (here it even reminds of Google Wave – another failure).
Also there’s Instant Uploads – a service for the mobile version of Google+ that allows uploading images in real time on the social network and store them in a private album. Also, Sparks wants to be a mainstream service for tracking issues of common interest between you and other friends. But I would have liked more for Google+ to also implement Google Reader.
Google+ also innovates and transforms the albums, by making them more attractive and elegant. In fact, Google+ innovated everything related to the simplicity of a social network and came up with an interface that can not be simpler and more intuitive.
Finally, Google+ is an alternative to the button Like from Facebook, known as +1. Google has promised that in the next period we will enjoy more and more services and facilities included in Google+ so we look forward for the deployment of forces on the board of social networks.
How can you import your Facebook friends on Google+ ?
Mohamed Mansour, from Google+, has made known the easiest way to bring your friends from Facebook on the new Google+ via Facebook Friend Exporter – an extension for Google Chrome. The extension adds a button “Export friends” on the Facebook toolbar. Extension developers recommend disabling the other extensions Chrome that are working with Facebook in order to make sure that this tool works perfectly.
Frankly, I like the design and user interaction on Google+ more than on Facebook. Google Plus has a cooler design and very delicate, simple but elegant visual effects. Like most social networks, it uses multiple asynchronous calls back, providing a very pleasant experience – it gives the impression of using a desktop application or Silverlight.
Tips and Tricks for Google+ (Plus)
1. If you want to mention someone in a post or a comment, you can either use the classic “@”, either the representative “+” before the name. Type “+” and the first letter of the name of whom you want to address to or mention and there will appear, like on Facebook, a scroll from which to choose that person. Obviously, if you type more letters from the name it gets easier to find the user.
2. You can also mention people you don’t have in your circles. Just look at their profile (eg https://plus.google.com/114443251544527193428). Eliminate the “https://plus.google.com/” and put a “+” in front, like this: “+114443251544527193428”.
3. You can write in bold or italic, but you just have to make some small “additions”. To write in bold, write the word in asterisks: *example*. If you want to write in italic, put it in underscores: _example_. If you want the words you write to appear cut, use a hyphen: –
4. You can also set the language you want. But let’s hope that this is a “happier” language variant than the one on Facebook. Go to Settings (upper toothed wheel in the right) and choose Language.
5. You can “scroll” up or down the feed from Google+ by using the keys “j” (down) and “k” (up).
6. You can process your profile photos in a small photo editor: Picnik. But it’s not easy to find. Follow the path Google+ Settings / Account Overview / Edit Profile / Change Photo. Once you upload a new photo, there will appear somewhere down there in blue “Edit in Picnick”.
7. You should set your notification that you want the mail; otherwise it will fill your inbox. Settings / Google+ and uncheck what you do not want to get in the mail, because they are all checked “by default”. Obviously, the ideal way would be to make a visit to all submenus from Settings and configure all settings the way it suits your needs better.
8. Another cool thing is that you can set for your name to appear or not when you visit a blog or a site and give +1, which is the equivalent of “Like” on Facebook. We all know how the things work with “Like”: “John Smith, Bob Johnson, Helen White and Other 23 people like this.” With G + we can make it so that it shows: “John Smith, Bob Johnson, Helen White and Other 23 +1’d this” or just “25 people have +1’d this”. To do this go to Account Overview / Google +1 on non-Google sites and set Enable or Disable so that you can give a +1 to articles you like on the net anonymously or with name and surname. I keep it disabled for now.
9. Perhaps the most important thing is to understand how “Circles” on Google+ work. It is one of the main innovations of G+ to Facebook. You can organize contacts by some more clearly defined lists (colleagues, family, acquaintances, friends), although a person can add more lists. When you write something, you can choose to which circle or circles, or you could also write publicly for all. Although at first there are some standard circles, you can create new ones, delete or rename the old ones. It’s really fun to create and delete circles because the disappearance of the circle has a cool graphic (I made some and removed them only for looks). You can easily add a person in your circles from anywhere in G+. And it can be done in many ways. You can do it with drag and drop, for example. But the simplest way is to just put your mouse over the name and you immediately see if he/she is in your circles, if so, in how many or if not, just tick the circle in which you want him/her.
10. You can delete or edit posts. On the right you have a small arrow, like ‘x’ on Facebook. Click on it and it will open a scroll menu with the options: Edit, Delete, etc… On Facebook you can only give “Remove Post”.
Why we should be careful and have to get into Google+ ?
Google+, like Facebook or Twitter, is a social network that has and will have an exponential adoption rate as soon as possible. We must prepare for this new tool and understand it very well in order to be able to generate campaigns through it, to promote ourselves and our products and last but not least, to socialize. Google puts the Social Media “experts” to work. Hardly have they understood Facebook and Twitter, now they also have to bother with Google+.
The button +1 has appeared next to all Google results and can be added to articles in a similar way with the “share” and “tweet this” buttons from Facebook and Twitter. But more interesting is the fact that this button also appears next to Adwords ads. Moreover, I noticed that the links posted on Google+ have dofollow unlike Facebook, Twitter and most networks.
Is Google+ a Facebook killer?
We can not know this exactly. What some of us would like, others do not. The fact is that this is not our problem, at least not yet. It’s a duel between giants, between two companies who know how to do their job and between two companies that want to impose in this social environment as best as possible. It’s true that Facebook has an advance of 750 million users, but it does not have impressive conversion rates, although they claim to have targeted advertisements.
Google+ should not become the largest social network to be a Facebook killer, but it must become a more useful service, more attractive and easier to use for ordinary users, developers and investors. The humanization of the Internet and the offering of an identity for each IP on the planet started with Facebook and can continue with Google+.
PS: Probably there are more tips and tricks that I’ve overlooked or not found yet. If you have any, share them in your comments. Thank you!