Google Plus now has 100m active users. It has been described as an information network where people can share and follow interests rather than a purely social site like Facebook. So how do Google Plus features stack up?
What are circles?
Google Plus allows you to group people into circles. This mean you can pick and choose which content to share with different circles. It’s not a new idea. We’ve always had different relationships with family, close friends and work colleagues, Google Plus just allows us to do it online. The default circles are Friends, Family, Acquaintances, and Following, and can be renamed at any time.
The Following feature is similar to Twitter. You can follow celebrities or thought leaders in your field. There are some great circles for online marketers
Circles are private. Nobody knows which Google Plus circle you’ve put them in. They can’t see the name of the circle or who else is in it. Somebody else may have you in a close friend circle while you group them as an acquaintance, they’ll never know.
Hangouts are video chats with a group of up to ten people. It takes what people love about Skype and adds a social element. Families or groups of friends with people scattered around the world can catch up at a time pre-scheduled using Google Calendar.
Celebrities and public figures often hold Google Hangouts on air, streaming Hangouts publicly on Google Plus profiles, YouTube channels and websites. YouTube can automatically save the Hangout to be shared like any other video.
Google + 1 vs Facebook Like
When you Like something on Facebook all your friends can see it in your newsfeed for a while. But then other things are posted and your like gets buried . The difference with Google Plus 1 is that when your friends later do a Google search for that product or topic, your +1 will be displayed in their results. The buzz lasts. This makes a Google Plus 1 much more useful to marketers than a Facebook Like.
Facebook game and app invites constantly popping up on your feed can be very annoying. Google Plus instead has a games tab where people can check what others have been playing lately and then start competing with friends.
What does Facebook have over Google Plus?
700 million more users. At the moment Google Plus could be compared to a beautiful building with nobody in it. But as Google Plus becomes more integrated with search and SEO, it is only a matter of time before more people start to take advantage of it’s features. Google Plus hit 100 million followers a lot quicker than Facebook or Twitter. Is the next stop global domination?