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23 Jul / 2011

Google+: The Newbie in Social Networking

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Google+ is Google’s new social networking site, launched to challenge Facebook’s dominance in the social media market. The entry to this website is strictly based on invitation. However, later Google intends to make it accessible to everyone.

As a new entry to Google+ today, I would like to share with you some of the exclusive features of Google+.

Home page – The home screen is neat and simple. It reflects a streamlined look. The top toolbar has one click access to home, photos, profile and circles. At the left side of the page you will find streams from different groups of people. Click on a particular group to see their streams exclusively. Below the “stream” groups you will find “spark”. On the right hand side you can see the people in your “circle” and “hangout” options.

Circles are cool – Compared to Facebook, circles in Google+ has real advantages. Once you share content in Facebook, FB makes it visible to all your friends. In Google+ however, you can choose exactly with whom you want to share your content.

For example, you may have a total of 30 friends. If you created a circle of 5 people and named it “work group”, you can share work related content with them exclusively. Your other 25 friends won’t be able to see it. Circles give you the freedom to create a wall between your friends and colleagues.

You can break the total group into small circles and name them “family”, “friends”, “colleagues”, etc.

“Hangout” with friends- Video chat in social networks! Hangout is a wonderful feature that lets you chat and video chat with up to 10 friends at a time. The best feature of hangout – when one friend starts a Hangout, it alerts other friends in the Circle that a Hangout is on and they can join.

You can also customize who can see your Hangout alert so that your mom doesn’t suddenly appear in your friends group!

Spark (the online sharing engine) – Yeah, now you can just search for anything and share it instantly! This cool new feature in Google+ will let you search anything you like and the results appear with a share link. Clicking on the share link you can share the content within your circles.

Photo uploading and surfing is smooth- Google+ did not implement any major change in the Photo section and is pretty similar to Facebook, except it makes the process more organized.

You can see the albums that your friends in Circles have uploaded with each album bearing their name for easy search. When you click, you can see all the images that your Circles have uploaded and shared. The images are displayed in a slideshow mode. When you share a picture within an album that you created, the images get larger when you roll your mouse pointer over it. Tagging process is simple and the photo upload speed is really fast. Your Picasa is integrated too. Album security can be set.

Google+ is secure – Google learned from its mistakes and made sure that Google+ has better security than ever. You can set various security options for sharing any content in the Circles. You can stop people from commenting on the content you have shared or prevent them from re-sharing it with their Circles. You can also choose which content will be visible to which Circle.

Google+ is still in its initial phase and Google might introduce new features in future. If you have received an invitation from Google+ and joined, do share how you feel about it.

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