Google+ is another attempt at social networking by Google, aiming at both Facebook and Twitter. They started a while back with Google Buzz, but it received bad reviews and privacy backlash. The service was more of a Twitter imitation than a Facebook killer. Google Buzz only allows you to post short messages with links and people can follow you and you can follow other people, just like Twitter. I stop using Buzz after a few postings and just about everyone I know stops as well. It was like a new toy that gets old really quick.
How about Google+ will it share the same fate as Google Buzz or even worse, Google Wave? Only time will tell, but Google+ will most likely here be to stay and may even beat Facebook and Twitter. Unlike Google Buzz, Plus is launched only to a limited number of people. This allows them to have a more controlled feedback instead of a widespread backlash they had with Google Buzz. Plus takes security and privacy seriously and the team will make changes soon to address some concerns people already have. And unlike Google Wave, people will know what this is about and how to use it, because it is basically Facebook + Twitter! Up to this day I don't think anyone knows what Google Wave is, and those who thinks they do, ask them to explain it to you and just watch their silence or mumble.
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It can't be all that great! What's bad about Google+? Since it's not public yet, I only have a few friends in my circle and I still have to go back to Facebook. It is also missing quite a few features to compete with Facebook and one that I found very useful, events. My social life is not always virtual and online on Facebook, I go out and actually meet these people in the flesh. I know, it's hard to believe, meeting people for real? This is not in Google+, but I'm pretty sure they are working on this and will probably integrate it with their calendar app as they did with Picassa and Google+'s Pictures. In fact they are going to re-brand Picassa to Google Pictures. Another missing big feature is games! Social and casual gaming is big in Facebook, I haven't played a single game and I ingored every invitation by my "friends", but I heard it's really huge and very addictive! However, somone found a hint that Google is working on games. This will require API also knows as Application Programming Interface, it's a fancy way of saying developers can connect their app to Google+ just like Facebook Connect. One app that I uses Facebook Connect is Flixter, I use this to flag a movie I'm interested in and my friends can see that I want to watch it. I don't have to ask, who want to watch "Midnight in Paris". I can already see who want to watch it and just can start planning to watch it together.
Google+ is not perfect, and this is why they only launched it to a small number of people right now. And the reviews so far are mostly positive and they are hitting some right on the nail with solutions from Facebook's short comings such as introducing Circles. And one thing that I really like, muting notifications on a post. It's a little thing, but I'm really annoyed when I jump in to comment on someone's post and then it just becomes an endless conversation between two people and I'm getting flooded by all the notifications! With Plus you can just mute it. Google+ team are continually updating the service and feedbacks are pouring in. I just hope that they can take this to the public soon, but not too soon as they have lots of polishing to do. As long as it's not like Gmail where it was in beta for years! I can really see Plus' potential here and so does most people who uses it. Unlike Google Buzz or Wave, they like it and can use it right away. If Google continue on this path, they may be up to par with Facebook and even overthrown Facebook. Just like how Facebook killed MySpace.
Facebook should be worried! And they better take Google as a serious threat and start stealing and implement some of Google+ features, especially circles. But this may not happen, as Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, mentioned in the Skype annoucement during a Q&A session that these circles are too complicated for Facebook users. Facebook have similar feature called friends list, and he said that only 5% actually uses it. In my opinion, just because they don't use it does not mean they don't want or need it. I used it, but I do find it quite complicated that I stop using it myself.
Google+ team have lots of work ahead, but the steps they have taken so far are impressive and seems to be on the right direction. Google Search have more than 29 Millions hits per second, 500,000 Android activations per day, and Gmail have 193.3 millions users monthly. These are impressive numbers and with this much traffic and users, I don't think they'll have a hard time with people joining Google+ once they launch it to the general public. I hope that Google Picassa and Google Talk integration is just the begining. Google have so many products that it can integrate to Plus like Calendar, Docs any many more. I haven't even talk about Google Takeout! The future looks bright for Google. So, to the Google+ team, keep up the good work and good luck with your battle against Facebook. You'll do just fine and I will continue to support you as long my friends do!
Are you using Google+? Tell me what you think about it so far.
And if you're using Facebook, what do you like or dislike about it? And would you jump to Google+?