New Social Media: Google+

So far we’ve covered the social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Now, all of these are pretty popular so you’re probably thinking “What’s Google+?” I know when I mentioned it to a girl at my job she said “Oh, Google+ is the Facebook of Google, right?”

Well, this coworker of mine is right. Google+ is the newest social media site to hit the internet. As a product of Google, Google+ aims to fix online sharing. According to Google’s official blog “Today, the connections between people increasingly happen online. Yet the subtlety and substance of real-world interactions are lost in the rigidness of our online tools. In this basic, human way, online sharing is awkward. Even broken.”

According to pocket-lint.com, “Each Google+ profile will center around the Stream, which is essentially the same thing as Facebook’s news feed – where all of your info and updates from your chums are rounded up and constantly updated. The Stream will be joined by four core elements – Circles, Hangouts, Huddle and Sparks – with Google hinting that these are the starting block for future developments.”

Here are the features you are able to use on Google+:

Circle: Just like Facebook, you have Google+ friends, except in this case they get added to what they call your circle instead of your friends list. What the circle feature allows you to do is put your friends, family, etc. into different categories. Let’s say you want to share a thought or pictures with only your friends. Before you post these things is pick the “friends” circle. That way, it is only your friends who can see these posts.

Hangout: The “Hangout” on Google+ is sort of like Skype. Except on this site, you can have a video chat with as many people as you want. You can choose from your circles who you want to “hangout” with, and whoever is hanging out can invite whoever they want to join in.”

Huddle: Pocket-lint.com couldn’t have defined this better. “You know when you’re trying to arrange a night out by having several different text conversations with a number of friends? If so, you’ll know how long-winded and confusing it can become. The idea behind Huddle is that you can turn all these exchanges into one big group chat to save you time.”

Sparks: All you do is type into the search box what you’re interested in and voilà, you get a bunch of results to choose from. You can click the “Add Interest” button for the ones you choose, and when you do, they get added to your sparks list. You can add and delete sparks as you please.

Google+ does have privacy settings. You can customize the different sections of your profile to control who sees what section. Also, Google+ won’t give out the names of your circles. So feel free to call your circle mates whatever you want (now’s the chance to use your imagination).

Will Google+ beat out Facebook? I guess we’ll just have to play around with these new social media sites and see what happens.

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