*or yesterday depending on what part of the world you happen to be in
One year on from the birth of Google’s first serious social network seems an appropriate time to take a retrospective look at the network A look at what has changed, what’s new, what people and businesses are doing on it, what it’s lacking and what is most likely in the pipeline.
I have to admit that I am not a regular Google+ user. Part of me is quite annoyed at myself as I love its simplicity and clean functionality, but what it is still lacking for me is an active user base. I know that there are small pockets of really active users who are engaging daily on the platform but unfortunately my Circles aren’t, so for me Google+ is a bit of a ghost town. It is probably quite telling that on the popular tech blog, Mashable, there are only 44 articles in the Google+ section compared with thousands for each of the other big social networks. All that aside though, I think G+ is here to stay and Google are investing quite a lot in the platform by integrating it heavily with their other services including search: what this means is that if you want to be ahead of the curve for the next big change in the way that Google indexes websites, then you need to be involved with Google+.
One of the features that active G+ users do seem to have taken to is sharing photos and for those using the Google+ app on their smartphones, this is made even easier with Instant Upload. This feature automatically syncs any photos that you take into a private album so you can simply select the one you want to share with a single click. Hangouts are probably my favourite feature of Google+; they are great for face to face communication and the addition of On Air allows for live video casting to large audiences. Anyone that has used G+ will know how beautiful its Circles system is for organising your connections by drag and drop, allowing you to quickly and easily filter your content and updates. In fact, it’s not just Circles that is well put together in Google+; the whole platform feels very well thought out and is a pleasure to use.
With Google being late to the social media game (I’m not counting the disaster that was Buzz), has meant that G+ has struggled to get users regularly active on the platform but has meant that they have been able to learn from others’ mistakes and build something that is genuinely a pleasure to use.
In summary then, Google haven’t changed the face of social media as they were hoping, but they are still here and are thinking of more interesting ways to make G+ an essential part of our social web experience. I for one intend to use it more!
Oh and they’ve just released a tablet app but it’s not available for iPad yet so I’m not really that bothered.
Are you still using Google+? Have you made it an essential part of your social web life? Or perhaps you completely disagree with me, comments, disagreement and thoughts more than welcome.
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