When Google announced Google Plus (+), the most significant social feature to its search service yet, the social media competition landscape changed. Google Plus is a social service that enables users to create a profile, recommend sites and share recommendations with friends, video chat, text and more. The latest social network has been compared to Facebook, but unlike Zuckerburg’s domain each action in Google Plus is personalised for the user.
With more than 750 million global users, Facebook is ubiquitous around the world. Fortunately for Google, they have the advantage of integrating the product with the world’s largest search engine, giving publishers and advertisers a significant reason not to dismiss the latest social device.
How does it work?
The +1 Button (as seen on this page) is the most noticeable feature; the small icon appearing next to each search result and text ad on Google. If logged-in, users can share their recommendations with a range of contacts including those in their Gmail address book, Buzz and Twitter followers. There is no word yet as to whether Facebook contacts will be eventually integrated.
The key to Google’s social feature is finding recommendations within search results, although this is nothing new. Google Plus streams to specialised groups but gathers many features of existing social networks.
With a Google profile, users can interact with the five basic components:
resembling real-life social interactions, users can group contacts and selectively share information with defined circles, rather than all at once.
this feature allows users to subscribe to categories of interest and share relevant content with friends.
with live group chats via a web conference option, Google provides the ability to spontaneously meet with up to 10 people.
videos and photos automatically upload themselves to the user’s private album on Google Plus where they can decide who to share it with.
this group texting feature enables group conversations via phone.
Will it Replace Facebook?
It may take some time for Google Plus to gain momentum but with Google’s trusted name, it will be a social competitor. Many are looking at it as a copy of Facebook, but Google is insisting it’s a unique alternative. Google’s multi-dimensional system appeals to users for its ability to personalise the experience. Users can choose who to communicate and share information with, rather than interacting as a whole.
Although Google Plus offers a new social domain, current Facebook users may not make the switch; but rather move between the two. With Android and iPhone apps now available, we believe Google Plus will be a complementary social service rather than a replacement of the existing.
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