I asked my colleague Nick Susko [@Nsusko] to build a report of the ‘big ticket items’ for Google+ . Here t’is:
Google+ appears to be – potentially – a Facebook-killer – a social networking toolset, that blends the best bits of Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn. It’s been shaped as a ‘social network’ and will see the ‘fun’, social elements from Facebook clash with the exclusive networking that LinkedIn provides.
Stream/Circles – The stream is very similar to the Facebook news feed. It shows a live feed of everything that your friends/circles are saying and doing. However, within this stream is an array of smaller networks called ‘Circles’. Circles allows you to group different people into different social groups.
The vast majority of us use social media tools such as Facebook & LinkedIn in very different ways. Most of us keep our personal/friends network on Facebook but use LinkedIn for our professional face. Thus the conversations and comments are different across the two tools. What Circles allows you to do is to group a bunch of business colleagues, or group your mates from soccer and say stuff in these Circles that is only relevant to that Circle. It is a fantastic way of balancing your social life with your business life and so forth from one tool.
Note that your friends cannot see the Circle into which you have placed them.
Hangouts: A video chat service, much like Skype. One difference here is that you when you log on, you can see your friends/circles having video conversations (or ‘hanging out’) and you can then join in. The great thing about this is that business meetings can be held quickly, in one place and can connect people easily.
Huddles: Is a group chat room, that can be enabled for any given Circle. I believe Google have only added it so that G+ has a service to match their rivals (Facebook chat etc). Massive knock back to Microsoft who have recently invested a lot into Skype.
Sparks: Is a search box within G+, just like a typical Google search. It shows you what people are discussing in your network and then shows related topics to this as well. You can then ‘favourite’ a particular search and share it with any particular Circle that you wish.
Google Plus One: You may notice the ‘+1’ button that appears in a google search next to a particular item. This is will play a large part. The more +1’s that a web page has, the more likely it is to show up in G+ in the ‘sparks’ area. This can then be discussed further by Circles …. Getting +1’s on your web pages will be critical!
Settings/Edit Profile: You can change and update settings so that your details are protected or provided – at your requirement.
RMS Business Recommendations
Google+ Producers do not want businesses to set up profiles on G+ just yet. They are very much focused upon the consumer interface on G+, but are currently in the process of building a ‘business experience’. It shall include ‘analytics’ and the ability to link the business to other aspects of Google such as Adwords. For businesses who advertise, we think this has major implications – and this was covered by Graham at his post here
B2B businesses obviously heavily rely upon other businesses being on G+ to interact with. Currently, there is no interaction (or very few, at least). I can understand B2C firms wanting to gain an upperhand in the restricted market, but even then…there’s so few people to market to right now.
Also, if businesses sign up now using an ‘individual form’ to sign up with..then they may not be entitled to business benefits later on when G+ open up their new business interface.
If anything, I think that businesses should start working on getting their ‘plus 1s’ up. That way, when G+ is released for all, businesses would’ve done (or at least started) the groundwork required to gain a foothold in this social market.