After several unsuccessful attempts to build a social network, Google finally released Google+ and it seems everybody wants to be part of it. Google+ took advantage of Facebook’s low privacy settings and turned it in to its main advantage, creating circles where you can share stuff only with certain people from certain groups that you’ve created.
The design is pretty minimal and the stream is nothing out of the ordinary. It actually resembles a lot to the one from Facebook or Google Buzz. However, it’s extremely user-friendly, making it easy for any newbie to get around.
Google+ Best Features
I took the time to play a bit with my Google+ account and here’s what I think are its best parts:
Google+ Circles: I absolutely love the concept of “circles”. Unlike Facebook and Twitter where you’re sharing stuff with everybody in your list, Google+ lets you create circles to separate people in groups. You can have a circle where you include friends, another for family members, and another for co-workers and a different one for your bosses. When you post a message, you can choose if to post it public, for all circle members to see, or limited to a circle or two. To add people in circles, use the cool drag-and-drop animation.
Google+ Hangouts: Hangouts is another brilliant concept and they say it’s the next best thing to teleportation. You can chat online with your friends or co-workers using your camera. Instead of chatting with each one separately, you can create a video meet-up and chat with how many people you want at the same time. I’ve actually never seen this on a social network.
Google+ Photos: Unlike Facebook’s photo album, Google+ also includes a photo editor that’s easy to use. You can create albums and share them with people from your circles.
Google+Sparks: Use it to find things you’re interested it and then share them with people in your different circles. This is not really an innovative idea, but it’s useful to have.
Google+ Mobile: I was surprised to see the simple and user-friendly mobile version of Google+. You can use the Instant Upload features to upload photos and videos and share them with whomever you want. Initially, uploads are stored in a private album so you can get to choose with whom you want to share them. Then there’s also Huddle, which is a simple messaging feature that allows you to write messages to all the people in a certain circle so you don’t have to send an individual message to each of them.
What do you think about Google+? If you already have an account, what’s your favorite feature?