Google + and 4 Other New Tech-y Things You’ll Love
Facebook and Twitter have just about taken over the world at this point. Almost every company in the world wants you to “like” them and I’ve yet to find any blog that isn’t covered in “tweet this” buttons. With this social media monopoly in full swing, it seems strange as to why anyone would try to challenge the virtual throne.
…Unless that someone is Google. In 2004 when Facebook was just starting to quietly kill a few Myspace accounts, Google offered to buy it, but was turned down. Their first social networking site, Google Wave, was basically a fail. Fast forward to 2007 when Google decided to try to convince Mark that selling out was the way to go. This rejection was the birth of Google +: the social networking site no one ever saw coming.
So what sets Google + apart from Facebook and Twitter? Well, just like any social networking site, you set up your profile with pictures and interests, but that’s just about the only thing Google + has in common with any other site.
First off, when you provide your interests and hobbies to your profile, Google automatically generates interesting stories and websites (called “Sparks”) completely relevant to what YOU want to see. No more annoying political posts from your conspiracy theorist friend or sports updates from that athlete you hooked up with once. What comes up in your feed is only what you want to see.
With Google +, you can go ahead and add your employer without worrying about your party pics or drunken status updates. The site allows you to create “Circles”- groups of contacts that vary in what content is visible. Therefore, you could put your boss or even potential employers into a “professional” circle, and people you know into your “BFF” circle. This feature eliminates the negative stigma when it comes to mixing social networking with business. Unlike Facebook, Google + actually encourages you to add your boss as a friend.
Once you’ve formed these circles, you can do so much more than just send them a message or post on their profile. “Hangouts” allow you to have massive video chats within a particular circle or between people who have all checked into the same location (kind of like some weird Foursquare crossover). If you’re not up for video chatting, you can also create text chat rooms perfect for when you’re trying to communicate with a bunch of people at the same time.
Aside from all these great features, Google + is clean cut and professional looking. Unlike Facebook, it’s not flooded with ads and the design is very simple. Right now Google + is by invitation only, but I bet you know someone who already has it. Ask around, get your invite, and hop on the next trend in social networking before it becomes “too mainstream.”
Oh, and if you’re willing to take it another few steps further, here are some of the latest tech-y devices you should be in the know about!