July 8 2011 // Education

Google+ Field Trial and Review

I've been testing the new Google+ social media site this week and so far I really dig it. I like the clean look and intuitive interface, and the simple way of categorizing the contacts you interact with. There are circles for friends, family, and acquaintances so when you post something, you choose which circles you want to share with (so your plans for Friday night aren't broadcast to Aunt Millie in Phoenix, for example).

You can customize circles and have as many as you want. Facebook allows categorizing contacts into lists but in my experience that an all or nothing sharing experience-- either people see your status updates or they don't. The Google+ circles work much better for those of us with multiple personalities. Here's the video Google made about Google+: http://bit.ly/ku5JZk.

Another feature incorporates video. You create a "hangout" for up to 10 of your friends where you can go interact via web cam. It's like the chat list on Facebook, with video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QN38vHZjWXw

The mobile app is pretty cool, too. There are "huddles" that allow for mobile messaging between a small group of people. I have two friends in a huddle to discuss all the highly important things the three of us are always texting about. It's an easier way for the three of us to continue the conversation.

You can click the +1 icon to add that article to your Google+ stream as something you thought was interesting or want to share with your contacts.

Notifications are built into the Google toolbar. I can also see how Google+ may work better for businesses, because they can be added to their own circle instead of showing up in a news feed along with your friends' updates. After a while I end up hiding those posts on Facebook. With Google+, those posts will be compiled in one place that I can visit when I am looking for a recommendation, special offer, or whatever.

I don't think this will replace Facebook or Twitter, but I like how Google+ takes some of my favorite features of those social media experiences and puts them into one place, with the clean look and ease I expect from Google.

Written By

Heather Creswell

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