The Google+ Project

Google+, or “Plus”, is a new social media project from our friends at Google. Some have deemed it a “Facebook Killer”, others are just breathing a sigh of relief as they are able to share news and content without being bothered with Framville and Mafia invites..Whether you already have an invite and are trying to navigate your way through a new network, or you are eager to understand how it works before you join, here’s the inside scoop from someone who has been using it since it launched in alpha!

1) Circles.
This is the central feature that really sets Plus apart from other networks like Facebook. They are bascially graphic representations of your “circles” of friends. You classify different people into one or more groups, either with the included suggestions such as Friends, Accquaintances, and Family, or make your own. What’s awesome is that everyone in your circles don’t know what group they are in.. thats just for your own classification purposes. Once these groups are made, you choose what circles to share each post with, or individuals, who can also be included as clickable by adding an @ or a + in front of their name

2) Hangouts
These are also a wonderful feature. Basically public-ish video hangouts. You can start one and invite any circles your want into the mix, and they get a notification on their feed that you are “hanging out” Then they can join if they wish, and you can text or voice/video chat about whatever you wish!

3) Instant Upload!
Amazingly quick uploading of content from your mobile phone to your stream… you can enable content to automatically be shared with your circles whether its photos or video. If you have an Android phone, you can already take advantage of this feature… coming soon to the native iPhone app (still in review in the App Store)

4) Sparks
These are quickly searchable interests… sort of like a collection of the best of the best RSS feeds on specific subjects. You can search for things you are curious about or are a fan of, save those into your sparks list, and then, when you are bored or have some time to kill, you can browse these lists, and reshare stuff you like to various circles that you follow

6) Huddles
This is a great feature, and only available on the mobile platform and dedicated apps. Allows a circle to “chat” with each other while planning events.. so instead of texting multiple people back and forth, you can all make plans in real-time.

Over the last few weeks, Google+ has already attracted 10 million users, who share 1 billion items a day!! Will this be the decline of the current giant Facebook, who has already become more or less purely a money making machine for advertisers?

It has already seen its numbers drop somewhat in North America, as youth drop their profiles in protest of their parents joining up, and as it normalizes its presence as a social requirement. Will Twitter and other social media sites join this trend? Naturally any network cannot expect to reach more than 50% saturation.. how will it continue to thrive at this point? Only time will tell…

Oh, and if anyone wants a G+ invite, I might have a few to give out…

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