Google+ – 10 First Impressions of Google’s “Facebook Killer”
THE GOOD, THE BAD…AND THE MEH
Google+ has been out for under 6 months now, and early adapters have been on the social network for the majority of that time. However, most of the Internet-using public is still not actively using the new social network. The following is our impression of Google’s new social network, after being on Google+ for a few months now.
Angry Birds worked faster on Google+ than it does as my Chrome browser game, and I really like the “beat your friends’ scores” aspect of it.
Here is far and away the best feature where Google+ destroys Facebook and Twitter and every other social network that’s not blog-centric. Google+ allows you to avoid embarrassing spelling and grammatical errors by giving you the ability to edit your posts after posting them.
As a light aside, even internet trolls can now take part in the great tool “edit” is for your posts. Because nothing is worse than calling someone out as an “idiot” for having misspellings when you yourself have grammatical and spelling errors when you write something like “your a ideot!!”
Hang outs are great, especially when celebrities start them. Newt Gingrich started a hangout at the beginning of his career and whether or not you agreed or disagreed with his politics it was really great to see him there on a web chat with a number of other Google+ users.
With hangouts, you can also record them for viral and social media marketing usage later.
Some people (who probably love the perpetual noise of Twitter) really love the streams for Google+. I, on the other hand, find any activity stream confusing. Whether you’re on Google+, the latest Facebook, or Twitter, when you have more than a few dozen follows there’s so much noise and clutter that you have to almost get “lucky” to find something good.
Yes, you can filter your streams in the new Facebook and on Google+, but it still doesn’t seem to be the optimal user experience to me. Facebook’s new stream is ridiculously confusing at first, with the ticker, Top Stories vs Recent Stories and all the game and app notification floods … but after you get used to it it makes more sense.
The Google+ stream, on the other hand, is confusing as to why certain people can “share information” with me when I didn’t approve them to, or care about reading their posts, certain people always appear at the top of my stream, even if their posts were created over 24 hours ago, and following celebrities like Guy Kawasaki is completely useless because he has automated/staff updates literally every hour or so throughout the day which ends up clogging your stream.
You cannot post a status update, link, or anything when viewing your profile, which is odd, because it’s your profile you’re going to be posting to, so why make you go back to the stream (or, Home) to post a stream?
Also, you cannot post on someone’s wall or profile. You have to mention them in a post and select the appropriate privacy setting.
Messaging on Google+ is by far it’s biggest failure. Not everyone is going to see all the stream items you intend only for them. Every social network stream is inherently full of so much noise that a private message isn’t guaranteed to be found easily. Yes, you will get notifications of someone tagging you to help bring the post to your attention, but nothing is like a Direct Message.
On Google+, if you want to send someone a direct message or private message you have to “email” them. What if I just want to send a quick “Happy Birthday!” or posting a link which relates to a friend’s favorite team, a video which speaks to something you both may have shared recently. There really should be the freedom to go on their profile and make a post.
NO BUSINESS/BRAND PAGES:
Google says they’re working on this, and I’m sure they’re going to come up with some great solutions, but not allowing people to create a business page now that Google+ is public and free for all is a little strange. Google+ has 40 million profiles now, and to assume that people aren’t going to use this for business is odd. People are creating business profiles anyway, and Google+ has been deleting some of those…when they find them out.
…AND THE MEH
PREVIEW IMAGE FOR LINKS:
The way Google+ links is superior to Facebook and Twitter, because the preview images are bigger, and Google+ seems to recognize more on-page text than Facebook does.
However, Facebook allows you to edit the title and text preview of the link you’re trying to share, whereas on Google+ you cannot edit the title and can only “delete text.” Why is this a big deal? Because certain sites have SEO page titles which may or may not be Keyword-driven. If it’s a blog post, this is fine, as it’s usually an accurate representation of the link you’re sharing. Although sharing a website’s home page, which has their keywords before their company title for better SEO, then we’re stuck with what we got. Example, Circle Marketing’s Page Name is “Website Design | Small Business Marketing …. Circle Marketing.” This is great for SEO, but when you share that general link in your Google+ stream, you can’t edit that down to “Circle Marketing” for better stream-viewing, like you can on Facebook.
Google+ allows for some pretty nice Facebook integration, and this will help some people ease into the idea of a new social network. Those who are embracing Google+ more than those who are Facebookers first, can help ease the late-adopters by drip feeding them all the fun they’re having on Google+
A word to those evangelists, try posting about the great things Google+ has to offer, like the absence of ads, the fun social aspect of playing a fun and very popular game like Angry Birds vs those in your Circles, and other things you feel Google+ does better than Facebook.
There is currently no advertising on Google+ and that’s a good thing from the user’s perspective. However, we all know it’s eventually going to happen, so it’s really how will Google+ integrate ads and/or sponsored posts which will determine how evasive the ads are for the average user and also how effective the ads will be for advertisers.
Judging by how AdSense and AdWords works now, you should probably expect to find something of a hybrid, like Facebook Ads. This way, you can combine the best of text and image advertising with a format users are familiar with and won’t be too taken aback by.
Google+ is going to have to make some immediate changes if they hope to keep growing and eventually compete with Facebook for ubiquitous and singular serious market share Facebook enjoys. The social network is already losing traffic, which is down almost half since it’s peak a couple months ago. Google+ has recently announced a couple new features. For example, the social network will be supporting pseudonyms and other forms of identity, and will also finally offer the ability to use Google Apps now. These aren’t really the bigger, more beneficial changes we were hoping for, but they’re obviously still working hard and some of the things we would like to see aren’t exactly quick fixes.
If you’re a social media and social network junkie and you have to jump on the next things quickly, then go for it. Google+ will be yet another way for you to share snippy one-liners and another way to share that video of a cat flushing a toilet. If you’re a business owner, marketer, or sales person, then you, too, will want to get on Google+ because networking is good wherever the venue may be. For the vast majority of people out there, however, it’s definitely not going to give you what Facebook already gives you better. Sure, there are a few more “pluses” with Google+ over Facebook, but overall it’s not even close to a must-use for the average social media user.
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