Today we have seen the initial rollouts of Google, an interestin evolution of the Google product set and a significant step change from pure search player into full communications player – and perhaps now highlights just why Microsoft brought Skype a couple of months ago. The rollout is interesting – whilst there are obvious similarities with Facebook they have stopped short of producing a direct like for like competitor for the Facebook platform.
Initial impressions have been very favourable and the following video would suggest some promise:
So what does Google+ entail?
Circles: This may be where the initial circles concept came from and in some ways very similar to the way Twitter Lists work – and then some. Think XFN on steroids . Friends with Friends, colleagues with colleagues etcetera. Further to this these can overlap and be targeted either in isolation or as a group.
Sparks: Sparks helps you find content which interests you – and allows you to share this with your Circles. As you would expect from someone like Google this is something that looks as though it works very very well – and the ability to share it within context to groups of interest is something I haveto say looks very very well thought out.
Hangouts: When Google brought out Wave and Buzz – well lets just say the less said the better. However this actually looks a very sweet bit of kit – and in my opinion probably one of the reasons we have seen Microsoft take that massive investment in Skype. If this works as well as it looks well I am going to have a lot of fun. Whether one on one chats or group chats, Hangouts allows you to do just that….
Mobile: As with other products we have seen recently from Google, mobile is an increasingly major part of the Google psyche. Google+ is no different with two key products incorporated into this – along with the above funtionality. The Instant Upload facility is very very similar to that of Twitpic – however there is the obvious factor that all of this is incorporated into the Google framework.
In my opinion however Huddle could be an interesting player – particularly if you look at the success of similar framework such as Blackberry messaging. Not only can I see this being a trigger for people actually utilising much of the Google+ community but ultimately I actually think it may help other parts of the Google Armoury such as Android take up as this would be the natural extention of this within the mobile environment. If one looks at the takeup of Google+ within the younger demographics this could certainly be one to watch.
So is it a viable competitor to Facebook. Well my initial thought was no way, but actually this does look a very well thought out platform. Further to that it actually gives people a reason to join and give Google personal information, something I would argue has been one of the significant short comings of previous Google incarnations.
It also gives people outside of us SEO geeks a reason to join. I would suggest this isn’t going to be a quick thing however once there is a groundswell of people within the Google+ community I personally can see a significant growth spike of Google+.
Google+ is still in very limited rollout. If previous incarnations are anything to go by I would suggest we are likely to see a very quick migration of this into the open so I would be expecting invites to be received imminently. Whether its a success – well thats open to debate – however I would argue its certainly worth the hype