Is Google+ A Game Changer?

Hola compadres!

Its been a minute since we last spoke, but a lot has happened! Let's dish!

Recently, Google launched "Google+," their latest attack in a series of social media enhancements designed to compete with Facebook. But is Google+ the future of online social networking?

The answer (surprise, surprise) is yes and no.

The largest positive that Google+ has is that the service has learned from 7 years of Facebook's mistakes. The interface is clean, organized and adopts a Twitter-like ideology - you "follow" people instead of friending them. This means that relationships on Google+ are not immediately reciprocal - you can follow me and get my updates, but I don't have to follow you.

Google+ employs a system called "circles" - you can put people in specific circles and moderate how much of your content they see, and how much of theirs appears on your feed. Its largely analogous to Facebook's "list" feature - but the entire site is predicated upon this tool, as opposed to the afterthought that is a "list" on Facebook.

Google has smartly integrated video chatting into Google+ with its "Hangouts" feature, which allows you to seamlessly videochat with up to ten people - and rather sweetly, if I do say so myself.

After living with Google+ for the last week or so, I think its a pretty great service - but I check in about once a day, as opposed to pretty much every half hour on Facebook. Why is this?

I surmise its because for quite a few of us, the negatives of Facebook (EVERYONE CAN SEE YOUR PROFILE! CHAT IS TERRIBLE! THE SOCIAL NETWORK! MARK ZUKERBERG IS EVIL!) pale in comparison to the positives, i.e a relatively stable platform with over 750 million active members.

The big question is: how will businesses fare on this new social network?

Those of us who have been fortunate enough to get invites during this "field trial" have noticed something quite extraordinary - there are almost no business on Google+ right now. None. That's because Google has encouraged businesses to stay off of the network for the time being, as they plan to launch Google+ Business pages later this year.

"Right now we're very much focused on optimizing for the consumer experience, but we have a great team of engineers building a similarly optimized business experience for Google+," said Christian Oestlien, Google+'s product manager.

So, should your credit union rush out and clamor to get invites for every branch?

Right now, no. Google+ is a robust social networking plartform with a bright future. There are still bugs and kinks, but thats to be expected. The general sentiment of Google+ right now is that its a nice, clean space free of targeted marketing and businesses, so business "Pages" are discouraged.

The hugest "plus" of Google+ is that Facebook now has a worthy contender, and it will only serve to create a thriving, more competitive market for these two internet behemoths.

What are your thoughts? Are yall on Google+? Do you even care about it? Let me know in the comments section!

DeAndre