Last month, Google released a major upgrade to it’s Google+ Social platform. While Google has struggled to make Google+ the premier social destination (they claim to have more than 170 million users at this time), they have been unable to garner the following of Facebook or even Twitter for that matter. Of course, they want to change all that. With a slew of new features, and more on the way, does it stand a chance?
New Navigation – the Way You Want It
Gone is the almost-hidden navigation bar across the top. Now, users get a customizable ribbon, complete with hoverable quick-actions, that runs down the left hand side that can reorganize and change as you see fit
Conversation Cards with Big Photos
As you interact on Google+, your conversations turn into large, colorful activity streams with big photos and videos that enhance the experience. You can also keep an eye on “Trending on Google+” (taken from Twitter), and join other conversation on topics that interest you.
Hangouts – The Killer Feature
What really separates Google+ from Facebook is it’s Hangouts feature. Hangouts let you have real-time video chats with people in your circles, at any time. In addition, you can look for other public Hangouts across Google+ that have topies that interest you, sometimes occasionally hosted by celebrities. Developers can even develop Hangout-compatible apps to take advantage of the platform and come up with some pretty cool custom uses for it, such as real-time collaboration.
Where’s The Wall?
I have played with Google+ for a while, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to interact with a person in my circle without having to comments on a post they made. On Facebook, you click on your friend’s name, and righta t the top of their Timeline is a box for you to “write on their wall”. But on Google+, this capability is missing. I would have to find your last post, and comment on it in order to communicate with you. Perhaps the ability is there and I haven’t found it (I’ll be the first to admit I an new to Google+), and I understand their desire to be “different” from Facebook. But isn’t the Facebook “wall ” concept the quintessential feature of Facebook that has made it so popular? Shouldn’t there be some similar functionality on Google+, which is the ability to start up a public conversation with someone in your circle?
Are you a Facebook user who has tried to make the jump to Google+ and use some of it’s exciting new features? We’d love to hear your thoughts on how it stacks up to the leader.