Google Plus: What’s with all the fuss? Part 1 of 2

Google +Google Plus (officially spelled Google+) is The Big G’s answer to Facebook. It’s not the first time that Google has attempted to compete with the social media king. Remember Wave? The big difference is that Google Plus is picking up traction with over 25 million users, and it’s still only in beta!

Google Plus has a minimalist appearance, yet still resembles the interface of Facebook. There are some added features and benefits that Facebook doesn’t have:

  • No 420 maximum character count per post
  • More privacy through “Circles”, which allows you to drag and drop friends into different circles and only allow access to posts by clicking on the group
  • A non-SMS group chat application for mobile users called “Huddle”
  • Video based group chat that allows you to invite others within a circle to join along called “Hangouts”
  • More advanced media that shows pictures with more clarity and allows location-based check-ins to add pictures while you do it

How Does Google Plus Work?

You must have a Gmail and an invitation from another user to start a Google Plus account. Google Plus was launched in beta testing mode on June 28, 2011, though it’s not hard to get an invite. Just ask a user there to send you one. Rumours have also circulated that if you fill out your Google Profile, you are more likely to receive an invite. Google Plus was expected to go public on July 31, 2011, but the date has been moved back (more on this later).

Once you have your invite, you can start checking things out. Using your Gmail, you can go through your contact list and add friends. You have some basic groups already there for you to add to, such as “Work”, “Friends”, and “Family”. You can also get more creative such as “Internet Marketing Extraordinaires” or “Quilting” circles as a couple of examples. Look around, try a hangout if you’d like. It’s really easy to use if you’ve ever used Facebook.

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