Google+

5 07 2013

Google offers a hardly comprehensible and understandable variety of services and apps. It seems to me that if somebody has something in his mind Google brings it to the public and does not say NO like Apple does when trying to limit capabilities to the needs of it’s customers.

There are different opinions about these two completely different strategies. A little bit more ‘What users want and need AND are able to manage‘ would be a step forward for both companies.

Wrong concepts cannot be healed by ever increasingly FAQ pages.
So the most important point is a consistent integration of services into a limited number of apps or web pages with equal functionalities and user interfaces.

Tablets are massively gaining popularity and it’s annoying to see some options in an app developed for tablets and others which are only accessible via a corresponding website. It’s not enough to turn an app into an eye catcher and abandon the consistency between functionalities available on websites and tablet apps.

This is a noteworthy discrepancy.

Google is the only big company massively involved in social media and with it’s Android OS in development of mobile devices as well.
Admittedly we are in the middle of a transitional phase from Laptop to Tablet but who else should be able to bridge the gulf between laptop and tablet era if Google does not?

Success is not a question of more complexity but of following the KISS principle. There is no need for more than 200 options to control access to social media and response from connections. Ever growing capabilities might be useful in sector specific software like SAP or Microsoft Dynamics which is daily used and managed by professionals. But the overwhelming number of people engaged in social media just want an easy-to-use communication platform.

Look at Google’s Dashboard for displaying and editing all your Google account settings.

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It’s not only the complexity of account settings but also the system behavior which is not necessarily predictable. So many good ideas sink into insignificance.

My two articles about G+ will give you an overview of the features and some details of using the mobile apps on iOS devices.

Why G+?

Wikipedia lists 198 SMs while social-media.entrepreneur.com lists 256.
When it comes to the most popular SM sites
eBiz lists Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest
Social Networking Watch lists Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest
and others say Google+ outranks Twitter as #2 SM after Facebook.

And here are the latest social media facts on

Jeff Bullas Blog

I cannot really trust any stats published especially when it’s mentioned as an overall ranking. Country, active users (by the way what are active users), amount of content, sex, age, or what are the criteria for ranking?

Is an active user characterized by just accessing his account, give +1 or Likes, comments, or even contributes with self-created content? I didn’t find authors writing about stats and defining this strange person.

For most of the people privately engaged in SMs it’s not of importance anyway. It’s more important to get what you are looking for. So it can be Flickr, LinkedIn, BlackPlanet, Busuu, or any other network.

My very personal opinion is:

G+ combines the best features of all social media systems and is not bound to any special content or media type. There are highly interesting communities with sophisticated content.

The strongest competitors …Twitter is just a notification system. Twitter accounts only contain pointers to content. G+ is far away from the ordinary bubbles on Twitter, which are contentless per design and just a forwarding system like SMSs with an automated distribution list.
In so far it’s one of the worst system to organize information because it’s completely unstructured.
Admittedly there are strong benefits when it comes to spread important information all over the world e.g. information about the Arab Spring.
Facebook allows content management but it does not really allow to structure and summarize content you are interested in.
Many other well-known SMs are limited in their targets or there is no suitable app for iOS devices available.

Look here for another assessment of SM stats

ON THE WEBB Social media services

You may ask why I present these links and simultaneously talk about the unimportance of those stats for the people. Well, people need stats and in many cases authors give some additional information which is quite interesting and helps in forming an opinion.

So let’s have a look on some other facts regarding Google+.

Chronological outline of G+ …

2011-06-28 Launch

In the Home Stream users see updates from those in their Circles. There is an input box which allows users to enter a post. Along with a text entry field there are icons to upload and share photos, photo albums, videos, and links. The Stream can be filtered to show only posts from specific Circles and Communities.

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G+ has a +1 button to allow people to recommend sites and comments, similar in use to Facebook’s Like button. With the implementation of the +1 button, Google hopes to make search results more appreciable.

Search in Google+ allows users to search for content just within G+. Users type keywords into the G+ search box, and Google returns people, comments, as well as popular content from around the world.

Circles enable users to organize people into groups for sharing across various Google products and services. Although other users may be able to view a list of people in a user’s collection of Circles, they cannot view the names of those Circles. The privacy settings also allow users to hide the users in their Circles as well as who has them in their Circle. Organization is done through a drag-and-drop interface on the G+ website and a more simple assigning system on mobile devices. It’s similar to Facebook’s friends list.
Since 2011 users can share Circles; it’s a one-time share, so if the creator of the Circle updates the members, people’s shared copies won’t be updated.
Another function of Circles is to control the content of one’s Home Stream. A user may click on a Circle on the left side of the page and the Stream portion of the page (the center) will contain only posts shared by users in that Circle. For the unsegmented Stream (includes content from all of a user’s Circles), each Circle has an amount option with three settings: more, standard, and fewer. Don’t ask me how the underlying algorithm works.
There are default Circles like Friends, Family, etc. which can be renamed at any time. The Following Circle is described as ‘People you don’t know personally, but whose posts you find interesting.’

Messenger is a feature available to Android, iPhone, and SMS devices for communicating through instant messaging within Circles. Additionally, users can now share photos in Messenger between their Circles.

Instant Upload is specific to mobile devices; it stores photos or videos in a private album for sharing later.

2011-08-18 Hangouts

Hangouts are places used to facilitate group video chat (with a maximum of 10 people participating in a single Hangout at any point in time). Only G+ users can join the Hangout if they happen to possess the unique URL of the Hangout. There are some country-specific limitations. Users cannot start a Hangout On Air from China, Thailand, Vietnam, and some other countries.
Mobile Hangouts supports devices with front cameras.
Hangouts On-Air gives users the ability to create instant webcasts over G+ which can be recorded for later access.

2011-10-12 Hashtags

Hashtags (known from Twitter, starting with # and completed by a term) are linked to the most recent or highest-trending search results within G+ containing the term.

2011-10-27 What’s hot

What’s hot Stream is a stream showing what G+ users are excited about. It’s a separate choice in the Home stream and there are no settings available.

Ripples is a visualisation tool, showing how resharing activity happens regarding a public post. One can replay the public share’s activity, zoom in on certain events, identify top contributors, view statistics about average chain length, the most influential people in the chain, the language of the sharers, etc.

Google+ Creative Kit is an online photo editor integrated to Google+ which is essentially Picnik, integrated earlier to Picasa Web Albums.

2011-11-07 Google+ Pages

Google+ Pages allows entities which are not individuals (such as organizations, companies, and publications) to set up profiles, or pages, for the posting and syndication of posts. It is similar to Facebook’s similarly named feature. At the same time, Google changed the site’s logo and favicon, from black to a red one, matching the colour of the coral notification icon.

2012-05-30 Google+ Local

Google+ Local replaced Google Places, which now integrates directly with the Google+ service to allow users to post photos and reviews of locations directly to its page on the service. Additionally, Google+ Local and Maps also now feature detailed reviews and ratings from Zagat, who was acquired by Google in September 2011.

2012-06-27 Google+ Events

Google+ Events allows users to add events, invite people, and then share photos and media in real-time from the event. The program is integrated with Google Calendar, and is posed as a direct competitor to similar features offered by Facebook.

2012-12-06 Google+ Communities

Google+ Communities allow users to create ongoing conversations about particular topics. Google+ Communities can also be created and managed under Google+ Page accounts.

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New Features of G+ Mobile …

Since the launch of G+, Google has been adding and improving many features:

Improved SMS support so that users can now post to G+, receive notifications, and respond to group messages via SMS. They have also made it easier to +mention someone from a mobile device. Now, to +mention another user, one simply writes +[their name] inside a post or comment. In order to +1 comments more easily, users are now able to +1 them directly from their iOS devices.

Users are now able to edit their profile photos from a mobile device and parts of the profile content.

Google has now made it simple to organize G+ notifications from a mobile device. This feature allows users to select which notifications are important to them and which are not so that their mobile devices are not hit by a massive bit radiation.

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My next article completes this topic with a detailed feature description of the G+ app for iOS devices along with some notes about what you cannot do on your mobile device at the time.

Summary …

Google+ is a fascinating offer in the market of social media.
G+ is directly accessible from the toolbar of all browsers once you are logged in to your account. This makes sharing of website and other content highly comfortable.
G+ measures up to expectations of many different types of users as there are

Creators of content

People who share other’s content

People who share already shared content

People who share hardly understandable bubbles in a completely unstructured environment

People with a strong inward urge to get social recognition usually without creating content by themselves

whereas other platforms are more bounded to their clientele as typed further up.

Related links …

Google+ Features

Google+ Get Started

Settings for Google+

How Not To Use Google+

About Social Media

Alexa Top Sites

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