Google Plus has been quickly growing and has shown that it has a lot of potential. I have actually been using Google Plus more recently than both Facebook and Twitter. There are many features that Google Plus has, but Facebook and Twitter either doesn’t have or some features that are offered but are not well implemented. Google Plus is a much simpler social network that doesn’t have all the extra non-sense that Facebook has but, isn’t essential to social networking like apps. In fact, this week Google Plus just got games although I personally don’t use them on either network it may persuade people to join Google Plus since they are used to having games on Facebook. I like the fact that it is more minimalist and focuses more other the content than extra features like apps that clutter up social networks and distract the users. Facebook has so much extra on it that I have no interest in and gets in the way of me reading more interesting posts. Here are the killer Google Plus features that Facebook needs to respond to and implement well, to prevent being out-done by Google Plus.
Circles allow users to group their friends (which is not shared with friends) and lets you choose who to share content with. For example, you may want to share information about a family gathering only with your family so you can just share that post with your “Family” circle. You can also share posts with multiple Circles as well making permissions simple and actually fun. Facebook and Twitter both have listing features to group friends but, they don’t let you choose who you can share posts with, but instead only lets you filter content. Facebook lets you choose to share with friends, friends of friends, networks and other limited groups but not the same way as Google Plus. Google Plus gives you a lot more control over who can see you posts and gives you more options for privacy that Facebook and Twitter’s lists just don’t offer. Also, circles on Google Plus are easy to use and very well designed; while lists are very primitive and not the least bit intuitive on Facebook and Twitter.
Pictures on Google Plus are well implemented and easy to use, mainly because they are integrated with Google’s Picassa Web Gallery which was already a well established service. Pictures on Facebook have always been a headache, it’s a pain to upload and albums are limited to 60 pictures. It is for this reason that I post very few pictures on Facebook. Twitter has third-party picture sharing services like Y-Frog and TwitPic but that’s only for single pictures, not albums of pictures which is fine because single photos are all you need on Twitter since it is short form content. The other great feature of Google Plus pictures is that permissions can be set using circles giving users the same controls they have over other content over their pictures as well.
Hangouts are one of the most compelling features of Google Plus which allows up to 20 people video chat at once. Facebook has a video chat feature but it’s only for one-on-one calling. I’m not saying that Facebook needs a hangout-esque feature but, it is something Google Plus has that Facebook doesn’t. It is one of those features that can draw attention whether it’s something mainstream users want or not.
What doesn’t Google Plus have? Well, the main thing that Google Plus lacks that both Facebook and Twitter have is a strong user base. As of the writing of this article, Google Plus has approximately 25 million users, Facebook has 750 Million and Twitter has 200 Million. This is largely because Google Plus is currently still in a private, invite-only beta test meaning you can only join if your invited. If you would like an invite, click this link! I am offering free invites to my readers, as of the writing of this post I have 144 invitations remaining, and if you join you should be able to invite people too and further grow the network by inviting your friends. I urge you to try this network it is a great new social network that really gives Facebook some good competition. The other thing that Google Plus is missing, as is Facebook is a native iPad app, they both have iPhone apps that can be run at double size, but, a native iPad app will be very important as tablets continue to grow. I think that Google Plus, as it grows, may be a real competitor for Facebook once it is given time to grow and Facebook will need to really innovate to remain relevant.