My geekiness was sealed by an invitation to be a Beta user of Google+ prior to its general availability. Was it a compliment or an insult? It is up to you to decide, but I will be kind enough to share my experience with you regardless. 😀
It is a new social networking site, powered by Google, rumored to be a rival of Facebook and good enough to replace it.
Seeing Google+ the first time reminds me of when I first joined Facebook. There is one thing on Google+ that makes me shiver.
Unlike Facebook where users need to fill out their personal information to populate their profile, Google+ auto populated certain information to my profile (such as places I’ve worked and lived, coupled with pins on a mini size of Google Map). It must have pulled the information from my other Google accounts or from the information that has been captured by Google Search Engine database.
Thankfully, there is an option to update the privacy setting to share the right stuff to the right people. But.. the more I think about it, the more creepy it gets on how information are being stored and used on the net ; and once it is there, it is there to stay. Anyone, with little effort, may be able to dig through your deepest secret without you knowing it. (There are ways to remove your information from the net, but that’s another story for another day).
Google+ Main Page
Once you are logged in, takes you to a page that is similar to Facebook’s main page (only simplified).
Facebook “What’s on your mind” status and Google+ Stream
Just like Facebook “Status”, Google+ Stream is a place you can post your status, upload photo/video, share a link, or check in to a location.
Facebook “Friends” and Google+ Circles
On Facebook, friends grouping feature is available, but you need to make an extra effort to create customized “Friends List”and group your friends into different list category with different privacy levels. Google+ Circles on the other hand is one built-in feature that Facebook lacks. When a new person is added as your Google+ friend, you are given an option to drag and drop him/her into a specifc circle. I use my real social connection when deciding which circle a friend will be categorized into. Google+ circle categories are Friends, Family, Acquintances, and Following (like Twitter following). You can also create a new customized circle based on your preference.
Customizing your personal profile information for your circles is also an option.
Facebook Photo Album and Google+ Picassa Web Album
Just like Facebook, Google+ allows you to create photo albums and change profile pictures. Google+ web photo album is powered by Picassa. The albums you’ve shared can be tagged and shared by others. Google+ allows you to choose your audience of whom you want to share the photo albums and pictures with. You can also tag someone on your uploaded pictures, they will receive a notification and can see who else the picture is shared with.
Facebook “LIKE” and Goggle+ “+1”
Google+ is also equipped with the same feature as the Facebook “LIKE”. It is called the +1 button. To me, the +1 button is like a sign of approval and recommendation.
Facebook Chat and Google+ Chat
Same old, same old.
Facebook does not have this feature. Google+ Hangouts is a place to connect with friends in your circles in your real time, using a live webcam. I read that you could also watch a YouTube video together with friends online. It is powered by Google Talk gadget and a video plug in. I haven’t used this feature, but can’t imagine that it will be too far from Skype.
Facebook Mobile and Google+ Mobile.
Facebook has Facebook mobile and smartphone app. Google+ has Google Mobile which can be accessed here. Google+ currently has a native and web app for Android and iOS 4 platforms, but BlackBerry platform devices can access through the web app only (boo!).
What do you think? Overall, my experience with Google+ is a plus. One thing I dread on doing after its launch is to re-add friends all over again.