July 5, 2011

Google+: A brand new – and still developing – social network. Can it last?

Early last week, Google hit the news with their latest development. By now, everyone has heard of Google+, the latest platform in the world of social media and the company’s third attempt at a social networking site. Could this third time be the charm?
After months of leaks and speculation, Google+ was officially released – sort of. The site is currently on trial period – only available to a limited number of users – in the hopes that this will settle any issues before a complete launch. This is a smart move for the website, whose past two attempts have flopped. Perhaps by easing into the launch and allowing users to test and provide feedback on the developing site, Google will be able to fine tune and craft a worthy competitor to Zuckerberg’s Facebook.
And so far it seems to be heading in the right direction. Many were quick to label it as a Facebook knock off, but those lucky enough to receive an invite to Google+ have found it to be an interesting and refreshing social media outlet.
For starters, the site is simple and clean – a welcomed change from the clutter that has become Facebook’s homepage. It looks clean, and more importantly, makes the site easy to navigate and understand.
Another plus for the site is the feature Circle which has received a lot of mention for its unique way of organizing contacts. Ads for Google+ have emphasized the way in which we categorize individuals in our daily lives – friends, family, coworkers – so Circles is implementing those categories into its site. Now you can share what you want with who you want – a feature that makes Google+ more specific and specialized than other networks when it comes to connecting and interacting with people. Unlike Facebook, you can choose what you do and don’t want your boss and parents to see – we all know that some things are for friends only.
It’s clear that Google+ definitely has some unique and interesting features that make it stand out. But the question right now is if they are enough to keep the momentum building. Will the limited trial work in its favor? As it stands, the website must rely on word of mouth to build its base of followers – most of which will be people already well established with their previous networking sites. Google+ will need something that will tip the scales in their favor over other sites. Will these features be enough? At this point, only time will tell, but it seems to be heading in the right direction.

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