When I was first invited to Google+ by fellow geek, Lynette Young, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was one of those people who really had high hopes for Google Wave and was, like most others, utterly let down when they finally delivered. So, at best, I figured it would be worth checking out. I certainly didn’t expect to find a social network that would inspire me to close up my Facebook account. I did notice an intense buzz surrounding Plus on other social networks though. I witnessed people literally begging for Google+ invites to their geek friends on Facebook. It was intriguing to say the least.
I logged in and started playing around. Because of how social networks have become a part of my daily life, I had no problems navigating around the site. I didn’t have any whimsical sense of magic or enlightenment, but there were a lot of moments punctuated with me thinking things like, “Oh, nice!” or “It’s about time someone implemented that!”.
The absolute standout feature is Circles. Circles is a new and clever way to manage the grouping of friends. Facebook had lists, but they were insanely under utilized. Google scored major points by focusing the entire network around Circles. Right away I thought of a few cool uses for Circles. For example, I created a Circle called “Local” and added everyone in my area. I also created a Circle for business and another for family. It’s really intuitive and easy to use.
Another feature that stood out was Hangouts. Hangouts are group video chats that are open to whatever Circles the creator specifies. Very cool! It only took Facebook a week or two to follow suit with Skype integration. However, Google+ wins this battle because of how simple it is.
I also took the time to download the Android App for Google+. I was immediately impressed with a few features, specifically the instant upload feature for photos and videos. Whenever I take a photo or video with my Android phone, it automatically uploads them to Google+ to a private folder that only I can see. I can then choose individual photos or videos to share on Google+…very cool!
So, what’s the final verdict? Well, I plan to delete my Facebook account within the next week or so. Yep. It’s that good!