Google+ is fast becoming an Internet sensation as was evident earlier last week when Google was forced to suspend Google+ invite following an “insane demand” for its social networking service. But does it have what it takes to challenge Facebook and other existing social networking sites?
Google+, unlike previous social networking products/services launched by Google, is here to stay. Though it is in the beta version, yet, it has met with overwhelming response and rumor has it that even the Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also opened a Google+ account.
Why? Because Google+ has several amazing features that promise to change the way we interact, socialize and connect to others over the Internet.
1) Circles - The Circles concept more closely follows the way you organize your contacts in real life. We meet different kinds of people everyday and interact with them in many different ways. Circles offers a simple means of organizing one's social network by grouping contacts into anything you can possibly imagine - family, friends, co-workers, etc. The groups can be formed by dragging the contact's picture/photo over a circle that represents the group (a group of people can also be dragged over a circle!)
2) Stream – Stream helps you receive instant updates from your friends and other contacts in your Circles list. It helps you decide and choose which circles and individuals you want to share your information with.
3) Sparks – Sparks pulls in stories, videos and other cool content relating to your specific interest. According to Google, the content in Sparks stream is different from the results you'd get if you put the same term into the search engine. Through Sparks, you can get an instant fountain of relevant information to share with friends. After you are asked to choose from a list of possible interests (biking, sailing, etc.), or to put your own specific interest, Google+ goes out and searches almost completely on-topic content from all over the Web.
4) Hangouts - Hangouts allows up to 10 users to video chat. All users can speak simultaneously and the loudest speaker takes the center stage.
5) Huddle - Huddle is a group SMS conversation feature where mobile phone numbers of members will be visible to all.
6) Instant Upload – Instant Upload allows the user to upload pictures and videos directly from the phone
Google+ also has amazing privacy features which will put Facebook to crying shame. It allows you choose which Circles you want to share that content with. Also, it lets you know clearly that the information you contribute to Google+ will be used to help refine search results.
Another advantage Google+ has over Facebook is their data liberation, which allows you to pack up and take your data away from Google+ should you decide to leave the service.
This is a big plus for Google as privacy has always been Facebook’s Achilles’ heel as users have complained how difficult it is to leave Facebook and take their stuff with them.
The billion dollar question now is – can Google+ shake the existing order of social networking sites and successfully claim the throne?
Click on the slideshow to learn more about the top 10 social networking sites out there and whether Google+ can top them all.
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