Two weeks ago, Google released the most recent addition to the Google suite, and potential Facebook rival, “Google+”. This Facebook look-alike has been extremely well-received and is estimated to acquire its 10 millionth user today if it has not already. Although user numbers lag well behind the social networking giant (Facebook’s latest announcement says they are up to 750 million users), the steep rate of increase for Google+ users has many in the industry taking note and watching closely.
Google+ is currently in beta, and is offered by invitation only. Earlier this week, the number of users had reached an internal threshold, and the “invite” button was temporarily turned off. Soon after, Google re-added the button and has seen an extremely fast growth rate ever since.
If you do receive an invitation to join Google+, one of the first things you will notice is the ability to group your contacts into “Circles”, which you can name “family”, “friends”, “work colleagues”, etc. When you post a comment, just as you would in Facebook, you will have the opportunity to choose which of those circles you want your comment to go to, if not to everyone. Yes, this technology is also available on Facebook, but is not nearly so easy to use.
Other features Google+ offers include the ability to create “hangouts” with contacts using your webcam and adding your areas of interest under the “Sparks” section with their own live stream. Google seems to be rapidly developing and changing areas of Google+ as criticisms and requests pour in, so there are sure to be additions coming soon.
For mobile users, Google+ is currently offering an Android app and is in discussion with Apple regarding an iPhone app as well.
It is yet to be seen whether or not Google+ will actually “take hold” and become a true rival to Facebook, but so far users are receiving the new platform very well. Facebook is currently blocking any browser extensions that would allow users to transfer their Facebook friends to Google+, but you will be able to get around that obstacle if you have a Yahoo email account.
According to Titan Growth President, Danny Shepherd, “Social networking will obviously play a big role in the future of online marketing if Google is willing to take on Facebook. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.”
Contributed by Amanda Finch, VP Operations