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What's the Fuss about Google Plus?

Jessica Graham - Friday, July 01, 2011

Unless you've been living under a rock this week, you'll probably be aware that Google has just launched their ( third!) attempt to combat what is no doubt referred to at the Googleplex as 'That Little Facebook Problem'.

So without further ado (and if you'll 'scuse the pun), here are some standout +'s and -'s:

PLUS

*Privacy: Google+ allows you to drag and drop your contacts into different 'Circles' of friends, and then from there it's easy to choose which information is made public to which circles - compared to Facebook's traditionally nonchalant approach to your personal information.

*Integration of live video : Not only can you chat with friends face to face but as a group you can search for and watch videos on YouTube with ease…. Lets be honest, who wouldn't love a group session discussing the finer points of Rebecca Black lyrics?

*Collects and stores content based on your interests: The 'Sparks' feature does what Google does best by allowing you to save multiple key terms as interest topics. New content is then trawled daily from the web and aggregated for your browsing ease - in contrast to when you 'like' a brand on facebook, and are provided with only that-brand-specific information displayed in your newsfeed.

*Mobile Photo Uploads: Google+ has a snazzy feature which automatically uploads photos from your phone and stores them privately for you to sort through later on down the track at your leisure - throw out your USB cables people!

MINUS

*Where's my gamer apps?? Whilst I have no problems with a world sans-Farmville; at the moment there is no ability to host any games, which is a feature Facebook currently has over Plus in spades ...Although with the rise (and rise) in social gaming, this is surely something that won't be ignored by Google in the future.

*It is standalone - i.e. there are no integration services with other accounts - which is a bummer for those socialites who love to simultaneously broadcast their thoughts over multiple networks (e.g. twitter and LinkedIn) at the same time.

*It's Invite Only at this stage, so if you are lucky enough to be one of the 'chosen ones' with early access, you should feel special (ignoring the fact that your Plus network is probably severely depleted compared to your current Facebook friends) - and for the masses it smacks of exclusivity.

On a side note, something else to take into consideration is that at the moment there is really no way for businesses to tap into their audiences in the same way that Facebook allows 'fan pages'. Yes, you can '+1' on articles or websites that appear in your Google searches as effective 'recommendations', but it does make me wonder…. How does Google plan to make money from Plus? Watch this space.

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