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Google+ Just ‘Another’ Social Network?

google+ iconOn Tuesday 28th June Google launched Google+, its latest attempt to conquer the social world. With the failure of Google Wave and Buzz hanging over their heads, Google held its breath and rolled out the ‘invite only’ entry to create a Google+ profile.

In just over 2 weeks Google+ surpassed 10 million users and 1 billion items were being shared everyday.

So far, so good…

Having spoken to several people over the last week to gauge reactions there seems to be two main camps: (1) the ‘not another’ social network camp and (2) the ‘it has some great features and I love it already’ camp.

I completely understand the feelings of the first group. To those who don’t live and breathe the online social world, adding another platform to the mix will seem very daunting, however there are definitely some powerful reasons to considered getting involved on Google+

Power Features of Google+


Google+ has circles which allows you to group your contacts however you wish, so you can have a ‘family’ circle, a ‘work’ circle, a ‘friends’ circle etc. You can name the circles however you want and the people you place in each circle will only be told that you have added them to a circle, not the name of the circle. So you are free to divide up your contacts however you see fit and in complete privacy.

This also means that when you post a comment, share an article or photo, that you can limit which circles see the post. Meaning you can share photos of your family holiday with your parents, but the photos from your night in the pub with friends.

This is a particularly powerful feature and although (if you dig deep enough) you could do the same thing with Facebook, it was clunky to use, whereas Google+ does it with ease.

Related: Google Might Improve Your Relationships


Google’s answer to Skype. Google chat already allowed video calls through Gmail, but these hangouts allow for multiple users to video chat, something skype will only allow on their paid plan.

Anyone can start a hangout and up to 10 people can join and video chat.

Rumours have already been circulating that Dell plan to use Hangouts for customer service.


Huddle allows you to group text people in your circle and is being pushed as a convenient way to make plans with friends by sending one message to a circle to which everyone can respond and see everyone elses answers, instead of sending individual messages to 10 different people.

Related: How Well Do You Know Google?

Google vs. Facebook

There have been reports for some time that Facebook was in decline, and this was being partly put down to the fact that many younger people did not want to be on a network with their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. These people were looking elsewhere for a new, more private network. Google+ will however, not only offer a new network, but new features (can’t you just see already now how much teenagers will love the Hangouts!) and also an ability to pick and choose what they share, and with whom, should the rest of the family ever show up.

Google is also already dialled into your interests by having access to your email, search history and purchase history. Google in short has a much more complete picture of you – scary it may be – but it’s true – Facebook only has access to your social network profile.

Facebook probably doesn’t have to worry too much just yet, however I’ve no doubt that all this talk of Google+ doesn’t fill them full of enthusiasm. There was even a story recently about how Facebook had banned someone advertising their Google+ account via Facebook ads.

Google+ For Business

Business Profiles: With the increasing numbers of people on Google+ it was inevitable that businesses would start creating profiles. Initially Google deleted the business profiles saying that Google+ was for ‘people only’, however it has now rolled out beta testing for a chosen few businesses and some, such as Mashable News, have been using it effectively for the last couple of weeks. It will only be a matter of time before the rest of us have access to create a Google+ business profile.

Search: Google+ will impact search.  Google has access to Twitter but not Facebook, which has been giving Bing an advantage in the social search stakes. Google aims to take back control with its version of the ‘like’ button, the +1, which is currently being used 2.3 billion times a day.

Integration: Google+ business pages will tie together Google Places, Google Local, Google Deals, Google Maps etc. … this will be powerful.

First Mover Advantage: The first company in any space always has an advantage. The companies who were first on Facebook certainly did, and the companies who jump on the Google+ wagon will undoubtedly as well.

Related: The End Of Google Analytics?

Have you used Google+ yet? What has your experience been?

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Sarah Ryan is an Online Marketing & Communications manager with 7 years experience. After being located in San Francisco for 2 years, Sarah returned to Dublin in early 2012.

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  • Hi Sarah, I’ve not used Google+ as much as some but the feature I like so far is Circles. With the amount of content now being pumped out, anything that gives us better management is a good idea for me.

  • Derbhile

    Still in the not another social network camp, but can see its merits. Very clear post.

  • Hi Sarah,nnAs it is still very early days I think it is a wait and see especially for small businesses. They are still in test mode and haven’t even opened up business pages. I remember in the early days of Twitter it was a case of jump in and test and now it is think about it first. For those who offer services in this area then I can see the merits of getting up to speed.nnThe main point I think is like all marketing tactics is to see if it u00a0fits into your marketing strategy before you spend time on it.

  • Mmmmm….using it sporadically, still not sure about it.u00a0 I listen to others who are using it and they seem to love it, mind you I’m less online during the school holidays and maybe when they go back I’ll be able to investigate it more.

  • growing current news, google + is social media that will rival facebook .. What exactly are the benefits of this google +?

  • Hi Niall,nCircles is definitely my favourite feature as well, and something I’ve been looking for from Facebook for some time. Circles alone would convince me to use Google+.nSarah

  • Thanks Derbhile. It definitely does have its merits but I think a lot of people will be slow to jump onboard ‘another’ social network. Currently the only people I know on Google+ are the usual early adopter circles. I don’t think the main stream population has hit it yet.

  • Hi SusannIt’s definitely always better to ensure the platform fits with your business. Not every platform fits every business, although I do think that Google+ will grow to be important for business given the inevitable integration with their other products such as Maps, Places etc.nSarah

  • Hi MaireadnI do like it myself, I love the circles feature especially, which was something I felt was missing from Facebook. At the moment though it’s mostly early adopters on the network so it’s still pretty quiet at the moment. Having said that its only been 3 weeks so we’ll see what another month brings.nSarah

  • MasradenjpnThere are several features in Google+ that Facebook cannot currently offer, as outlined above, these include the ability to post different content to different groups of contacts (using Circles), group video chat (using Hangouts) and group messaging (using Huddle).nSarah

  • Hi there Sarah!nnI just want to add that you can add contacts on Circles to multiple groups – so someone in ‘Friends’ can also be ‘Networking’ or ‘Football mates’. Clever, but I wonder if people will forget whos seen what after a time. Segmentation may get somewhat blurred. Now if some intelligence came into play, I think we could be in business ; 0 )nnYou know, you can almost compare this ‘tussle’ to the Nintento Wii and X-box Kinect. Ninento had the innovative idea, it took hold, they made bucks. But what was X-box doing? I’ll tell you what they were doing -u00a0 strategising how to out-do them. The Kinect surmasses the Wii in technology. Now, it’s Ninento’s turn to watch.u00a0 nnTo come back to Google+ and Facebook – Google saw that what FB was doing was good and wanted a piece of it BUT they bided their time, researched and watched, before unveiling a superior (?) version. FB knows the hold Google has, and Google sure knows it too – what FB will do to counteract this new challenge is anyone’s guess. Google’s aim I imagine is to position themselves as a ‘virtual’ place where users never need to leave. It’s all kinda scary, but hey….makes for interesting watching.

  • Hi Christina,nnThat’s true about adding people to multiple circles and is something I have been doing myself. With regards whether people will remember or not I think that will depend on the person, some people probably don’t mind what they share, with whom, but to those that find that feature important I believe they will remember how they have divided contacts up.nnGoogle is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Many seem to be wondering if Facebook has too strong a hold to break, but as we’ve seen with the search engines Bing has slowly but surely accrued a larger and larger slice of the pie.nnI think the problem is that Facebook are not able to make some of the changes easily as the platform wasn’t designed with them in mind. This was particularly true of the Circles feature (in fact I believe the guy who put forward the Circles idea to Google now actually works for Facebook), but although Facebook knew people wanted this feature, they didn’t seem to be able to offer it in an easy way based on the current programming.nnAs you say, it all makes for interesting watching…nnSarah

  • The apps on Facebook are one of the least appealing featuresof Facebook for me. I guess I have to wait for Google games.nnsocial media for schools

  • C1ear

    Been using g+ for a few months and you definitely have more control on who see’s your content and how (You can even delete something you posted… EASILY).  The other thing I noticed is that Google seems to be able to roll-out new features without all the chaos you experience on FB.
    g+ just seems to be put together much better than FB.

  • I was a bit uncertain but I think Google + will do well. I think there are features that can work in ways the likes of twitter and facebook cannot. It has a forum like feel to it.

  • This is some great info Katherine. I have no idea about these type of things so it’s good to learn. Is WordPress also useful for building a site?

  • k8twopointoh

    Thanks Niall! In a generation that demands immediate gratification, WYSIWYG’s are definitely a must. 

  • k8twopointoh

    Sian, WordPress is a great tool to build a website, especially for their hundreds of plugins. However, it can become complicated when you want to fully customize your website, which will entail some sort of coding. That’s where these site builders can help to prevent the use of HTML or CSS coding. 

  • Thanks Katherine. That makes sense then

  • Thanks for the mention of BaseKit! We’re very pleased with it, and some amazing new features on the way. Without trying to sound overly promotional, I really think we have the best product on the market.

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    Larry Stoller, [email protected], 843-290-5101

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  • Hi Sian, thanks for this great interview with Simon. For me, two big benefits where accountants can utilise the cloud (and Sage One) are remote workers and in provided small business clients with real time info. In the world that we now operate, having information at your fingertips (mobile) allows business owners to make better decisions. That’s real intelligence at work, and this doesn’t just relate to an accountants customers, but to an accountant’s customer’s customers. That’s where the real value is!

  • Thanks for the opportunity to speak about this Sian!

    @Niall For me one of the big advantages that cloud gives accountants is actually the ability it gives them to grow their business outside of their local business environment. Collaborating with clients online really means that it becomes less important where the accountant’s office is in relation to their clients office / shop / van / spare room! Yet they can still maintain really effective working relationships.

  • You’re welcome. Thank you for doing the interview and providing such indepth info on the product

  • Janine Gilmour

    Interesting article about Sage One. As a SOHO operator myself, I appreciate the focus on simplicity, accessibility and reliability… although my office is anything but paperless!

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