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Google + First Impressions

Deserving of Facebook comparisons? Well, yes and no.

Now that I’ve finally been allowed by the grace of God and Google to join their new social network, I thought I’d quickly run through my sub-24 hour membership impressions of Plus.

Google+ is first and foremost my third major social network. I dabbled on Myspace but it never really grabbed my attention and I’ve yet to really explore LinkedIn the way I probably ought to. But I’m pretty involved in both Facebook and Twitter, having joined the former almost 8 years ago and racking up around 800 tweets in a few months on the latter.

So it is impossible, at the outset, to look at Google+ through entirely fresh and unbiased eyes. It is likely then to suffer comparisons to other social media sites that I am much more familiar with. Of course Google+ doesn’t have to be compared to Facebook, but when talking about it for the first time, comparing and contrasting helps.

But on first inspection, it doesn’t really suffer, because Google+ feels natural. It sort of feels like other social sites while also bringing an element all its own. Does that make any sense?

The Stream

For instance, as a user of Google+, your main point of entry is your stream. And yes, it does remind you of Facebook’s News Feed. In the status box where Facebook asks “What’s on Your Mind,” Google+ asks us to “Share what’s new.” From this box you can post something in plain text to those who have circled you, share pictures, videos, links and location – or a combination of those elements. A geo-tag can be added to a video post, for instance.

Like both Twitter and Facebook, your stream seems to run in chronological order on Google+, with the most recent posts (your own included) appearing at the top. It’s hard to tell how Google+ will decide what to show me once my stream includes hundreds of people – it would be impractical to show it all. But with only about 10 people currently in my circles, my stream is filled will everything that they are doing – posts, photos, videos, links, etc.

As far as the interaction with your friends’ posts, it works in the way you would expect. Google+ lets you comment and share the posts of the people you follow. Google’s recently unveiled +1 works in a similar fashion to the Facebook “like” button. Once you or others click it, there will be a display that you and _____ “+1’d this.”

You can also +1 specific comments on posts.

The share feature allows you to share everything, not just the media. On Facebook you’re unable to share your friends’ statuses, only links, videos, etc. On Google+ you can share pure “statuses.” This gives it a sort of Twitter “retweet” feel as well.

Google+ will remind you about privacy on post that were shared with a limited audience –

In all, the Stream is perfectly fine, if nothing revolutionary – yet. It allows you to perform the functions that you’ve come to expect from a social network. You will find that each post, whether it be a video, link, photo or other, will display the privacy level at which it was shared – public or limited.


And that’s what truly feels different about Google+’s sharing system. Whereas on Facebook you can control privacy by putting friends to predesignated groups and detailing everything that they are allowed to see and not allowed to see, Google+ lets you do that in real time.

Every post you make comes with the decision of who to share it with – family, friends, coworkers or any circle that you’ve created. You can also share things with just one person if you’d like. There is also an overarching “public” button to share your posts with everyone.

>From what I can tell, the default selection that Google+ makes is to share your posts with your last selected group.

Without a default group already selected to share with, the process of having to click specific circles each time you post would be truly tedious. Good thing Google doesn’t seem to have made this mistake. Although it may be better in the future for the default to be the most shared circle or your most populated circle.


Probably the most talked about innovation that comes along with Google+ is the concept of Circles. And from my limited experience, I really like the way they are implemented.

There an actual “circles” page that allows you to add and edit your circles with your existing contacts. Google+ suggests circles like “friends” and “acquaintances” but the real fun comes from creating your own circles. The drag and drop method of putting people in categories feels strangely fun. Especially if you want to relegate someone to the “d-bag” circle or “Dante’s 7th circle” as one of my friends told me he puts people he doesn’t like.

About the Author:
Josh Wolford is a staff writer for WebProNews. He likes football, French New Wave cinema, and bacon. @joshgwolf on Twitter