I’ve gotten very little sleep over the past few days experimenting with Google+, the new social network just rolled out by Google. Winning where Google Wave failed, I have to say my initial impression of the platform has been very positive. Over the past few days I have been experimenting, observing, commenting, uploading, testing and getting to know this platform. It’s only been week one but my fascination has not waned yet.

For many this will be another thorn in their side as they attempt to learn yet another social network. But for me it was an easy fit. I have a pretty strong presence on Google already so the migration of my public Google profile, Google buzz posts and Picasa photos was rather easy. Look, I recognized long ago that Google was into world domination so I’ve been on board with them for a while.

The next step in Goolge+ was deciding who I wanted to be in my Circle. Circles on Google+ are a grouping of friends, followers and others that you want to interact with online. After deciding who I would add, the next task was deciding what kinds of Circles I wanted. Google+ has allowed me to separate my real “friends” from the rest of the online world I engage with. I found myself coming up with zany titles for my Circles like, “I Don’t Know You But I May Want To” or “Why Am I Following You” to the one that really counts, “My Inner Circle.” Actually, part of the fun is deciding who will goes where.

Finally, the last step was to start engaging with the other early adopters. Similar to Facebook, you can just follow the feed and start commenting on or reposting links from others. The handy +1 button, very similar to the Facebook Like button, allows you to easily share posts. Last but not least, Hangouts blow me away. Think of them as a chat service on steroids. This video chat feature clearly sets Google+ apart from all other social networks. However, there is pressure to look good all day long… you never know who might want to hang out!

My last and final “Like”… is that unlike Facebook and Twitter… I can segregate my posts to the entire public or to a certain group of people. This alone is a win for me. Once I can do multiple posts to Twitter and Facebook (I’m not any where near ready to leave those two sites) and once I have an iPhone and iPad app then I will settle comfortably into Google+ and never leave. In the meantime, Chris Brogan, President of Human Business Works, has summed up the 50 pros for Google+ better than any other posts I’ve read. Check out his post below.

Amplify’d from www.chrisbrogan.com

 50 pros for Google

  1. 50Google+ is built to take you away from either Facebook or Twitter (or both), and it could do it, in time.
  2. If it seems like FriendFeed, and thus you worry it might burn out, know that Newt Gingrich has already joined.
  3. With a G+ account, you get unlimited photo storage on Picasa. (Flickr feel threatened? FB photos?)
  4. With Circles (how one groups people), you control privacy in a way that makes clear and obvious sense.
  5. Your “about” section is rich, robust, allows links, photos, QR codes, and more.
  6. The “about” section is rich, robust, allows links, photos, QR codes, and more. Marketers rejoice
  7. If Google+ starts influencing Page Rank (meaning, if a link shared on G+ is weighted more than others), it’s game on for SEO/SEM.
  8. If Google Music integrates into this platform the way YouTube is now, it’s a powerful entertainment media platform instantly
  9. You don’t need Quora, if you can ask detailed questions in G+ and share them with specific Circles, etc.
  10. The live video chat feature is a powerful addition to collaboration and workshifting

“A question to ask yourself is, ‘Should I get in early, before anyone’s there to bother with? If I don’t look at it for a year, will I lose ground? If it’s still early days, why should I bother with Google Plus yet?’”

  1. A standalone Google+ Apps version plus Google Docs = a very powerful business collaboration environment that would trump most white label social enterprise tech easily.
  2. With G+ seeing our comment streams, their ability to better plot social graphs and integrate AdSense and maybe even Google Affiliate opportunities is huge. (Yes, FB does this, but Google thrives on Adsense.)
  3. If Google+ offered a WordPress comment integration, I would give G+ my comments in a heartbeat.
  4. That lame +1 button from a few months back now became something rather valuable, if G+ takes off.
  5. People keep citing the FB has 600 million, so no one’s going anywhere argument. AOL, anyone? People migrate. It happens.
  6. There are more big name visionaries poking around on Google+ right out in the open than on any other social application that I’ve seen (this just might be the nature of G+, that everything is so visible, but it FEELS like big news to have Michael Dell and Mark Zuckerberg and others checking it out.)
  7. G+ pushes more use of Gmail. I’ve received 15 non-spam messages in 2 days from my core gmail account, after having had almost zero traffic (nonspam) for 2 years.
  8. If Google integrates Calendar into + and makes it like Tungle, then social calendaring gets pretty interesting.
  9. Google Buzz, which went nowhere for most folks, now looks like a nice sharing stream in your G+ profile, especially if you share a lot via Google Reader.
  10. The photo display interface in Google+ is stunning, adding to my thoughts of this making for an amazing media platform. The moment G+ full-throttle opens up accounts for businesses, you’ll hear big news plays about this platform.

“Would all Google’s efforts in building an OS plus their commanding growth in mobile point to a potential rapid leapfrogging of either Twitter or Facebook? I don’t think so, but Google is wealthy enough to play the long game, and if you think of all these various integrations, this becomes much more interesting to consider.”

  1. With Google’s ChromeOS push, plus the proliferation of Android, Google+ now becomes quite a robust integrated communications, media, and sharing layer on multiple platforms natively, plus it is supported by browsers on all other platforms.
  2. Hangouts (live multi-user video chats) works with Google Translate to faciliate multi-language instant communication. Neither Skype nor Facetime do that.
  3. Google+ is perfectly configured to run social customer service, if only they allowed baked in search capabilities akin to search.twitter.com.
  4. It would take relatively little to integrate Google Voice into this stack in a meaningful way to add SMS to this, plus GTalk already does voice and video 1-to-1.
  5. I don’t think that Blogger integration would improve G+. WordPress has won that war, though Blogger is still serviceable and people still like it.
  6. G+ also won’t replace blogging, such as it is, but not unlike the decline in blogging frequency after Twitter and FB became more popular, G+ makes is really easy to see how you could do the same things inside G+ and maybe get more traction.
  7. (Don’t be swayed by the above. Your blog is your own real estate. Blogging inside anyone else’s platform is like renting a hotel room, putting up posters, and thinking it’s your place.)
  8. Twitter makes a cleaner “newsroom” feel, but G+ has many more methods to tell and deliver a story. A news Circle in G+ would feel as rich as Flipboard.
  9. Oh, I almost forgot: G+ on an Android Tablet is pretty darned good.
  10. Advertising integration seems simple and obvious. Commerce integration doesn’t seem that hard, if you squint.

“Will the mainstream pick this up the way they did Twitter? Does the fact that the URLs for your account on Google+ are messier mean it’ll lack that simple audible sharing we hear on the radio and on TV?”

  1. If you enable location on your mobile device, G+ creates circles by “nearby,” thus allowing for instant location-centric social networks.
  2. If G+ did something special with QR and empowered more location-focused media delivery, then you’d have a powerful media/marketing opportunity right there.
  3. G+ could enable some really interesting multi-format publishing if you turn it around: mix audio, video, photo, text, link, and location data into a “package” or a “project,” and you’ve got a powerful digital publishing platform. (See also the last part of the next point.)
  4. How long before we see our first Hangout live music “jam?” That’s one record button away from being supercool. And one “name your price” Google Checkout tweak away from being instant micro content for sale.
  5. If Google Places integrated with G+ and one were using the mobile/nearby functionality, interesting “migratory” graphs suddenly become a new datapoint for marketers (or researchers, or whatever).
  6. The nonprofit tech use implications of Google+ are quite interesting, especially of Google Pages is reimagined for Google+.
  7. If I can move a Google Presentation into my stream, then I can share business information in a valuable in-system way.
  8. Google+ needs a “sticky” post for streams, so that we can hang a daily status or special update on our stream/profile for the whole day.
  9. When Google+ gets off-site sharing and/or bookmarking abilities, plus when it integrates a URL shortener with stats built in, kapow.
  10. There are no private message functions built in, but that’s because there’s a “send an email” on everyone’s profile page. This is still clunky. This belies the motivations of Google (let us see it all) versus Facebook/Twitter (you just keep feeling like you’re private, if that helps you!).

“Remembering for a moment that Google’s biggest monetary trick is to serve highly targeted ads, what does the Google+ platform do to enhance their data set? Hint: lots!”

  1. The Spark area isn’t that compelling yet, but add user-created materials, plus let us curate that area differently, and we’ll eat out of your hands.
  2. If I were Google, I’d buy Alltop and replace Spark with that.
  3. If users could add themselves to “public” or “member’s only” circles, Google+ would make the ultimate conference attendee/participant tool, almost as-is.
  4. There talk about how some of us are using hashtags inside Google+, even though they don’t function that way. What we’re saying is, “Please let us have tools to create our own folksonomy,” and when Google listens to that, they will see even more interesting social graphs.
  5. Ford is already investigating the heck out of Google+. Location data plus Places plus users’ friends data makes for a rich marketing profile, and some really useful tools.
  6. Google+ would be the ultimate environment for ethical affiliate marketing, if the concept of “objects” or “things” existed. Meaning, if I could say, “I’m enjoying my new !TDK Boombox! today,” and that use of !! became a link that paid me a few bucks if someone bought a TDK boombox after my recommendation, that would be nifty for some.
  7. I saw many early worries from users that marketers would come and ruin things. They’re right to worry. This is a new place to experiment and it will happen. But I’m optimistic.
  8. Small Businesses would benefit from an integration of Places, Pages, and Google Plus. That whole social customer service movement? Pow. Done. Easy.
  9. The minute I can pump a bunch of saved search RSS feeds into Google+ directly, the sooner Google+ would feel like a listening station mixed with a media making/curating platform all in one platform.
  10. The notion of “trending topics” would be exponentially more valuable inside of Google+, depending on how the algorithyms reflected this.

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