Google has been all over the headlines lately and the latest move to acquire Motorola is fascinating to me. I have always been in love with Google…and when I say in love, I’m talking IN L. O. V. E. I created my first Gmail account back in early 2006 and started running my businesses on Google Apps a couple years later. I’m now using/managing bunches of Google Calendars and Google Docs, Google Voice accounts, Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, Feedburner accounts, YouTube channels, Google Reader feeds, Google Talk, Picasa, Google Alerts, Google Places, and probably more that I can’t even think of. EXCEPT for my newest addition, Google Plus.
Seeing that all in black and white makes me realize my entire life depends on Google. Oh and I almost forgot to mention one interesting tidbit…I have never once paid a single penny for any of these services. Yet a quick peek at their “Life at Google” Facebook page shows Google the company is still growing, and hiring. (OK fine, so they did basically invent the whole AdWord, PPC concept and make a few bucks from that but you get my point.) OH AND how can I forget that I’m also running the mobile app versions for most of the above programs on my Android devices and browsing the internet on my Google Chrome browser when I’m not hanging out around the Eiffel Tower via Google Maps.
HELLO!? What’s not to love?
And then there’s Facebook which is, you know, Facebook. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not denying that Facebook has “changed the world” in some respects while becoming an incredibly successful company. I just don’t get it and don’t like it and never have. BLASPHEMY I know, but I’ve really tried to like it so allow me to explain. I started using Facebook back in the days when you couldn’t get on without a University email address. At the time I was working at UMass and all the students peer pressured me to get on even though I was a staff member. I would categorize those years for Facebook as the “check out this picture of me falling down spilling a drink on myself while making out with a stranger at a frat party” years. I didn’t get it. But I was looking for ways to get a real estate company off the ground and some very smart students in IT and Marketing told me FBML development and Facebook marketing was the wave of the future. Shout out to Alos…you were right, my friend.
But Facebook just never really worked for me, personally, for a number of reasons. In a last ditch effort to get a little more active, I cut my number of friends in half about six months ago. What’s left is a small but diverse group that more accurately depicts what I would call my Facebook “friends”. I’m interacting more with this smaller group but even still, lately all I do is post updates begging my peeps to get off Facebook and onto Google+.
My Vision of Googletopia
So besides the beautiful interface, why am I so drawn to Google+? Yes there is the obvious as outlined above, I don’t like Facebook and I live for Google. But there’s way more than that. For instance, Google+ circles rock my world and solved my biggest issues with Facebook right out the gate. Much like Twitter, I love that it doesn’t have to be a reciprocal process. I can “follow” folks I think are interesting but they don’t have to add me to a circle in return. Or let’s say someone starts following me because of their interest in real estate but I don’t necessarily want them to see pics of my vacation or rants about technology, no problem at all. Or let’s say I have a group of folks I love to go to concerts with and I want to blast them all at once with some new tour dates…whoomp, there it is. Or even just one person, say I have a quick message to send to a colleague about a meeting change, I can do it all right from my main Google+ stream. Love it.
Go a little deeper into the platform itself and you’ll find Google+ Hangouts. What an awesome, sort of extension of Google Talk and in the words of Mashable.com, it may be the “killer feature”. Add Huddles, Sparks, photo editing capabilities, drag and drop sharing, a slick mobile app and the newly integrated notification bar and I’m on my way to social paradise.
As for the cons, of course this work-in-progress has some. I hate that Google tends to put their Apps users on the back burner so there’s no integration there yet. My other major con is I don’t have enough of my real life circles on board yet so it can be a bit lonely waiting for my peeps to contemplate a moment away from Facebook. I’m still a little ways away from complete Googletopia and it’s not going to be an easy battle for Google to finally make a dent in the social media market, but my money is on them to get it right and soon. In fact, I’d bet a G on it!
Check out some Google+ resources for newbies and beyond:
Mashable’s Complete Guide to Google+ and their 10 Hints for New Users. And if you’re looking for folks with similar interests check out a very cool new site for some recommendations.