How to work with Google+, the story so far

How to work with Google+, the story so far

Like me, you’ve probably got your invite and signed up for Google’s new social media service.  Then I found myself sitting at my Mac, looking at Google+ and thinking “what now”? I wanted to understand what Google+ is, what it might become, and what that might mean for business.

What I found out

After some time on Google+ I’ve still got a lot of learning to do. Here are a few quick notes on what I’ve found out so far, which I hope can help you:

  • Google+ is not for business (yet). Google has made it clear that it is aimed at individuals and that a business version will come later (see http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2388192,00.asp and more from Entrepreneur – http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/219956?cm_mmc=Market-_-Outbrain-_-NA-_-NA)
  • Google+ is sort of like Facebook, only fewer of your friends are there, and all your photos and twitter feeds are elsewhere (unless you use Picasa). If you are still hankering after Facebook you can even make it look the same (http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/30/turn-google-into-facebook/
  • So if Google+ is for your personal social media activity, you might want to update your Facebook and Twitter feeds from Google+. This isn’t easy at this stage, but you can if you use the Chrome browser and an extension called Start G+. It  adds Facebook and Twitter share buttons to the Google+ interface (see https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hbgcgahdbgbdenffckohanhobdcnkoip?hl=en#).
  • The photo uploading and sharing is great – integrates well with Picasa and allows you to share with whomever you choose.  I like it better than the black hole that is Facebook photo storage.   And I like the drag and drop interface.
  • Google+ isn’t a blog replacement  (see http://www.chrisbrogan.com/googleplusblogging/) There is no integration with Blogger.com or support for WordPress. But it could come.
  • I haven’t successfully tried video chat yet so can’t comment. I’m still sorting out an issue at my end.
  • Google’s integration with content management is going to be the real interesting part. With a Goggle+ account, you get unlimited photo storage on Picasa, and when you add in a Youtube channel for video, Google’s upcoming music storage service and then Google docs you could easily end up with all your content in Google’s cloud.
  • There some features that compete with Twitter (circles and especially the Following circle). Private Messaging is not obvious until you use it, but once you do, it makes sense. Just share with the person only, and disable resharing to make the conversation private.
  • Chris Brogan has spent a lot of time with Google+ and makes 50 great observations here – http://www.chrisbrogan.com/googleplus50/

Summary

Google+ is new and incomplete, and probably not very useful for most people right now. I can’t say Google+ is a must-have – yet. But we shouldn’t forget how people also struggled to see the benefit of Twitter in the early days.

It won’t be the Google+ features that Facebook or Twitter will be worried about – they can easily replicate any functionality that people prefer. No, the real threat is the integration of all Google’s offerings. You can envisage Google Docs, Picasa photos, Youtube Videos, gmail, blogger,.com all integrated into your own personal social media stream, with google search  across the lot.  With video chat and Google Voice. Now that’s a service that’s could replace other social network tools.  More than 10 million people have signed up for Google+ at this early stage, without knowing what it is for, or why they should use it. Competitors should be worried. What will happen when Google get it working properly?

So there is no compelling reason YET for businesses to change what they are doing in social media. Meantime you can’t afford to ignore Google+. Sign up and use the tips below to fast-track your own exploration.

Tips and Tricks

For tips and tricks on how to use Google+ have a look at some of these links:

Here’s a cheat sheet that will clarify and expand options.  http://mashable.com/2011/07/12…

Thanks Simon Lausteen  –  https://plus.google.com/u/0/108443027359212340995/posts

Chris Brogan has some great information including:

How to start – http://www.chrisbrogan.com/startgoogleplus/

Kirsten Burnham’s got some useful stuff on CIO.com too:

Beginner tips -http://www.cio.com/article/685930/10_Google_Tips_for_Beginners

Advanced tips – http://www.cio.com/article/686203/5_Google_Tips_for_Advanced_Users

If you have any other sources or information, we’ve love to hear about them. Please add them to the comments stream below.

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