The Google Plus project has been operational for a couple weeks and seems to be catching on “like wildfire.” Yesterday, Paul Allen estimated 4.5 million users. Today, Clint Boulton of eWeek said it passed the 10 million mark! It remains to be seen if Google will surpass Facebook in social networking, but at its current adoption rate, Google Plus could finally be the move that breaks the Facebook juggernaut. Google has a good chance to get ahead since it’s been around since 1998 and everybody from your kids to your grandparents use it every day.
The Google plus project is in a limited field trial at the moment. Google says it is testing with a small number of people, but it won’t be long before Google+ is ready for all. You can leave your email address and Google will let you know when they’re ready to invite more people to use it.
What is Google Plus all about? Since social networking is all about sharing, Google wants to make it easy for people to do a lot more sharing. So they’ve been working on adding some social networking options to Google, hoping to make connecting with people on the web a little bit more like connecting in real life. Here’s what Google has so far, and they promise there’s more to come.
Circles: Everyone shares different things with different people; it could be photos, stories, recommendations, etc. Google thinks sharing these things with your circle of friends shouldn’t be a hassle, and they’re doing their part to make it easier. Circles makes it easy to put your friends from the gym or curves in one circle, your parents in another circle, and people from work in yet another. You can arrange your circles the same way you have different groups of friends and family in real life.
Sparks: Remember the good old days when people would cut articles out of the paper and send them to friends and family? Google thinks that was a nice idea so they created Sparks to look for videos and articles it thinks you’ll like. When you have free time, you can watch, read and share with friends and family.
Hangouts: Running into friends when you’re out is always fun and exciting. With Hangouts, can have fun as well when you have these unplanned, virtual meet-ups on the web. You can let your buddies know you’re hanging out and see who drops by for a face-to-face-to-face chat.
Instant Upload: This one is for mobile users. We all agree taking photos is fun. and sharing them online is even more fun. But getting photos off your phone (or digital camera) and on to the web is not a lot of fun, right? That’s why Google created Instant Upload − so from now on, your photos upload themselves.
Huddle: This is also for mobile users. Texting is great, but not when you’re trying to get six different people to decide where to go for lunch, right? Huddle takes care of it for you by turning all those different conversations into one simple group chat, so everyone gets on the same page long before you get sore thumbs.
So these are the new social services coming to Google: Circles, Sparks, Hangouts, Instant Upload and Huddle. Sounds exciting, right? Just think what you’re missing if you weren’t invited to try it. Google Plus is just another way of networking with friends and business associates without much effort. You can share and socialize, and Google makes it easy as pie.
Will Google Plus have abuses? Not if Google can help it; Google does not allow Google + profiles with fake names. If you create a Google+ account under a fake name, your profile can be suspended. This thread in the Gmail Help forums tells you how to solve the problem if you do get suspended.
In closing, there are many benefits of the Google + project for individuals and businesses. Go to the signup page to be notified when Google Plus becomes available for you.