I must admit Google+ really was the thing I had been looking forward to using for the past 3-4 days. How it would stack up against the giants in Facebook and do in the ever expanding world of social networking is indeed an intriguing question. Do I have the definite answers? No, because a lot of development is still going on into the service, but what I can share is my first experiences and first thoughts on the service.
Let’s get started with the UI (user interface). It is the first thing we notice when we sign up to a new service so makes sense to give it the first priority. I must admit, it’s very very nice. The UI is very clean, very characteristic of Google, simple to use and easy to navigate. It hardly took me any time in figuring stuff out. But it took some time getting used to it all. It had a very familiar type feel to it, which really helped. Not for one second it felt something from planet Mars. So the UI definitely gets thumbs up from me.
Next up was the making profile part, it was just as easy. I must admit at this time though that unlike Facebook, this is not as detailed. There is no place to add in your extra information like your favorite music and various things like that. But I am sure things like that are on their way. It was easy, quick and rather straightforward which was good. But the lack of details makes me sit on the fence for this one!
Next up is friends. Friends are very beautifully categorized as circles in Google+. Like the name suggests you can add your friends into circles and then share whatever you do on the web or pictures with them. It was again a rather easy thing and one I dint waste a lot of time to figure out. The best thing about circles is that you can keep people who you don’t want to see your personal shared items in a different circle thus keeping all that information well hidden. You can create circles by your choice of names, yet there are a few given by default like friends, family, acquaintance etc. The concept of circle, definitely gets a thumbs up.
Photo And Video Uploading
Up next is the photo and video uploading, it was again a rather easy and hassle free process. I could upload the pictures easily and share them with my circles. The basic editing features such as rotate and crop were present, which made photo uploading a rather simple task. Also drag and drop photo upload feature is another marvel from Google. Definitely another plus one!
Chat And Webcam Hangout
Another feature that really deserves a mention is the chat and webcam hangout option. So often I have had friends that have complained about the Facebook chat. Yes it truly sucks. But the chat on this is really fine. Plus the ability to add a web feed is incredible. Yes there were glitches on occasions but I am sure that can be put down to the still in development stage. If Google are going to bring the gtalk portal on Google+ which they obviously should alongside Google voice, this feature could well be one of the most prominent ones to oust Facebook. An easy thumbs up again!
The plus one feature is definitely another to talk about. It really helps you share all the documents you have read and liked. For tech enthusiasts like me, it is a wonderful thing to see and follow all the articles that your boss or senior people have read. Not just articles though, you can actually see all the things including pictures and videos liked by people in your circle which is fantastic. It is a wonderful way to share information. A definite positive thing and another thumbs up.
Spark is another cool feature in Google+ by which you can read news of your interest. On first glance I thought one can read feeds which are subscribed in Google reader but got disappointed later. I wish in future Google will add that feature. Meanwhile I enjoyed reading technology blogs and news related to technology.
So those are the positives, what about the negative things? I must say that lack of detailing is something I am disappointed with. There are no groups for now and everything seemed very basic and just about enough to get the job done. But we all know that Google+ is still in the development phase. So, for now we should well and truly sit back and watch the magic happen before either criticizing or going overboard with Google+.
However, to conclude, I must admit, I have been impressed with what I have seen. It is too early to say if it will beat Facebook as the no. 1 social site, but the chances are good. What is for sure is that it will not fail like the Google wave and countless other sites did. It has been a very enjoyable experience playing around with Google+ and I for sure cannot wait for more.