There’s a new Social Media service aimed directly at competing with Facebook. Now, it might come as some surprise to many, but there are actually several Facebook competitors out there already besides the much maligned MySpace. This new one is different, however because of five letters: G, O, G, another G, L, and E. Google! Google is simply one of the largest computer/internet companies in the world, so when they create a social media program, you have to pay some attention.
I had the opportunity to see Google + in action. There are at least two major cool options on it not available (yet) on Facebook. One is called circles which allows you to share your thoughts with groups of friends, as opposed to every friend as you do with Facebook. So, you could have your family in one circle, your work colleagues in another, and your old slacker friends from school in yet another. You can share photos of your nephew with your family, without boring the gang at work.
Another feature offers live video chat with one or several of your friends. Skype currently charges you to do group video, so this is really a nice feature that could extend into the workplace as well. When you log into Google +, you might see that your friends are signed in, and start a video chat, or maybe join one already in progress.
The word on the street is that Facebook is just a couple of days away from announcing their own video chatting in a co-deal with Skype (which has been purchased by Microsoft, although that deal isn’t quite final yet.) I assume Facebook could add something similar to circles as well, depending on how fast their programmers can create it.
Is there a future for Google+? That’s hard to say. Again, if it were anybody but Google, or Apple, or Microsoft, we wouldn’t even be talking about it. But, these companies have all backed flops before.
Google + is harder to set up than Facebook. For that reason alone, it appeals to computer people, but might scare off the average user. Another question is whether of not the social media user wants to use more than one program. It would be a pain to have some of your friends on Facebook, and others on Google+. You’d now have to check and upload to both. Think of this as if back in the last century you had to have two phones hooked up to two different phone companies in order to be able to call your friends. Sure, there’s no cost to having both Facebook and Google+, other than the one commodity that is most treasured today, time.
We’ll be experimenting with Google+, keeping an eye on it, and letting you know what’s going on. This could be a game changer, or the story of another major internet flop. Only time will tell.