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Google+ takes the stage

Luigi Marshall

Google+ takes the stage

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There was ICQ, MSN Messenger, Hi5 and Facebook. Is the next big social media application Google+?
Google definitely hopes so.
On Tuesday the Internet search giant unveiled their newest social networking platform, which they hope will help them keep their position as the world’s primary point of access to the Internet.
Google currently gets site visits from approximately 50 per cent of the world’s Internet users, with each user accessing approximately 12 Google pages per day. By contrast, Facebook currently gets visits from approximately 42  per cent of the world’s Internet users, with users accessing nearly 6.5 pages per day. And Facebook has steadily been gaining ground.
Key features that Google+ hopes will attract users include:
-A clean and simple interface.
-Circles: the ability to easily separate contacts into groups.
-Hangouts: video chat with up to ten users.
-Huddle: group instant messaging
-Sparks: A feed which delivers tailored content to the user based on Google’s successful search algorithm and based on what content other users are sharing most.
-A photo-editor
-Automatic, private online storage of smartphone pictures.

Barbadian social media consultant Deidre Brathwaite said she finds Google’s initiative exciting. She said that the features she found most interesting were Circles and Sparks.
“Circles addresses certain problems regarding privacy issues,” said Braithwaite.
She also noted that Sparks helped users better find what they deemed most interesting. “Sparks makes your life more convenient in terms of aggregating content and we all want more convenience,” she said.
Google+ is currently in its beta phase, which means they are doing limited testing with users outside of the organization. It is not yet openly available for download unless you get a special invite, which can be requested on their site.
Google has previously tried their hand at social networking with applications such as Wave, Buzz and Orkut. However, those applications never came close to dominating the social media universe or breaking Facebook’s firm grip on the market.
There was a lot of buzz online about this latest effort, but that does not guarantee it will be a hit.
“Google has been trying this for a while, so only time will tell if this will succeed,” said Brathwaite.