This week I was lucky enough to receive one of the hottest invites in Social Media – Google +. The internet has been abuzz about what has been termed “The Facebook killer” so I was very interested to give it a try.
Test driving Google+ is by invitation only as it is currently being beta tested. This precludes brands from creating pages as only consumers are invited into the Plus Club for the early viewing. According to the July 7th issue of Advertising Age, brands should have access to setup pages by the end of July or early August.
As you can see from the screen shot, Google + does look similar to Facebook but in my opinion, has some features that I like more than Facebook.
There is an “About” section in which you can tell the social media world as little or as much about yourself that you want. The “Posts” section, similar to the Facebook wall, is where you note what’s new. A key difference with Google+ is you have more options on what is shown in your stream and what is not. Posts are easily filtered with a simple click of a button. The Photo and Video sections are pretty self explanatory if you ask me.
One addition to the Google+ menu is the +1’s tab. This tab will show all the websites that you have given a +1 to so your connections can see what websites you rank helpful. As with Facebook, all sections can be privatized.
Another great feature with Google + is the opportunity to put your connections into “Circles”. Yes, Facebook has a similar option of grouping people but it seems that Google has streamlined the process and made it much easier to accomplish this. This allows you to separate business and personal connections easily. You can make posts to all “circles” or choose specific ones that will be given access to each post made. Your connections can not see the circles you put them in, only that you added them to a circle.
Crystal Ball Gazing
So the question remains, will Google+ be the “Killer of Facebook?” In my opinion, the jury is still out. With branding, the first brand one to own a category in the consumers mind has a distinct and long-term advantage – think Kleenex, Xerox, Q-tip or Sharpie marker.
While the younger generation will happily learn a new platform, a growing number of Boomers 50+ are joining Facebook to stay in touch with family. It’s a coin toss as to whether they will be as eager to learn something new.
-Lisa Holmgren, Digital Media Buyer