This is the second post in a series about the new social network Google+ and what the site means for marketers and businesses. In this series we will explore Google’s past social networks, what Google+ has to offer users, and the future of Google+ for marketers and business.
Google is a top global brand with a wide range of products that people use on a daily basis. Google offers its users search, email, software, and sharing tools. With a huge global user base and quality products people trust, the natural leap is for Google to offer a social network. This is where Google+ enters the game.
Google+ is Google’s new social networking site that is incredibly similar to Facebook in both its layout and functionality. Right now access is very limited and users are required to get an invitation in order to create an account. At the end of last month, people were so desperate to get on the site that invites to Google+ were being sold on Ebay for upwards of $75.
The one thing that really sets Google+ apart from Facebook is its “circles” function. Google believes that you have friends that you are closer with and want to share more personal information with online. Therefore, Google+ has created a system where by you can filter your friends into different circles and then control what information these circles see. The beauty of this function is that the person whom you friend cannot see what circle you have added them to, they can only see that you have in fact added them. Circles is the most critical aspect of Google+ because it dictates who sees what you post on Google+. If used properly, circles can also solve the age-old social networking privacy issue.
When you first sign up with Google+ the following circles are automatically generated for you: Friends, Family, Acquaintances, Following, and Blocked. At this point you have the option to create new circles and title them however you wish. After you filter your friends into different circles you can then control which circles have access to your information and posts on Google+. Those pictures from last Friday when you went out to a bar are probably meant for your friends only, so you click the “Friends” circle when you upload them. Mom who is listed under the “Family” circle and your boss who is listed under the “Work” circle are left out in the cold. Privacy is the key element to Google+.
It is important to note that Facebook has a similar but far more complex system by which you can control how much of your profile a person sees. It requires creating friend lists and then clicking boxes upon boxes of settings. At the end of the day you wonder if you have actually accomplished your goal of blocking your boss, parents, or snooping coworker from the more personal parts of your profile. The Google+ circles feature is much more cut and dry. They have created a much more simplistic model to control information sharing than Facebook ever has.
In the next part of this series we will address what Google+ will have to offer marketers and businesses.
Check out the first part of this blog series, What Google+ Means for Marketers and Businesses: Part I.