Google+

  • Poly
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Been a few topics on Google+ I've seen on here so far. Wanted to post up my opinions and review on the matter.

Building a user base:
Most people these days have a Facebook. How many new people do you meet and think "Gotta remember to Facebook her tonight!". Right? So one of the key things for any new social media site is building up their user base as quickly as possible, so you are actually able to find people or friends or family on it. This is one thing G+ is doing right. They are reaching the various user levels much faster than any other social website has done. This is widely attributed to a few factors. A: It's Google. B: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc have all come before and have "made" the social scene. C: The invite system.

A: Its Google.
Indeed it is. G+ is sitting nice and comfortably on the top bar of Google. Its displayed on every Google page you visit. Google has been around for over 13 years and is a major part of most peoples online lives. Google itself has become not only household vocab, but its now a verb. "How can I make a pig fly?" "Google it..."

B: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc have all come before and have "made" the social scene.
They did come first. They did help to build the scene. For me this is the only one of the three points I don't entirely agree with. Lets use Twitter and Facebook as examples. Prior to Facebook was MySpace. It was around with over a hundred million users before Facebook. My first social profile was with MySpace back in high school(easy way to flirt with the girls). Everybody knew about it, it was the latest cool thing to be doing. Then came Facebook. It started off quite quickly, but nothing like what G+ has seen. Its success was attributed to MySpace becoming "emo" and MySpace integrating lots of other services, purely to make money, which largely annoyed quite a bit of its population. Facebook at the time was seen as new, clean, non "emo" and the new cool place to be. Now lets take a look at Facebook vs Twitter. Facebook came first, reached a very large audience, again over 100 million users before Twitter became popular. Twitter pops up and is seen as a way to quickly post something for friends to read, without all the time consuming frills of Facebook(Read: Pictures). This became very popular with websites and users not interested in building up some huge profile for people to read, but just wanted to let people know "Hey, I'm going to the bar, who wants in?".

C: The invite system
This was, in my opinion, a huge part of the quick growth of G+. It was the new latest coolest thing out there. But not everybody could have it. Naturally, there was a lot of buzz surrounding it, and lots and lots of people wanting invites. This kept people talking about it much more than if it had been open to the public. If everybody could join up there would have been some initial excitement, but it would have died down pretty quick, and Google would have been doing the long haul like social websites prior to it.

Pictures:(Sorry Twitter fans)
Much thanks to Leon Håland for creating this graph.
Image
What you can see here is the amount of time it took for each of the major social networking sites to reach 20 million users. As you can see G+ was over 3 years faster. According to an expert on it, Andrew Lipsman, vice president of industry analysis at comScore, "I've never seen anything grow this quickly". I believe this shows what we should expect from G+ in the years to come; exceedingly fast growth, new features before the other social networks, and much greater interest and excitement. Google has always done very well with garnering excitement for their products, from GMail to Wave(Ultimately a failure). There were hordes of people waiting for invites to these, and as such they have all been exceedingly popular, as long as Google delivered on the technology.



The Layout:
The layout, I personally believe is exceptional. Modern and very clean. I have read a lot of comments on it, and have so far seen mostly positive reviews on it. Most of the existing social networking sites have started out with a clean nice looking layout, but have slowly added more and more plugins, ultimately ending up with an unclean layout that looks cluttered. Twitter has not fallen victim to this yet, and hopefully won't. See: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/design_hell
I'll break it down in sections and add my comments and reviews to it as I go.

Home Layout
The home layout is very clean. Shows the posts and provides links to the other area's of the site. No other mess or clutter taking up room. Well done Google. On the left hand side you will notice a grouping of links located under "Stream". Clicking each of these will filter the posts showing up and only show posts from the individuals you have added to those groups. Note: You can add people to multiple groups if you wish. "Sparks" are your interest groups. Clicking on each one of those will show postings and news from the various companies or organisations that fall under that interest group. Also note: These postings NEVER show up in your normal "Stream", unlike Facebook. This keeps helps keep your home screen clutter free as well. The last grouping is "Chat". This works similar to Facebook. Clicking a user pops up a little window that allows you to converse with them. The major plus to this feature is that it is seamless across ALL Google sites when you are logged in. Meaning if you receive a message on G+ and decide to go read your GMail or search for something, your conversation moves with you. It is also seamlessly integrated with Google Talk, Google's stand alone messenger.
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Circles Layout
The circles layout is again very clean and very modern. It has a few nifty pieces of eye candy, that ultimately don't provide any assistance, but look cool. This area allows you to manage all of your friends. You are able to add them into various categories or create new categories. See Here. Adding people to the categories will allow you to filter the posts on your home screen, and to filter who is allowed to read your posts. See Here.
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Photo's Layout
The photo's layout is a multi-section layout. On the left hand side you will notice different sections you can access. Photos from your circles, Photos from your phone, Photos of you, Your albums. These are all self-explanatory so I won't go into detail on them. Below are a couple of screenshots showing a couple of these sections. Clicking on a photo will enlarge it, offer you a link to view more photo's from that person, or a slider showing clickable thumbnails of other photo's from that person or album. Common social media stuff is available such as tagging, sharing, commenting, etc by clicking on the photo as well.

Circles View:
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Album View(large image):
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Profile Layout
The profile layout is similar to most social networking sites. Display's your posts. Shows your recent actions(pictures, videos, etc), has an about section, and shows what you've +1'ed. Nothing super inventive here, overall quite clean.
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My Overall Impressions:
I have been quite fascinated by G+. It is a remarkable website and I do hope it continues to grow. I am a big fan of progression and Google seems to be delivering and doing it correctly. I am anxious to see if they will be adding in the ability to use Android apps or Chrome apps inside G+. I am also anxious to see how they do advertising. I am hoping they don't, but lets be realistic, the amount of money they spend on the server farms for G+ will be enormous, and they will want to recoup that, if not be able to profit off it(Google does offer quite a few free services that are ad free, and I would love for this to be one of them). I am also patiently waiting to see what other types of integration's Google eventually add's both for other sides to integrate G+ and to integrate other services or sites into G+, and to see if they are able to pull it off and maintain this clean look they have thus far(keeping in mind the other social networks have thus far failed at doing this). I hope this information is all accurate, if I made any mistakes or did give credit where credit was do let me know and I will amend it. I also hope some people have found this interesting and have learned something new here.

Lastly, please please please post your responses to this and let me know what you agree or disagree with. I love debating tech topics like this and like to hear other individuals points of view on it(helps us all become better designers and developers).
  • Anonymous
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • Poly
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Side note, if anybody has not received an invite and wants one, send me a private message with your email and I'll send you one.
  • SpooF
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I talked to some people about how fast G+ grew, we came to the conclusion "Social networks are in". That doesn't mean we weren't impressed by how quickly it did grow but it was no surprise.
  • helmuthbader
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Google+ cant reach facebook. Many people register but in Europe nobody use it realy - only for seo ....
Moderator Remark: Removed additional Spam like material.
  • Poly
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Post 3+ Months Ago

SpooF wrote:
I talked to some people about how fast G+ grew, we came to the conclusion "Social networks are in". That doesn't mean we weren't impressed by how quickly it did grow but it was no surprise.


What are your overall impressions on the design and function? And yep, social networks are indeed in. G+ launching after the movie was also something that assisted their quick growth.
  • Zealous
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Post 3+ Months Ago

It is Google they are a internet super power, The Dragon of the internet. Impossible to take down but fly's around fast with a strong roar.

Now i signed up a few weeks ago and still found that my social group is not apart of G+ so am i suppose to wait till they figure it out.

G+ looks nice but it has not got the population foot hold as yet and won't be till then that there would be some serious action in the g+ community.

Looking good but still needs some time.

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