Google+ adds a new level to social networking

by Kristen MacBride

Courtesy of Google+
Courtesy of Google+

When any new social network site launches, it is doomed to be nothing other than a hopelessly lame copycat of the king of all social network sites: Facebook. Google+, Google’s newest social network program, has just entered the scene as the next wannabe Facebook. But could Google+ be different than all the other failed attempts by nameless social networks to usurp the Facebook crown? Early efforts and results for Google+ suggest it may be here to stay, giving Facebook a worthy competitor.

Already with 25 million users, news and rumors of the new Google+ have been buzzing around for quite some time now. But what exactly is Google+? Should users sign up? And how is it any different or better than good ol’ Facebook?

In short, Google+ is not much different than the favorite and most popular social media outlets, such as Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon or Skype. Rather, the allure of Google+ is a conglomeration of all these and more, wrapped up into one little, neat and easy -to-use social network site.

Google+ includes enhanced privacy and a narrower crowd of people with whom information and exchanges are shared. This is done through the site’s “Circles,” where people can be put in different categories such as friends, family and work. So a picture or comment users only want to be seen by friends is contained within the specific, chosen circle and does not end up on the news feed of a boss or family member.

Another notable characteristic that distinguishes Google+ apart from Facebook is “Sparks,” which allows users to pick an interest — snowboarding, traveling or kitties, for example — and then automatically access and browse infinite websites relating to this interest with no extra clutter of regular internet searches. Google+ also offers virtual “Hangouts” where multiple friends can video chat at a moment’s notice. Google+ syncs perfectly with mobile phones for quick, effective use when uploading photos and more. And users won’t even miss the famous Facebook “like” button because Google+ has one of those too, only it’s a “+1” button.

If Google+ has combined all the best of social media, what is stopping it from becoming the new favorite social network site? The problem is, for now, everyone is still on Facebook. So until people can tear themselves away from stalking their friend’s ex-boyfriend’s brother’s new girlfriend, Google+ lacks the dedicated users, community and liveliness that Facebook currently possesses. And don’t waste your time rushing to sign up now, Google+ account sign-up is by invitation only.