by Ashley Smith
10 years ago Google was still in their quick rise to fame as the internet became more widely spread. Starting as a search engine, Google has taken many new technological ventures both large and small. One of their more recent offerings is a social media site called Google+. Google first tried social media with Google Buzz in 2010, but this first attempt was not well received. Google+ was released on June 28th on a limited trial. At this point in time users could only join by invitation. On September 20th, Google+ entered its beta stage allowing anyone over 18 to join. Google+ has been a success thus far, reaching over 25 million users in only four weeks.
Most people think they don’t need a new social media website to keep track of with others such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr already out there. So, what does Google+ bring to the social media arena that hasn’t already been done? The answer lies in convenience and customization. Google+ is a Google product, which allows it to integrate some of Google’s other services into the network. This means signing in to Google once allows you to access Google+, documents, calendars, shopping, as well as other useful features. Most importantly it is mobile, with apps on iOS and Android available.
The new site allows users to post statuses, photos, and links in the same manner as other social media websites. Unlike other social media sites however, Google+ makes it simple to determine who gets to see what. The way Google+ does this is through its system of organizing friends into “circles.” When you add a new friend you place them into a circle, which organizes these friends in whatever way you see fit. Then when you want to post, you select which circles can see your posting. The posting could be entirely public, limited to one particular circle, or anything in between. With these circles you can also create hangouts, which are video chats with those in the particular circle.
The long term question is: Will Google+ be able to thrive in the world of social media? All signs point to yes. Google+ puts all functionality at your fingertips and can do anything you’d want to do on any specific social media site all in one place. Whether it is checking in to your location, posting pictures, chatting with friends, updating friends with what is going on, or making lengthy blog posts. Google+ can do it all, and as time moves on new updates will make it even better.