Google’s best kept social secret is finally out now. Google+ is out of the blocks, threatening to gate crash Facebook’s social Party. At the time of writing this, almost 20 million users around the world are spending time on Google Plus. The social networking product is still in beta, but that hasn’t stopped hordes of online users from scrambling for Google+ invites. We’ve been using Google+ for a while now, here’s what we like about it and a list of features that need more attention from Google.
For many people, the group video chat feature, Hangout is the only noteworthy feature of Google+. It’s really something to sit up and take notice of. Through Hangout, Google+ allows you to connect with up to10 people, including you. Hangout intelligently puts the spotlight on the one who’s talking automatically – there’s no manual control. It’s video chat like you’ve never seen before. Facebook tried to counter this by supporting video calls / chat over Skype.
Okay, credit where credit’s due – we like Google’s philosophy of keeping your friend circles isolated from each other. The ability to share updates with a certain Circle while excluding another is fun, too.
Contrary to user complaints that sparks is similar to an RSS reader, the service lets you select the topics you’re interested in without having to subscribe to feeds on a website, and Sparks is a good starting point to encounter new content that you’re interested in.
For any social product to work, being able to share content with as little complexity as possible is crucial. We think Google plus’s one click share button on the top right browser bar is fine example of just that. No browser extension or bookmarking needed; the feature works on every web browser. As long as you’re on a Google product page or service, if you come across something interesting and worth sharing with your social circles on Google+, you just need to hit the Share button.
No Game Spam
Google has done one nice thing, it separates the Games from usual interface unlike Facebook. Game notifications from you friends will not be visible into your main interface of Google+. If you want to see them then you need to click on the Game button available at the top header menu.
Old threads come on top, unlike Facebook
In Google+, week old updates and conversation threads are resurrected and brought right on top if someone connected on them. This is unlike Facebook which only shows you old updates if you had liked or commented on them. A little tweaking is needed to at least include an option to decide the behavior of individual streams depending on user’s testes.
Tag people outside you circle
Google+ isn’t without its privacy gaffes and here’s a glaring one we came across. If you thought you were sharing a personal picture with your Family circle on Google plus, all it takes for the privacy wall to come tumbling down is for someone in your Family circle to tag anyone from their circles to that photo or update. Ridiculous, isn’t it?
No private Messaging
Even though Google+ is Google’s social network candidate, it lacks a private messaging feature like Facebook Messages. If Google wants to really dent Facebook’s domination on all things social, it should pay attention to the finer things that make it tick.\
No Support for Google Apps
Can you believe that Google+ doesn’t have Google apps support despite being Google’s product. One way of assuring a ready, early-adopter base would’ve been to upgrade all existing Google Apps users on to Google+. We suspect Google is being extra cautious with its Apps user base, since any Google+ deployment there without stringent security and privacy checks might be disastrous to the company’s image and bottom-line.
Keen to explore the social network’s potential on a smart phone, we installed the Google+ Android app and played around with it. All seemed fine, until we found photos from the smart phone’s library being automatically synced with our Google+ accounts online! We understand that this is supposed to help in sharing the photos with your social circles, wand when Google+ syncs photos online, it doesn’t automatically share it – which indicates that Google has learned its privacy lessons well from the Buzz fiasco. But sorry, don’t do something with our phone’s data without letting us know – that’s just unnerving and uncalled for.
Google+ has some cool but some nasty features but one thing is pretty clear Google+ might get success just because it has Google in its name. All the information are gathered from The Think Digit.