Google+ Does It Better

After many failed attempts to create a social media equivalent to Facebook, Silicon Valley peer Google has launched Google+, employing their trademark exclusive grassroots marketing campaign. Lutz Beyer satirized the difficulty of getting an invite, but the generated buzz made Google+ take 35% of news links last week. While popularity is a good sign, will Google+ actually be able to tackle the over 750 million active users on Facebook?

Yes, because Google+ provides a much needed upgrade by bundling all-you-need services in one.

How many times have you tried to leave a video on Facebook and have it not work? How many times does your Facebook chat mess up? Google+ is quick, seamless, and (for now) error-free. For example, the "Hangout" feature allows users to invite one person or a group of friends in a social "circle" to a video chat. A group video chat does not even exist on Facebook, and their one-on-one video chat service with Skype has yet to prove reliable. Google+ is a restart to the tired Facebook; it is free of the ad clutter or posts saying "Mary just took the quiz about which Harry Potter character she is, take yours now!" Pictures look better on Picasa than the Facebook client that often does not load. The trademark Google layout is simple, clean, and easy to use. Its straightforwardness makes it easy to figure out who will see what.

Privacy is not a nightmare where everything you post is streamed to your 1,000-plus friends; Google+ runs in "circles," just like in real life. You can decide to show the picture of that hilarious night at the bar to your "Best College Friends" and hide it from "Coworkers" and "Mom and Dad." Google+ gets rid of the friend request; simply decide who on Google+ will be in your Circle. The wall post now ceases to exist; comments can be seen by who you like, but if you want to talk to someone you send them an e-mail or a chat. Not only does it create a sense of security, but Google+ also will reduce the need to manage a social networking life.

Google took all of the other networking sites and put them into theirs. You can share snippets like Twitter, get recommendations like StumbleUpon and Digg, and post photos like FlickrFacebook, and countless others. It is finally all in one place. The +1 feature similar to the "like" button on Facebook and brings this to the broader web, allowing users to share content to their stream with the click of the button. Google is still rolling out more features, and it will continue to evolve, including Gmail integration, options for businesses, advertising content, and native mobile apps. The big question is if it will take off.

Google+ looks prepared to battle Facebook. The only thing that Facebook has over Google+ is age, but this has been seen as a hindrance, with the website turning sloppy. After only being out for a few restricted weeks and having more than 4.5 million users (including Mark Zuckerberg), this will surely gain traction. It boosts the already successful company, adding $20 billion to Google's market cap. While it may not usurp the competition immediately, it is the first time that something comes close to it. Now, the only question is will you use it?

Photo Creditsuper bond1

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Todd Elfman

Todd Elfman is about to graduate from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, UK studying Management and History of Art originally from Cambridge, USA.

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