I‘m really digging Google+. Even more than Facebook or Twitter. For me, one of the most compelling things about Google+ is the way it allows you to organize your friends and contacts into “Circles”.
Sharing on Facebook
In Facebook, when I share something, *every one* of my Facebook friends gets it. Sometimes I’m sharing a blog post from Expand2Web, and a friend from High School says “what are you talking about you geek!?”
Other times I’ll want to share family photos, and people I work with may not be interested in that. I have no control over who I share with among anyone I’ve friended on Facebook.
Facebook partially addressed this when they re-invented their Groups functionality, but it still does not give you much granularity unless your organize a bunch of groups and invite people there. I really like the new Facebook Groups and have a few of them, but they still don’t give me the right control and granularity of who I share what with.
Sharing on Twitter
The problem with sharing on Twitter, is that your stream is completely public. So it’s great for getting the word out about certain things, meeting up at events, etc. But if you wanted to share something with a specific group of friends, or family, or co-workers, forget it. You would have to create a completely different Twitter account and get the right people to follow you there.
Google+ Gets Sharing Right
Google+ solved this in a really interesting way with Circles. Circles allow you to arrange people into different groups very quickly and easily. You can create circles for “family”, “professional contacts” and “fellow hockey players” or whatever you want. Then when you share a photo, text or anything, you can quickly specify who you want to share it with – including “Public”, which means it shows up to anyone who is following you.
They have somehow managed to give you ton of cool features without making it overly complex.
I’ve read a bunch of fantastic articles and perspectives on Google+. Perhaps the most interesting one is by Steven Levy, who wrote the book, In the Plex (a great book about Google, BTW).
Here’s a quote from the article that explains what Google is trying to do with Circles:
“With Facebook I have 500 friends — my mom’s my friend, my boss is my friend,” says Shimrit Ben-Yair, the product manager in charge of the social graph. “So when I share on Facebook, I overshare. On Twitter, I undershare, because it’s public. If Google hits that spot in the middle, we can revolutionize social interaction.”
“Networks are for networking,” Gundotra says. “Circles are for the right people.”
Here’s the article: Inside Google+ – How the Search Giant Plans to Go Social
SEO Impact of Google+
Update: After spending a little more time using it and discussing with colleagues, I wanted to add a few “take-aways” I’ve found in terms of the SEO impact of Google+.
- With Google+ and the +1 button, your Google+ profile just became a lot more important, so make sure to completely fill it out and optimize it. Include links to your website, blog and other social media profiles there.
- With the recent implementation of the authorship markup tag (rel=author), your author snippet that shows up next to your search results will be linking to your Google+ profile.
- Google has indicated that it will roll out the equivalent of Google+ profiles for brands and businesses; these will be like Facebook Pages and you’ve seen how much money big brands are spending there.
I see a lot more of my activity moving toward Google+, especially when the iPhone app gets approved.
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