So I’ve been using Google+ for a little over a week now and I figured I’d write a blog post about what I’m really digging on Google’s latest (and possibly greatest) foray into the social media world.
1. The UI: Prior to using Google+ I had been noticing Google’s updates to their greatest products; Search, Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, etc and I really liked the design updates they’ve been making. The consistency looks great across their products and it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the Google+ interface.
From the simplicity of the stream (I really like how embedded videos look on the stream as seen above), through Photos, Profile & Circles, the Google+ team has done a great job at keeping things simple, yet intuitive. Compared to the Facebook stream that’s now cluttered with ads, events, & those annoying game requests and other random things that show up, Google+ has the edge in my opinion.
2. Photos: About a year ago I started using Picasa. I finally managed to organize all of my digital photo albums, along with my ever growing iPhone photos and I chose Picasa over Flickr, which I’m very happy about right now. First off, Google+ users now get unlimited photo space (up to 2,048 x 2,048 pixels) as well as unlimited space for videos that are under 15 minutes in length. Besides using Picasa to share to Google+, you can pretty much keep all of your photos / videos backed up to “the cloud” in a sense by syncing up your albums using the free desktop version of Picasa that syncs to your Google account.
On top of all the free storage goodness, the layout of photo albums is awesome. I really like how Google has laid out the photo albums (as seen above from my “Family” album on G+). You’ll see for images that have comments, there’s a number count of comments shown on the top right of the thumbnail. Beyond this the lightbox that powers the full sized photos works great, because Google has moved the comment flow to the right of the page, no need to scroll down and read comments beneath the full sized images. It’s a great interface and the ability to tag people is also integrated through Picasa, so for all of the people I had already tagged, once I share certain albums with family or friends, those tags should show up automatically.
3. Profile: The Google Plus profile doesn’t disappoint. Again it’s a very clean interface, similar to the Google Plus Stream, and it gives you the ability to look at a user’s posts, info about them, photos, videos & +1’s. The +1’s listed on a user’s profile are the items that a user has “+1’ed” through either a Google Search or through a +1 button on an external website. In a way, it’s sort of like a public list of bookmarks, so you may want to be conscious of what you +1 and who you’re sharing that list with from your profile.
One other interesting yet subtle feature on a profile page; if you click on a user’s main profile image, if they have added more than one profile image, it flips to reveal their previous profile images. Part of the fun with Google+ for me has been discovering these little touches that Google built into it all.
4. Google Plus Notifications & Sharing Through Google: Another subtle, yet awesome feature is how Google has integrated Google Plus throughout most of the main Google sites you visit. As long as you are signed into your Google account, you’ll notice on the top right there is a notifications area and also a share button.
Now if I was a little more popular, I could show you how the notifications light up red with a number count, however my notifications were at zero with a gray neutral background when I took this screen cap. However this is the bar that appears at the top of the Google experience when you’re signed in as a Google Plus user. When you click the share button, a small window expands so you can post an update, consisting of a photo or video upload, an external web link (or even a YouTube video link) as well as an option to share your location in the post. Very simple, intuitive, clean and nifty if you ask me.
Look, I could probably go on all day about Google+ but I need to bring this blog to a close for now. A few final notes…
- The Google+ iPhone app needs to get approved now! Hurry the hell up Apple.
- Once Google+ is open to the masses, I really believe that Facebook will have some heavy competition on their hands with this new social network. The integration of Google’s already free and awesome services are going to put Google+ over the edge.
- I realize I didn’t mention Circles, but don’t get me wrong, I <3 them too.
- The fact that you can edit a post or a comment is another great, subtle feature, Google is paying attention to the details.
Hope to see you in one of your Google Plus Circles soon! If you haven’t added me yet go for it: foochucks at gmail dot com
So what do you like about Google+ ? Leave a comment below and let me know!