After 4 years of being active in social media, mostly in English speaking areas, I can say that Google has choosen a great strategy by not allowing anyone to register for an account to its latest masterpiece Google +.
Social media means virtual real estate assets so I am as passionate about it as I am with the regular down to earth real estate.
Google has the right mindset, people, investment, knowledge, logistic and the overall resources to make this big. Only few people if we take as a measurement the total amount of social media activists were invited so they created a huge buzz around their project. Great strategy, btw.
Here is a video published by Google explaining more about their project:
Limited invites for Google + Trial invites
If you are one of the lucky ones, you received an invitation to taste Google +. Being in a beta stage, when you join, will see the following disclosure: “Things may not always work as intended. By using this product in Field Trial stage, you’re responsible for protecting yourself and data from any risks, including data loss or disclosure. By signing up, you also agree that we may contact you to ask for feedback about the product.”
There is also a checkbox that says “Google may use my information to personalize content and ads on non-Google websites.” When you click on the question mark for more information, it takes you to the privacy notice about +1 on non-Google sites which lets you know that when you enable +1, you will be able to see recommendations by your friends in Google+ and they will see your recommendations based on the +1’s you have clicked. +1’s will show up on your Google public profile which you should fill out if you are planning to start interacting more on Google networks. After you will agree with these you will be in.
The first option you have when you are inside is to link your Picasa account 9owned by Google) with your Google + Account to share your photos and videos. I am a Flickr user (owned by Yahoo so I will skip this for the moment).
The first step when entered in the account will be to setup your profile. At the beginning the data will be pulled from your main Google profile.
Feel free to edit it the way you want.
What can be a social networking site without connections? The next step will be to add connections which is totally similar with other Web 2.0 sites – contacts from your Gmail, Google Buzz and s.o.
The connections are organised in Google + by Circles – Tam Tam!!! The default ones are Friends, Family, Acquaintances. More about the connections and circles in this video:
You can drag people into circles individually or by highlighting multiple people at a time and dragging them all into one circle. You can also create a new circle by dropping a friend onto the Drop here to create a new circle or simply hover over that circle to create a new one before you start dragging your connections over.
When you add your first person who has already added you to a circle, you will get a popup notification that you can now share with them and see what they are sharing with you. They will be notified that you added them, but not see the name of the circle you added them to.
You will also be notified that they will appear on your public profile. If you don’t want that to happen, you can click on the Change link which will take you to your Google profile with a highlighted box where you can change the visibility settings to show people in all circles or just selected ones, select whether anyone on the web or just people in your circles can see that information and select whether to show people who have added you to their circles.
For the people who are not on Google+ yet, adding them to a circle means that you will be able to send them updates via email which is great.
The photos have Geolocation Information by default so take care to uncheck this if you don’t want to have this activated.
Apart from Facebook, not everybody can tag you. If you keep your connections organized well, only people you want to tag you can, as you can set this to particular circles, extended circles, all of your own circles or public.
When it will be any new activity on your Google + like being added to a circle or when somobody shares a post with you then a red number will appear next to your name in the black bar across the top of the screen.
You can click on these individual items to see more details about them or go directly to posts that have been shared with you.
After you setup the profile and add people to your circles you can go back on the homepage of your account to see the updates from your connections. You can see updates from all of your connections, or click on the circle names in the left sidebar to see updates from just people in those circles.
Also, for each individual update, you can click on the down arrow to the right of the update to link to the post and share it on your profile, report it as abuse, mute the post or block the person who sent it.
As Google +1 was already implemented on blogs, websites and search results, as on Facebook you can like the posts by +1 them.
How +1 Ties Into Google+
You’ve seen the implementation of Google +1 on blogs, websites and in search results. Here’s where it comes into play within Google+. Just like you can Like posts on Facebook, you can +1 posts!
You can send updates to your followers very easy – links, photos, videos and also location-based updates. These can be seen by everybody on the web, all your circles or certain circles. There is also an option to email your updates to people you’ve added to circles if they are not a part of Google+ yet.
In your left sidebar, you have an option to connect with people in Chat. It’s similar to the same chat feature in your Gmail, also known as Google Talk.
The indicators will show you if someone is online and if they are available for a text chat (the green dot) or a video chat (the green video camera). When you click on their name, a little chat window will pop up at the bottom right side of your screen so you can start chatting.
From here, you can click on the video icon, phone for Google Voice chat or the + person icon to add more people to start a group text chat. And if you want to start blocking someone, just click on the Actions dropdown for that option.
You can set your Google+ chat to only show you as online to particular circles, or you can set your overall status to Available, Busy, or Invisible to everyone signed into chat. You can also video chat with friends using Hangouts. If you want to use hangouts feature you will need to have a webcam and to install Google Voice and Google video plugins. You can add feeds from various sources to your account by using Sparks. It’s a great way to update your circles. Also you can have a great experience by accessing Google + on your mobile device. There is avaiable for the moment only an Android app. You can access google.com/+ in your browser on Android, iPhone, iPad and Blackberry with the specified OS systems.