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All about Google+ and how it’s different from Facebook

Recently we have had a host of clients asking us about Google+. There is a certain buzz around and a definite discussion going on about who is better, Google+ or Facebook. Lots of news and information can be found in favour of both. I thought a small post on this would help.Google jumped into the social media wave with Google+.

It can be called as an amalgamation of the social networking services that we have already used and continue to use; it’s just that Google aspires to do it better than most of the social networking sites and why not? It’s got the money and the people and a huge base of users thanks to Gmail and Google search. What Google+ aims to provide is, better networking capabilities among users via different interfaces with innovative names like Circles, Sparks and Hangouts. Like Facebook, Google+ is available both on the web and as a mobile application for almost all mobile smartphones. It has been long debated that Facebook would be the true challenger to Google with social search possibilities and it seems Google+ has accepted the challenge.

Facebook has already made a huge impact on the youth with over 865 million active users under its radar (this number might be up by a few million when you are reading this post). The challenge for Google+ was to be different somehow, and be more user-friendly in order to capture the market of non-Facebook users followed by the obvious Facebook user which by the way is still the most popular social networking site till date. Given the apprehensions, the biggest surprise is that within six months of its launch, Google+ is close to hitting a 100 million user base. The big plus for Google+ users was that those who already had a Gmail account didn’t need to create a separate account for Google+ and could log into it with their existing accounts. If the good run continues unabated, Google+ could hit the 500 million mark soon.

Let’s look at some features :-

Circles :

Google Circles make it easier for users to have a separate group of friends to deal with, thereby making interaction public yet private. It’s more like hanging out with friends in a group in real life with the only difference that it’s virtual now.

Hangouts :

Hangouts are places used to facilitate group video chat (with a maximum of 10 people participating in a single Hangout at any point in time). However, anyone on the web could potentially join the “Hangout” if they happen to possess the unique URL of the Hangout.

Sparks :

Sparks is a front-end to Google Search, enabling users to identify topics they might be interested in sharing with others. “Featured interests” sparks are also available, based on topics others find interesting globally. Sparks helps to keep users informed of the latest updates on the topics of their interest.

The +1 button :

Google+ has a “+1 button” to allow people to recommend sites and parts of sites, similar in use to Facebook’s “Like” button. With the launch of Google+, it seems that users will be able to power search rankings as the +1 button empowers the users to make decision about how good the content really is. This in turn guides other search users on relevancy of the site when it comes up on search results.

If an article receives a big number of “pluses” ideally that would be indicating the high quality of the content. Add to that your Google+ friends would be able to see your recommendations. Thus the links on search would seem more trustworthy and reliable, since it is recommended by someone they know.

If you have been following SEO (search engine optimization) trends, you will note how social media has become highly relevant in internet marketing strategy, especially social media marketing and search engine optimization.

Google+ Pages:

Google+ Pages, allow entities which are not individuals (such as organizations, companies, and publications) to set up profiles, or “pages,” for the posting and syndication of posts. It is similar to Facebook’s similarly-named feature. Social Media has always been a place for real-life sharing, and Google+ Pages are no exception.

For social media users, this means unlimited choices to interact, discuss our summer shopping with a favorite clothing line, or follow a music band on a tour. Essentially, Google+ pages are an attempt to breathe life to everything we find in the real world by allowing online engagement.

This means a huge opportunity for businesses and brand marketers. With Google+ pages, they can connect with prospects, customers and fans. Those interested can connect with a brand by adding them to their circles or pass on the trust with a “+1” recommendation. With Google+, brands and business have a new engagement platform and one which can also help them gain in search rankings.

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