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Tech Thursday – Google+ is Hot to Trot

First, MySpace was the place to hang out online, then along came Facebook, and not only knocked it off it’s throne, but gave it a swirly in the toilet to boot! Along the way, MySpace tried to get it’s dignity back but nothing worked. Then Google jumped into the fight with Buzz which was a failure. Google Wave made a little bit of a show but still fell flat. Now Google has Google+ and it’s getting traction.

A visitor clutches a paper bag from online giant Google at the CeBIT technology trade fair on March 1, 2011 in Hanover, Germany.
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

I have seen a lot of stories on Google+ and seen a lot of people talking about it on Twitter, with them asking for invitations to join as it was the hottest nightspot in town. Last night, an invite I received the week previously finally got me in and I was on to explore a little.

The big difference between Google+ and Facebook is the degree to which you can share your pictures, likes and dislikes. Facebook’s policy is basically everything always open to everyone. That’s how founder Mark Zuckerberg sees the world. Google+ allows you to customize the sharing more.

I’m sure Google+ will have it stumbling blocks. Just recently it was reported that there were some bugs in the privacy settings but I’m guessing those have been addressed since it looked like they opened up to new users last night. It was very easy to add friends and then group them into “Circles”, where you can setup how they are grouped. I started with the standard ones Google creates of Friends, Acquaintances, Family and so on. I then moved on to create a couple more and proceeded to group what friends I did have on Google+ into those groups.

I was then able to start exploring “Sparks”. These are interest you have, like hobbies, and can follow on the site. I chose Amateur Radio, as my first as I am big into that. I’ll add more as I decide what I want to follow. You can then add photos and such and start sharing things with your friends. And like Facebook, you can chose what people see.

Then there is the Hangout. You can create a video chat room for you and your friends. When I tried to install the plugin for this, it was using the same one that G-chat uses in GMail. And that plugin doesn’t work on Macs with OS 10.6, Snow Leopard. That problem has been going on for some time now. But hopefully, they will fix that issue now that they seem to be rolling out Google+ to more people.

With the hype and word of mouth, I can totally see Google+ giving Facebook a big run for it’s money. I would dare say that Facebook is on the way out. While I can’t say how long it’ll take, I can say that if Facebook decides to add another feature and doesn’t tell it’s users it has automatically opted them in without their permission, then you’ll start to see more people wanting in on Google+ if it hasn’t already opened up from it’s limited beta stage, that it is in now, and Google is famous for.

If you’re interested in trying it out, you can go and sign up at the Google+ website and wait for an invite which could take a couple weeks. Also, I’ll try and invite a few people that ask me here on the website if you like. I can’t promise will will be able to do it. They don’t seem to share how many invites I have to dole out. But if you ask nice, I’ll see what I can do.

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