Google+ is a recently launched social networking platform created by the information search giant which has many similarities to Facebook, but with a couple of different unique features. We wanted to provide a few benefits for college students who are considering implementing Google + into their social networking, or those who are thinking about bagging the ‘Book’ and switching altogether.
Circles. Like a combination of Twitter lists and the old Facebook platform, this G+ feature has been getting the most attention. Circles allow you to place your connections into a variety of categories (circles) by topic or group. For example, you could share an article from USA TODAY College with co-workers from your internship, while you could show your friends pictures from your weekend trip to the beach. Only those you’ve placed in specific circles would see what you share. The nice thing is, Circles doesn’t limit how many circles you can place your connections in, so that one cool co-worker or sibling you’re very close with can be in all of your circles.
Hangouts. These feature a more natural experience for group video chatting in which up to 10 people can enter or leave a chat room as they please. The participants are able to chat, share Youtube videos and even listen to music simultaneously. This is perfect for studying or meetings with campus clubs.
Sparks. Sparks is like a search engine that instantly generates relevant information you can share with your circles. You can add ‘stuff you’re interested in’ under the Sparks tab to instantly click-and-go to information about your favorite topics. Adding Sparks on Greek life, your school’s football team or campus newspaper articles seems obvious.
+1. To put it simply, Google’s +1 button is similar to Facebook’s Like button in which you are able to publicly approve of something, whether it be a brand, product or idea. Google terms their button under the premise that if you +1 something, it is saying “you should check this out”. In our opinion, this is awesome because it allows you to see what your friends in other circles have posted about something they’ve +1, all without leaving the Google site. A great way to increase visibility.
Some other nice things about G+:
- Focus on mobile. Android users (an iPhone app is in the works) can take advantage of Huddle (a group chat client – think BBM) and instant photo uploads.
- Straightforward privacy settings. Google isn’t going to hide your settings or make them confusing.
- No ads or games. As one USA TODAY intern noted, “I like that Google + has a cleaner format than Facebook. I hate being distracted by ads and what my friends are doing on FarmVille.”
What benefits do you think Google+ will have for college students? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.
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