The answer is Google Plus. Now what’s the question?

1st May 2013 by tagged

Google Plus logo - redGoogle Plus is a joke – incorrect. No one uses Google Plus – incorrect again. How can Google Plus be a social network when no one is socialising on it? – wrong on two counts.

Google Plus is now the second biggest social network

According to statistics published by Global Web Index, Google Plus is now used by more people than Twitter and YouTube, in terms of social activity. The image below was also published on the Global Web Index report.

Social networks popularity graph

Why Google Plus is a force to be reckoned with

Google Plus is more than a social network. It is a platform with fingers in many pies. Refusing to use it is like refusing to dress for work. Let’s look at the many great things about Google Plus.

Integration with Gmail

I like the fact that Google Plus integrates with Gmail. When someone mentions me in a post, I see it in my inbox (something that Google now calls ‘conversations’ instead of emails). I can write a reply to the message within my inbox and it appears in my Google Plus account as though I had posted it there.

Google Plus 1: Facebook 0. Facebook tried to get us to integrate the social network with email a while ago but so far it has failed at that.

Notifications across multiple applications

When you are logged in to your Google account and using the search engine, YouTube or other Google properties, you see notifications relating to G+ activities by people you follow.

Google Plus 2: Facebook 0. Facebook notifications show up when you are on, but not while browsing other common web properties.

Better privacy control over your content

When you publish on Twitter, you are publishing for everyone. You don’t get to say which groups of people might be able to see your status updates. On Facebook, you can choose to make status updates visible to the public, or to friends only, or to friends of friends.

There are two problems with the Facebook model. First, when you publish something for friends only, you have little to no control over whether they share it with their friends. Second, in real life you don’t want to share the same things with everyone you know. You might want to publish pictures from your stag night with your mates, joke pictures with your colleagues and family humour with your family.

Google Plus lets you do that. Read here about how extended circles work, and here about how to hide who is in your circles. I wrote those two articles for our sister brand, Red Rocket Media.

Google Plus 3: Facebook and Twitter 0.

Google Plus is an authentication tool

Not only does Google Plus allow you to share things, chat, like (+1) things etc, it is also a platform that Google is using to authenticate people.

In its fight against web spam – ie, those people who try to game the search results – Google is developing a way of validating content through the people that publish and share it. Marking up your blog so that your image appears in search results adds credibility to your articles. Being active on Google Plus – by engaging regularly with other users and building your following – shows you are a real person, and anything you do then has more credibility.

Get started. Now.

If you haven’t yet taken Google Plus seriously, start using it. Add me to your Circles so I can follow you.

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About the author

Steve Masters

Steve is Head of Services for Brightpath and its sister brands. Steve started professional life as a magazine journalist, moving to the web in 1997. He has written for, designed, published and managed a wide variety of websites. Specialising in helping small businesses achieve cost effective marketing strategies, Steve has also worked in a number of corporate roles.