Monday, July 18, 2011

Google+ and Google News

Using Google+ yet?  If not, I’m betting that you will be soon.  In fact, if you’d like an invite, just ask me.

Google+ is a social network tool that's still in "beta" but that already has millions of users.  It's visually similar to Facebook but with some key aspects of Twitter and some differences when compared with each. I wrote about Google+ back on July 1 and July 7. I really am very impressed.  The capabilities, the performance, and the user interface are all very solid.  Getting a “fresh start” on a big and credible social networking tool is fun and interesting, and the community is growing rapidly, so the network effect is working for Google here, too.

An astute Google-watcher named Vincent Wong makes a compelling case in a short slide show getting shared often on Google+ (and even Facebook) that what Google+ is about is getting more users to use more of Google’s services in the cloud. He does this by going over the obvious cases for comparison with Facebook and Twitter and talking about how those cases are weak, but that as part of using Google+ you now have toolbars at the top of your screen that promote the use of some of Google’s tools, and that those toolbars do a great job of drawing your attention and interest.

Meanwhile, another key service of Google’s is taking an interesting step. Google news is bringing online game aspects to Google news.  Acknowledging the appeal of the badge systems in services like foursquare (which I wrote about back on May 6), Google is bringing a badge system to Google News, allowing you to collect badges as you read up on certain topic areas.  They are betting that as a result, people will spend more time in Google News and share that fact using badges in social networks.  I’m betting that they are correct.

Are you using Google+ or any or Google's services a little more lately? Google hopes so, and seems to be making all the right moves to make that happen. Leave a comment and tell us about whether Google is getting more of your time lately.


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  1. You make good points, Deke. I wasn't using a lot of the Google interface before Plus came along, but now I'm starting to use the Calendar, the Reader, etc.

    Seems to me that Google is trying to get finger in every potential online pie. I never read too much about people's feelings about Google Voice, which seems to me one of the more exciting offerings they have. Land to land international calling at $0.02 per minute? Free domestic calling? People should be all over this.

    Another thing that Google seems to have going for it vs. FB, Twitter, etc., is that they have already figured out how to monetize their offerings.

    I'm still trying to fully wrap my head around Google+, but I'm sure I'll be using it more and more moving forward. Thanks for the continued info.

  2. I used to have a fairly measured approach to selecting different tools from different services and trying to get them to integrate in a way that I liked, or hoping that they came pre-integrated, or trying to run things myself. Recently, though, I've gone the other way, after using services like Gmail, Google Reader, Google Voice, YouTube, and so on. I think, "Does Google have something that does what I want?" And they usually do.

    For handling my personal website, I went to Google Sites, and I moved a family blog to Blogger. Then I decided it made sense to put pictures on Picasa.

    And sometimes I hear about neat things, like Google Web Fonts, or Google Cloud Print. Now the hard part is just to remember that there are some existing solutions from Google to problems I don't yet have.

    I'm still straddling the Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ worlds at the moment. I'm not sure how long I can sustain that, or if I want to.