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It feels like that you can’t turn around these days without someone inviting you to join Google Plus. So I thought it would be worthwhile taking a look at this tool and understanding some of its advantages vis-à-vis Facebook.
Google Plus has obviously been set up as a direct competitor to Facebook but it definitely has some new features. The most notable one is the “Circles” feature that Google Plus offers. This feature allows you to place your friends into separate groups (i.e. Circles) and you can decide what you want to show to each group. If you have ever found yourself posting information or a photo on Facebook that you didn’t want ALL your friends to see, the Google Plus Circles concept solves this problem in one fell swoop.
This is particularly interesting for small businesspeople (like me) when you find yourself ‘caught between worlds’ on Facebook. On the one hand, you aren’t sure if your old high school friends will be interested in your work posts. On the other hand, you are certain your clients and prospects don’t want to look at pictures of your new puppies. Circles on Google Plus neatly extricates you from this trap.
Another second feature is the Google Plus Hangouts. Hangouts is a video call that can take up to 10 people at the same time. Hangout also gives you the ability to view a YouTube video while on the call. While Facebook recently added a video chat feature, Hangouts is a stronger alternative in my book.
A third Google Plus feature worthy of note is Sparks. Sparks allows you to receive information related to your personal interests. This concept is much like Google News however with Google Plus you get all the updates in one location. Equally you can share them easily with your friends. So you can download, consume and share the information all in one place.
Finally, the Google+ button is a voting button much like the Facebook “Like” button. With the Google+1 you can vote on a link or an article and it will then be displayed on your profile so that others can vote on it too.
All in all, Google Plus is definitely a contender in a space thus far dominated by Facebook. It should be a must have for any small business who understands the power of social media.
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