Google+ Social Network a Facebook alternative

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Google+ is Google's latest effort at social media, its best so far. Google+ social networking site, borrows a few ideas from the world champion in social media, Facebook, but also introduced some new and better ideas that makes it a good alternative to Facebook.

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Google+ is now available to all users and according to Google, the social networking site boasts of over 40 million users. So far, user reviews from Google+ users including mine have been positive, with most commending how it handles privacy and the control it gives users to select who they share particular contents with. Google+ is also less cluttered.

Here is a brief overview of Google+:

Google+ now offers most of the features that you are used to on Facebook. On Google+ you can share updates, photos, videos, and links just like on Facebook. You can also find and follow your favorite brands and businesses as well as find and share hot contents that other Google+ users are talking about. Games are now well integrated into Google+.

Google+ allows you add your network into groups called Circles and enables you share content easily with specific circles or group of circles. Google+ has pre-labeled circles for friends, family, and acquaintances, but also allows you to add your own labels.

It also incorporates the Twitter following concept, which allows people follow people they are interested in. This makes Google+ easier for celebrities, you do not have to manage two separate profiles, one for personal life and another for fans.

Google+ puts everything in one place offering a better experience. The following circle is a good place to put people you are interested in and wish to be getting updates from them.

When sharing on Google+, you select which circles you want to share the content with. This gives you control over who sees your post. For example, if you do not want your boss or family member to see the content you are about to share, just make sure you do not share it with the circles they belong to. So, you can keep your privacy, while still having your family and boss as friends, mimicking our real life relationships. Google+ makes adding friends to circles easy with drag and drop.

Google+ features a video chat area called Hangouts. You can create a Hangout or join one created by a friend. Up to 10 people can join a Google+ Hangout. To chat with text, you have to use another Google+ feature called Huddle, which is similar to Hangouts, but for text chat.

Google+ also has a news feed, called a Stream. When posting on your Google+ Stream, you select which Circles see the particular post (all circles or specific circles). Each friend will see only what the Circle he/she belongs to is allowed to see when he/she views his/her Google+ Stream.

One handy feature on Google+ is the ability to edit your updates, even after publishing. This may seem like a common sense feature, but it is not yet available on Facebook. On Facebook if you make a mistake, you either delete the whole post and rewrite or you just leave it with the error.

Like on Facebook friends can comment on or endorse your Google+ Streams. However, while Facebook uses the Like button for endorsement, Google+ will be using what is called the +1 button. You can see a +1 button on this post opposite the Facebook like button.

Search is also integrated into Google+ in a feature called Sparks. Sparks when prompted will automatically search for contents relevant to your interests from all over the web and deliver them to you, something Facebook still can’t do. You can then share such content with your Circles. You can also search for contents on Google+ alone.

Google+ features a What's Hot feature which shows you the most shared contents on Google+ right now. It is similar to trending post on Twitter, but shows you the most popular post instead of a trending keyword like on Twitter. Google+ also has a Ripple, which enables you graphically observe how your contents and those of people in your circle are shared

Google+ now has support for businesses, brands, and organisations. Google+ for pages allows brands and businesses build fan pages on Google+. You can visit Nigeria Technology Guide fan page on Google+. Google+ for pages is just like Facebook for pages, but with some compelling offerings that makes it a must for serious businesses.

Google+ mobile apps are available for Android devices, iPhone, and iPad.

No doubt, Google+, though years behind in the social media game is a compelling alternative to Facebook.

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