Google+, which was launched in September 2011, has often been confused as another social networking site. But it’s different and offers a lot more options to share with your circle of people. Alan Devereux, Communications Officer, British Business Group tells us what Google+ is all about.
When Google announced its new offering, much of the media touted it as a Facebook killer; the thing that was going to attract Facebook users, who had become tired with privacy concerns. But, Google has never called G+ a social network site. Instead it has marketed it as a product that allows a new way to share. And it is exactly that.
Google’s users, who inhabit much of the connected world, now have a new drop-down menu. Google has made it very easy for people to sign up for Google+ and they have been signing in their millions.
Google+ is an amalgamation of the company’s existing products, with a few new additions. The main page is similar to the Facebook timeline, as you can see what people who you have “circled”, have shared. The similarity stops there. Differing from the large social networks, Google+ makes it easy for users to target messages to different groups of people, using the aforementioned circles.
For instance, I have a number of circles for the 800 or so people I have chosen to follow. Some are in the UAE circle, others in the friends and family circle. Items I share with my UAE circle are not seen by my friends and family circle (unless of course I have added a person to two circles, which it is possible to do).
Allow me to use the BBG as a very basic example of how these circles can work. There are BBG members and potential BBG members. Why should existing BBG members read messages about joining the group? Google+ allows communicators to target specific groups with specific messages, groups predefined by the company itself.
There are many ways in which a company can use these circles. Perhaps a group of people could be invited to take part in a focus group, important documents could be shared with a circle ensuring, or maybe companies could do something as simple as devising a competition in which contestants need to work together for a prize – the contestants would be grouped by the company and given specific instructions. The point that I hope to make is, that with a little imagination Google+ can be a very effective way to communicate with people.
Another excellent aspect of Google+ is the “Hangouts”. Google has given us free teleconferencing abilities. Yes, there are already free video calling services on the Internet but are there any that allow users to watch YouTube videos while conferencing, or share documents all parties can edit? Companies can now play tutorial videos that they have uploaded to YouTube while talking to the clients through the finer aspects of the product. Google+ is an excellent development and I am a convert.
Alan Devereux is a husband, father, and Communications Officer for the British Business Group, Dubai and Northern Emirates, and can be found here: http://ae.linkedin.com/in/alandevereux He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Before joining SME Advisor as an Assistant Editor in 2010 I obtained a Bachelors Civil Law Degree (Hons) from the National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland, in 2005. I worked as a trainee lawyer in Dublin, Ireland, specialising in defence litigation and criminal law before obtaining a Masters in International Journalism from the University of Cardiff in 2009. At present I am the Editor of SME Advisor Middle East, which is a publication within the CPI Business Group. You can follow me on twitter: @mikey_byrne or @SMEadvisorME. Also, you can join me on Linkedin (Mike Byrne) or at (SME Advisor).