Google+ topped 10 million users last week and announced they’ll allow another 20 million to join the network over the next weeks. Google also accepted applications for business pages, which will appear soon and roll out later this year.
Despite its newness, users rave about it. TechCrunch reviewed Google+ favorably in late June, just prior to its limited Beta release. Of course, some folks aren’t crazy about the circle feature in Google+, like PC magazine. And Harvard Business Review flayed Google+ saying it is basically a waste of time and does nothing.
Value of Google+
Google+ is about sharing and Google tried to make sharing as easy as possible, while still providing security for users. And unlike Facebok, Google is quickly morphing the platform in response to users’ feedback. While it remains to be seen what Google+ will ultimately become and what Google+ business pages will look like, I think Google+ provides great value to early adoptors.
Probably the greatest value provided on Google+ is engagement among users. And, because Google+ doesn’t decide who I can engage with, I’m learning all kinds of great things from great people and hearing new perspectives. One problem with Facebook and its restriction to friends is, while it’s interesting to hear what’s going on with them and see pictures of their kids (and cats, of course), I feel like they don’t have much unique information to share and their perspectives are similar to mine as we have similar backgrounds and training.
On Google+ I’m meeting folks from different walks of life, different backgrounds, and different world views. It’s incredible. And we get to talk freely with each other without restrictions of 140 characters or the 420 allowed by Facebook. We can truly express our thoughts.
Meeting New People
This is somewhat a corollary of my first value. The more you engage, the more folks you meet. As a new user, you should try to put lots of great people in circles. You can manage the circles to balance information overload with engagement. This is much easier in G+ than it was in Facebook.
And you really get to know people in your circles. Sometimes, what I’m learning about people shows me how wonderful, intelligent, and funny they are. Sometimes I’m finding people I once respected have an unlimited ego — not particularly appealing.
Emphasis on Helping Rather than Marketing
Commercialism isn’t highly valued on G+. Of course, there are the few who trying to build personal influence at any cost and trying to dominate the conversation, but they’re slowly being marginalized by users. Adding business pages may change this, but I hope not. Everyone benefits from having a site dedicated to positive engagement and helping behavior. Even businesses might learn to curb their self-promotion in favor of supporting and informing consumers about their products, learning about customers at a deeper level and using customer feedback to improve their products and services. This will truly improve businesses and contribute significantly to their success.
What have your experiences been like? If you still need an invite to G+, send me your email and I’ll hook you up.