Mashable reports that Google unveiled Google+, a social network designed to go head-to-head with Facebook. A very limited test field was rolled out on Tuesday, June 28, and will become available to the entire public at an undisclosed date.
One of the biggest differences between Google+ and Facebook is Circles, in which users are able to sort their friends into different social circles, such as friends, family, co-workers, and more. Users are able to share photos, links, posts, and other content with multiple circles or just one circle. Facebook users are able to limit who can see what, but it is not as easy to manage, nor is it as central of a feature, as it is with Google+. Another significantly different aspect of Google+ is that it has a free, multi-user video chat feature, called Hangouts. Currently Facebook does not have anything similar to this. Within Hangouts, users and their friends are able to search for and watch YouTube videos together as a group. (Google owns YouTube.) All users in the chat are able to search, play, or pause a video.
Another crucial difference between Google+ and Facebook is Sparks, which is essentially a recommendation engine that helps users find interesting content based upon their interests. Sparks is a collection of articles, photos, videos, and other content that is recent and relevant and is grouped by interest, such as “Movies.” Sparks is algorithmic, meaning it relies on information from other products from Google, such as Google Search, in addition to what is being shared by Google +1 buttons as well as within Google+ itself. Facebook users are able to become a fan or “Like” a product, place, etc., but users are not able to fully cultivate their interest. Sparks, in contrast, delivers content from across the web based upon terms a user enters, which are able to be returned to anytime to sort through new content. Users can also add Circles or individuals to an item to share with them. It appears as though Google+ will attempt to become the one-stop destination not only for sharing content, but also for finding it.
With the failure of Google Buzz and Google Wave, the search engine giant has been struggling to effectively battle Facebook. No doubt Google+ will be closely scrutinized once it becomes available to the entire public. While it remains to be seen how successful the new social networking site will be, once again we are reminded of the high value search engines like Google place upon content that is both relevant and interesting, in addition to its appeal to users.
Is your law firm blog/website full of content that is likely to be read and shared by users with their friends? As you can see, it is becoming more and more crucial that websites and blogs have content that is appealing, relevant, and interesting. If you have doubts about the effectiveness of your website or blog’s content, contact SLS Consulting to learn more about legal content development.
Sources: http://mashable.com/2011/06/28/google-plus/; http://www.pcmag.com/slideshow/story/266334/6-Things-Google+-Can-Do-That-Facebook-Can%27t