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So, is all the hype just clever marketing from Google or, does Google+ offer a better alternative to Facebook ? A bit of both I think

Google+
First published 30-07-2011
You can't use the internet lately without seeing Google+ being mentioned and most of our readers will already know that Google+ is Google's answer to Facebook, but do we all really need another social networking website ? Well, quite obviously, Google think that we do !
Older readers will probably just 'tut', shake their heads and wonder what all the fuss is about, but I'm predicting that many of our younger readers will have taken more than just a passing interest in Google+ in fact, the figures speak for themselves - 20 million users within a matter of a few weeks !
So, is all the hype just clever marketing from Google or, does Google+ offer a better alternative to Facebook ? A bit of both I think !
Google+ is a set of social networking tools that helps you to keep up with your circle of friends and conveniently, that's the name of the the first of Google's social networking tools - "Circles".
Before I continue, can I just say, that, if the first few lines of this week's article has left you with the feeling that you are missing out on something - don't worry! At the moment, you can only join Google+ if you receive a personal invitation from someone who has already joined.
Those of you who are already convinced that you want to be in on Google's new social networking revolution can send their email address to Google and they will keep you updated with important information and let you know when you can join. Just visit https://plus.google.com/ and sign in using an existing Google account login, such as a Gmail account - there's a link and a form to send them your name and email address.
A word of warning ! When you visit the Google+ website, the country in which your Ip address is registered determines the language that is used on the website so, a British person living in Turkey for example, using a Turkish IP address, will see Google's website render in Turkish. Don't worry, just skip to the foot of the page and there is a drop down list that allows you to change the language option.
Back to the first of Google+'s social networking tools - "Circles".
One of the problems with Facebook is that it's not easy to create and maintain different lists of friends and so, most people just have one list containing everyone. The problem with this approach however, is that, this means that everyone can see anything that you write on your wall and some people may feel that this restricts them in what they can and can't write. You wouldn't necessarily, want your boss to see and hear about what you did on your Friday night out with the girls !
If the information on this page is useful, you can recommend it to other people using this Google +1 button. Thank you !
Google "Circles" overcomes this problem because it allows you to 'easily' create circles of friends so, for example, one circle can contain the names of the friends that you go out with at weekends, another circle can contain the names of your work colleagues and another can contain the names of the members of your dart's team . Each circle of friends only sees the information that you give them permission to see and the circles can overlap and therefore, some names can appear in more than one circle. A great feature !
The second of Google+'s features is equally as impressive ! Google+ "Hangouts" allows you to 'easily' connect, via video link, and "hangout", with up to ten of your friends in a video chat room. It's easy to let your friends know that you are hanging out and when you do, they can visit you and video chat with you - ten at a time !
Next, there's Google+' "Sparks" which is your own personal content filter. You can easily configure the settings within Google "Sparks" and it will look through all the content that you receive and only deliver, according to the pre-determined settings that you have configured, the content that you want to view, read or, share.
A nice texting feature for those people that are always on the go and use an "Android" or, "iPhone", is "Huddle" which is a way of grouping your friends and keeping in touch with them collectively by text message.
Google+ "Instant Upload" provides a very easy way for you share the pictures and video that you have taken with your mobile phone/device. Take the picture or, shoot the video, upload it and share it with your circle of friends.
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