3 Cool Google+ Features

May 16, 2012 § 1 Comment

Since it was launched in June 2011, Google+’s project launch has not exactly attracted users as the company intended. Many were quick to join Google+, but the success slowly faded as users and media leaders alike were quick to criticize its functions and mark it as a shortcoming in comparison to its social media predecessors. Because many users were not taking the time to get acquainted with Google+, its appealing features were left unexplored and were simply compared it to its predecessors. Before you take part in the criticism, or dismiss the idea of getting involved, introduce yourself to some pretty cool features that Google+ has to offer.

Circles

If you’re sharing links/images/anything on Google+, breaking your connections up into Circles a great way to target certain users and prevent overshare with others. It is also much easier to break up your friends list into Circles than it is to select Facebook friends for groups/friend lists (thanks to Google’s quest to simplify interaction). Companies and brands could definitely take advantage of this feature by targeting customers of a certain demographic for specific posts.

image via GeekyGadgets.com

Hangouts

Hangouts is an awesome way to video chat with a group of people. From catching up with a couple of friends to giving a cooking lesson to an audience, Hangouts can definitely be very useful. Brands could take advantage of this feature in many ways. Celebrities could host short Q & A sessions with select circles to show their fans some love. New start-ups could introduce themselves to potential/new customers. Fashion companies could give loyal followers a preview of new collections. This is definitely a hot feature that I predict will gain popularity as people take the time to explore it.

Sparks

Sparks is an especially usable feature for people who are just beginning to use Google+. Its sort of a cross between Stumble Upon and a Google News search. You can search for a topic on the Google+ home screen and then select “Sparks” to see hot new articles. However, because it uses boolean logic and bases results off of your interests and demographics, it is more likely that the list of results will “spark” your interest. A few great things about Sparks is that: 1) you can easily share one of these links with your circles without copy/pasting any links, and 2) you can create a personalized feed of articles by adding results to your interests.

I’ll be the first person to admit that Google did not necessarily use the simplest of techniques to present these features to users. It took some digging for me to find them/learn how to use them. But I think if a company or brand wants to really get ahead of the competition and do something to captivate an audience, there’s definitely potential in investing time into Google+.

I’m looking forward to seeing how brands use Google+ to enhance their social media presence. Have you seen a specific brand use Google+ in wow-worthy way?

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