Why should I be on Google Plus?

You thought Facebook was the ultimate social mela you could be involved in? Try Google Plus. You might be surprised.

Sulabh Puri        Print Edition: August 2011

Mark Zuckerberg has more billions in his bank account than Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Is that why Google is hitting back with a service that might just take down the social networking supremo and put him out of business? Maybe that is what Page and Brin are envisaging, for Google's new Google Plus has arrived, and unlike the Californian company's other not-so-super projects (Wave and Buzz), this one looks positive.

What is Google Plus?
Google Plus is Google's second social networking portal after Orkut. It integrates various services into one. It is across between Facebook and Twitter with a twist of its own. Just as everyone googles, almost everyone likely gmails too. And Google knows this. This is its leverage. The company is bringing various services like Google Chat and Google Reader on one platform to provide Google users with something new and fresh in a social form.

Google has Orkut for social networking, so why Plus?

Well it's simple, people want something new. It's human nature to get bored with the old and to opt for novelty. Also Orkut isn't doing too well, with Facebook denting its business. Plus is a new platform for Google to get its users onto an unmarked social platform which provides them a lot of freedom in usage and options.

What is new? Why should I be on Google Plus?
Well, if you have been an Orkut user till now, this platform is going to be quite new for you. If you have used Facebook and Twitter as well then you are on more familiar turf. However, Google Plus is quite easy to use and understand. At the moment you cannot get a new registration on your own. Like most Google products this one is also in the Beta stage and we do not see the Beta signs being removed any time soon. And if we go by Google history, Beta means by invitation only. If you want to become a Plus person (that is how Google indicates a Plus user, a positive sign in front of your username), you have to be invited by someone who is already registered with the service. You would need a valid Google account. Yes, your Gmail account will be adequate enough. To answer why you should be on Google Plus-because sooner or later each and every one of your friends, family and professional colleagues are going to be on it and you can't afford to be left out of this cosy cluster, can you?

Circular Concept
Google Plus plays with the "circle" of friends tradition.It is a simple grouping method, where you can drag and drop contacts in a chosen circle. Unlike Facebook, where you have to scroll through pages of people and then select update and do three other things in between, Google has kept it simple. You can create friend groups called circles and name them. A few have been precreated for you from your Gmail contacts. There are recommended names from your chat and other lists (on Plus or not) who can be dragged into any particular group. This way when you post a picture, video or even updates of your status, you can choose to which circles these should be shown and which should be ignored.

Virtual hangouts
Why do you just want to chat with friends using your social network chat interface when you can video chat with them? Hangout enables video chatting with groups of friends on Plus.

Android Integration
You must be familiar with Android, the lovely Google operating system for phones and tablets. A Google Plus application is already out for Android users to keeps them constantly active on this social system.

Everything Google in one
Plus is your one stop for everything Google. Plus brings together various Google services such as GChat, Picasa and Google Reader under one roof. Google is still experimenting, so there is obviously more to come.

Plenty more? What is likely to come next?
The "more" might start with advanced YouTube integration that will bring the world of videos to your Plus doorstep. Tablet integration will also get better. Also with Google Plus, users will get unlimited storage for photos. And don't forget Google's Chrome operating system. This OS will definitely get a taste of Plus services.

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