Monday, July 11, 2011

Google+ ...Geneabloggers are All ABuzz

Everyone in the Geneablogging community is all abuzz about Google+ these days and how it compares to Twitter and Facebook. As Banai says in her post Google+ vs Facebook vs Twitter - 10 Things: “People are flocking to Google+.” Several bloggers have written about the similarities and differences between the 3 and I have included their posts below, with highlights and my thoughts about them. Please feel free to weigh in and if you’ve tried Google+ let us know what your experience has been like thus far.

I’d like to start off by pointing you to PCWorld’s post, 9 Reasons to Switch from Facebook to Google+.

# 3 Better Mobile App - Integration with Android Phones - I forgot that Google runs the Android system. So of course it will be a superior product. I can't wait to try this!

# 5: Can you get your data back: This was a huge concern for me, especially around sharing genealogy information with cousins or other researchers. The new FB group features makes this easier because you can now get notifications via email which I can save. But prior to that, this was not an option and things posted were lost in the feed down below. Well this was not really the point about Google+; the point was that you can walk away from it and take your information with you.

# 6: Better photo tagging - Google+ displays a warning to you that the person you are tagging will be notified that they are being tagged. Facebook does not do this, allowing for the possibility of unflattering photos to be posted without knowledge or consent.

#7: ad hoc group VIDEO chats using the Hangouts feature and the group text feature called Huddle on the Android sound really cool! I can't wait to try them!

So…thoughts from some actual geneablogging users…

Tamura Jones' post Double-Plus Good, from June 10, 2011, emphasizes that Google+ will become a non-desktop Cloud environment where everything can be controlled by Google services without leaving Google.

So far you may have noticed that Google Photos has taken over Picasa Web Albums and Google Blogger has taken over Blogger. Has your Blog URL switched over to the new Google one yet? Tamura also comments that he wouldn't be surprised if the commenting function on blogs is replaced with the one in Google+.

Google+ has “Hangouts” which is an ad-hoc video group chat.

Everyone in the geneablogging community has been wondering what the Google +1 is. We’ve had it sitting at the bottom of our blog posts for months now, not really sure what its purpose was. Well it was a kind of like a “see how this feels” button and precursor to Google+’s Facebook “Like” button.

With regard to Google+ circles versus Facebook friends lists, Banai says that Facebook friends lists have been around for a while, but they are difficult to find and maintain.  

I agree. I have friends lists in Facebook as well, but I don't use them to be selective about who I sent posts to. I use them to be selective about who I READ posts from.

And yes, Banai is right, you used to be able to see what list your friends were in in FB, but now you can't do that anymore. It's difficult to do now.

Banai tried the Hangout and thought it was totally cool.

According to Google's help page, you should be able to start a hangout by clicking on the "Start a Hangout" link on the left of your stream, however I do not see mention of this anywhere on my stream or profile. They also provide a link to click on, however that sent me to a page that said the information requested could not be found.

Update - I found the hangout link on the RIGHT side of my stream page. I will try this at home tonight when I have my camera hooked up. Is anyone game? 

Banai goes on to say that one big difference between Facebook and Google+ is that there are no walls in Google+. You interact with your friends by leaving comments on each others' posts. Another thing that makes Google+ superior over Facebook is that you can edit your posts which you cannot do in Facebook.

Another difference has to do with how your friends are organized and how you interact with them which is a combination of Facebook and Twitter. With Google+, you can add someone to your circle and not be in theirs and vice versa. If someone has you in their circle, their posts will show up in your feed.

By the way, did you know that TwitPic changed their terms of service recently and now they are claiming ownership of all your pictures?

Thanks Banai for reminding us of this!

Randy Seaver talks about his experience on his blog, Genea-Musings and has a fun little graphic about Google+. He also notes that there is not a character limit on posts and there seems to be a lot more genealogy content!  

Lorine McGinnis Schulze talks about her experience in her post Jumping on the Google+ Bandwagon where she has some tips for all the Google+ newbies to make the transition smoother, including to fill out your profile completely and with a photo of yourself, and how to add your blog posts updates to Google Buzz, and how to see your Google+ notifications right from your gMail account.

If you have any tips and tricks to share or thoughts on your experience, feel free to share them in the comments below.

My biggest fear with Google+ is that things won't work the way they say they will, the features won't be as powerful as they claim, and there will not be enough, if any at all, support documentation and available technical support staff to contact. But I am certainly willing to give it a try.

This photo was copied from the New York Computer Help Blog, 11 July 2011. I chose this photo because it has a hockey circle. And yes, I have one hockey friend so far in Google+.  And the crazy circle...well if you are friends with Greta, then you are already part of her Crazy house (see her elevator speech). 

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