Their new offering, Google Plus (or G+) has the potential for being a major improvement on Facebook from several standpoints:
- There really is value to the breadth of things you can do in a system. Google has been marching towards the goal of letting you move back and forth between various media or types of information, mixing and matching your content and your method of communications. I like this convenience and G+ adds another quiver to that set of arrows.
- G+ Circles are the exact thing I want to do -- even if I post mostly to the circle that includes my friends from all walks of life. It is nice to know that I could send out a post to just my xBBN friends or my LexMedia friends.
- G+ has a clean design. I value the thought that has gone -- and continues to go -- into Google products. Recently many of the Google services (GMail, GCalendar, etc.) have had a facelift making them a lot less cluttered and G+ continues this design simplicity. I have heard people say that G+ is too simple. I don't believe that simplicity can be a fault if you can get the job done.
- The various types of media that can be included in G+ interactions are sophisticated. For example, this morning I started a photo album from G+. It was integrated in with Picasa and felt like I could do as much with photos as I can with the Picasa system -- which, although simple itself, is surprisingly good for processing digital photographs.
- I keep hearing good things about the G+ video multiparty conferencing system: hangouts. I haven't tried it out myself, but I see great potential for use of hangouts as a tool for non-profits holding meeting and conversations, as described in this post I found this morning (http://bit.ly/qHiw7M). I am going to give this a try on the next such group I am involved in which is also receptive to the idea. I've learned my lesson: I won't try to use this with a group that is too big and too pressed for time to be bothered with something under development. But, I thinks this mode of communication is important for organizations whose members are distributed far and wide.