Google Plus' big killer feature from the start has been that it lets users organize their friends and acquaintances into Circles to control what is shared, and with whom. But creating all these curated groups seemed a little like a half baked feature seeing as you couldn’t let anyone else in on that perfectly organized group. Well, now you can. Google is rolling out the ability to share circles on Google+.
Even though Google used an invitation system to control access to its new Google+ social network, the thing took off like gangbusters. It was the fastest network to ever reach 25 million visitors in its first month, and Facebook has been rolling out feature after feature that look suspiciously similar to offerings on the Goog’s service. If you couldn’t score an invite and have been wondering what all the hub-bub was about, today’s your day; Google+ is now open to all comers.
One of the missing pieces of Google+ for many users has been third-party tools, and those can't happen without official APIs. Today, Google has finally taken the first steps toward full developer API access. The public data API allows access to all the publicly available data on Google’s social network. It’s a welcome move from a developer’s point of view, but there are many features not included in this release.
You can now follow people you don't personally know on Facebook, just like on Google+ and Twitter. All you have to do is mash the Subscribe button in the upper-right corner of someone's profile. You're then given the same granular control over subscription feeds as you are with your friends, allowing you to filter how much information gets piped to your news feed.
It's starting to become clear why Mark Zuckerberg joined Google+ and it's not because he's grown tired of his own social network. He wants to know the competition, as in Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, and maybe learn a thing or three in the process. Zuckerberg seems to have learned that Google+'s social Circles rock and Facebook's friend lists could use a bit of work, so Mr. Zuckerberg and company went to work improving things.
Before today, if your annoying Uncle Ronnie acted like a moron on Google+ -- flooding your stream with tons of pointless posts and tagging you in every message, let’s say – the only way to stop the madness was to block him entirely. And as we all know, nothing makes for an awkward Thanksgiving faster than blocking Uncle Ronnie on G+. Someone at Google must be related to Uncle Ronnie, too! Today, a kinder, gentler "Ignore" button rolled out on Google’s social network.
Researchers at The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University just released a study that's sure to ruffle a few feathers, and may freak out parents of Facebooking teens. What the study found is that teens who regularly hop onto Facebook, MySpace, or other social networking sites are much more likely to do things they shouldn't be doing, like drinking alcohol and smoking pot.
Google+ is pretty rad. It has a Twitter element, in that you can follow others and have others follow you without being linked together as friends, and it hasn't been around long enough to pick up some of Facebook's bad habits, like bungled policy controls. But for all of its potential, Facebook is still the No. 1 social site on the planet and it's showing no signs of slowing down.
Google+ skyrocketed to over 25 million members in record time for a social networking site, a pace that suggests Google actually has a shot at one day kicking Facebook off its social throne. If that's going to happen, Google+ doesn't just need a large userbase, it needs an active userbase that actually post updates, share photos and links, plays games, and everything else people are already doing on Facebook. Are they doing it?
There were hints early on that Google planned to add games to Google+, but the search giant wasn’t talking. Today Google has announced Games in Google+. Everyone’s biggest fear was that the conversation-focused Google+ experience would be harmed by casual gaming, but it appears that El Goog is doing all it can to keep that from happening.