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A to Z guide to Google+

Google+ is the tech giant's latest attempt to break the social network hoodoo that surrounds the company. After the failure of Google Buzz and Wave to garner public support there is a belief that the company may finally have figured out how to do social.

tech reviews Updated: Aug 17, 2011 16:41 IST

A – Another Social Networking site

– Or should I say, another social networking site from Google. *phew* After Google Wave failed to create any waves and everyone asked Google Buzz to Buzz off, this is Google’s third attempt at taking Facebook head on (not considering Orkut as it was developed before Facebook became famous).



B – Businesses (separate acc. Strategy)

– Google doesn’t want any company, business or product to have an account on Google+. Not right now, at least. They’re completely clear with their strategy and currently, all the accounts are only for Homo sapiens. Google+ has a separate strategy for businesses and they’re right now busy refining the last bits. In Product Manager, Christian Olsten’s words, “We have been watching Google+ take shape over the last week and we’ve seen some really great companies get involved. But frankly we know our product as it stands is not optimally suited to their needs. In fact, it was kind of an awkward moment for us when we asked Ford for his (or was it her?) gender!”



C – Circles

– Google+ lets you add all your friends in different circles hence you can safely post that NSFW video and share it with your College Circle without worrying that your aunt from Amritsar will see it. You can also tell all your friends that you’re chilling in Goa while keeping your boss who’s in the Do-not-share-anything-with-Boss Circle, under the impression that you’re down with viral. Here are some other circles you can possibly use to categorise your friends. Facebook friends circle, Twitter friends circle, Real life friends circle, Colleagues-to-be-included-in-conversation-while-ranting-about-office circle, Family-members-you-can’t-tell-you-like-DK-Bose-song circle.



D – Direct Messages

– One of the most unique feature of G+ is how to Direct Message or Inbox someone. Technically speaking, there is no ‘Inbox’ feature. You never go in that shell where you feel safe, secure and private to make personal conversations like Facebook, Twitter & Orkut. Everything stays on the Timeline. Only difference is, you share the post only with that particular person(s) instead of sharing it with ‘Public’ or a circle. It can be classified as Direct Message in a way, but it will take some time and plenty of near-misses getting used to it, as that security of conversing in private folder cocoon is out of the window.



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E – Equinox

– Here, equinox can be referred to as that site which has found a balance between Facebook & Twitter and have engineered their way in combining best (functionalities) of both world, which in a parallel universe caters to the entire spectrum of users.



F – Following/followers

– “People in your circles / People who’ve you in their circle” sounds more like “People you’re following / People who’re following you”. Google+’s friend list resemble Twitter more than Facebook.



G – Gtalk

– Users have faced awkward situations where they’re being pinged on the Gtalk by people they’ve never added in the first place. Turns out, when you mutually add each other on G+, they get automatically added to your Gtalk. Given the fact that Google already has Gtalk, you don’t really expect them to program a new chat server, do you?



H – Hahaha gifs

- They logged on, they uploaded and they left. Since the first day, G+ has been littered with gifs and jpgs of how G+ has kicked FB’s butt. It’s either a cheap marketing ploy by Google where they’ve asked their employees to circulate these images or they’ve been created by anti-facebookers who’ve been waiting for someone to do come up with something that can rival FB.



I – Invitation

– This yawn-worthy marketing tactic have now official earned a ‘cliché’ status. Like every new website/product wants you to think that they’re going to let only a select few mere mortals have the honour of testing their new thingy and to earn that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, you will be required to cry out loud on Twitter and Facebook a million times to gain a so-called ‘invitation’ which will catapult you to Megatron levels of stardom and will change your life forever, even Google+ created the same noise where people were ready to give up their one limb to earn that coveted invitation to be one of the first people to have an account on Google+. Google+ created hype by giving out only a few thousand invitations in first few days which have now swelled to millions. In fact, Google did the same with Buzz and Wave. Grow up Google, instead of using such tactics, just make a great product, user base will take care of itself.



J - Just in time

- G+ was launched on 28th June ‘11. Just 24 hours later, on 29th June, Myspace fell for just $35 million. MySpace was launched in 2003, a full year before Facebook, and it had peaked popularity in 2007 when it was valued at $12 billion. If symbolism is anything to go by, Google might just have launched G+ at a critical point of time. Just in time, as some would say.



K – Kleptomania

– Maybe. Although, G+ has tried to stay away from the Facebook structure as much as possible and despite using terminologies as different from Facebook as possible, similarity to FB is pretty obvious. It's evident that G+ is nothing but a cross between Facebook and Twitter from features point of view.



L – Links

– As of now, for an average user there is rarely anything to do on G+ apart from checking out tons of links that everyone is forwarding on G+. There are hardly any photos or any unique updates about friends which you haven’t read before on FB and/or twitter. It will take some time till the site gets populated and one can actually think of spending (read wasting) substantial amount of time on Google+.



M – Mute

– All those people who’ve regretted congratulating a friend on his new relationship status after being bombarded with half a million notifications, will love this feature. In short, all of us. Mute allows us to mute notification about comments that people post on the same updates which we’ve commented on, hence, you will no longer feel shy to comment “RIP” on your friend’s “Getting married next week” update.



N – Nice, but not enough

– Would G+ be able to overhaul Facebook can be answered in just 4 words, “(It's)Nice, but not enough.”



O – Omnipresent

- Development of G+ has finally got Google, the omnipresent status. Google had every trick in the book, from Google Docs, Google Earth & Gmail to image sharing Flickr, video sharing YouTube & a blogging portal in Blogspot; a truly global social networking site was the only thing that was missing. With G+, it seems circle is complete. Although, some would argue that Google already had Orkut, but as mentioned, Google really wanted a GLOBAL social networking site and according to their Google Earth, the planet has 200+ countries and not just India & Brazil. Hence, G+.



P – Plus one

– Plus One or +1 is equivalent to Facebook’s ‘Like’. But +1ing on Google+ won’t make it appear in your +1 section, so you needn’t worry that your family will come to know that you’ve +1ed Tara Reid’s Wardrobe Malfunction video unless you +1 it anywhere on net.



Q – Quintessentially minimalistic

– Like everything Google, G+ too followed Google’s classic design philosophy and kept the site to bare minimum. Let’s enjoy the neatness and spaciousness that the site offers, till Adwords fills up the empty space.



R – Reality Check

– Google+ is the fastest growing website but still it’s far from catching up with Facebook’s 750+ million users. And Facebook is just one step away from Gmail once @facebook.com mail id starts working in its full fledged avatar.



S – Sparks

– There are no fan pages on G+ instead they have something known as Sparks which is essentially RSS feed of things that interests you, which may range from anything from “Aston Martin” to “Hot pics of Katrina Kaif”. Google seem to have employed some complex algorithm which probably takes into consideration page hits/rank from a little know search engine known as Google.com, to decide which news/links to throw up for your Sparks



T – 25 Million users

– Google+ has already crossed the 25 million user mark is the fastest social networking website to reach this mark. Don’t get impressed by the fastest-social-networking-site-to-reach-25m-mark award, yet. Given Google’s might and the fact that it only took a Gmail account to register for Google+, it’s no surprise that they’ve achieved that feat in only a month’s time. The so-called “by invitation only” was only a marketing gimmick.



U – Unlimited photos

– 1 album = 1000 photos. Unlimited albums = Unlimited Photos. Wohoo!!!



V – Video Chatting

– Video Chat or Hangout as they call it, has to be G+ ‘s “deal maker”. The fact that one can video chat with up to 10 people at the same time is for sure a big plus.



W – Why should I be on G+?

– That’s question you will be left asking yourself…So, what’s the point of G+? Well, let me ask you, what’s the point of any social networking site? Photos, Connectivity, News, Interaction, Staying in touch, Status Updates…. ? It’s the same with Google+. It’s just a case of old wine in new bottle. Facebook or Google+, or both. Whatever you suits you.



X – Chromosome X

– Google+ does seem to have that air of prejudice where it already considers itself better than anything else. But, despite everything, it seems, Google has finally found that Chromosome X lying in some corner of their Mountain View Office which can possibly make G+ capable of throwing a serious challenge at the reigning Heavy Weight Champion - Facebook.



Y – Young

– G+ is still in its early days, almost an infant from a social networking point of view. Although, initial signs may point at G+ to be a prodigy but it’s premature to call it a “Legend Killer”. Give it some time and let the kid breath and stop jumping to conclusions yet. Let the time speak…!



Z – Zuckerberg Mark

– Mark Zuckerberg has been added in circles by highest no. of people 429868* on G+. This figure is more than the combined strength of Google founders Larry Page (250487*) & Sergey Brin’s (171456*) followers. That’s like someone crashing in your birthday party and becoming the most popular guy in the house. It seems Mr. Zuckerberg, whose bio reads “I make things”, is keeping an eye on the competition. No harm in being a little cautious, right Mark?