What You Need to Know About Google Plus

A couple of weeks ago I identified what is Google Plus 1 and specifically covered how to use it to help you rank. If Google Plus 1 is to Facebook’s “Like”, then Google Plus itself is to Facebook itself; this is Google’s answer to the social network.

Google obviously are no strangers to the effect which social search is having on ranking and Facebook’s effect on the world and everything in it, and they wanted to carve themselves a piece of the pie, better late than never that is. This post will answer some of the most common questions likely to be associated with Google Plus.

How Do I Join?

At this time you can apply to join at https://plus.google.com/ and giving your Google account info. According to Google, they’ve temporarily exceeded their capacity. By giving your email address they can email you when you have a chance of signing up, so keep checking back because even if you have been invited, there’s a chance you won’t get in as it seems to be first come first serve whenever new openings become available. Apparently they recently hit the 10 million user mark, so it is indeed filling up quickly.

How Is It Different Than Facebook?

The most obvious question is how does it differ from the biggest name in town. Well it’s not quite as different as you may think. People’s profiles at the moment consist of friends, posts, about, photos, and videos; pretty similar to Facebook indeed. While Google Plus has a feature called “Circles” which enables you to drag and drop your Google Plus friends into segmented groups of your choosing (think school, work, family, or even by musical taste), Facebook has “Groups”. Both of these enable you to segment your contacts/friends so that you can exclusively share content with a portion of your friends as opposed to everyone at once.

“Sparks” is a decent feature of Google Plus which lets you find filtered articles you may want to share based on your interests. It’s all about getting personal and driving sharing and between Circles and Sparks it’s clear that Google is on top of that.

Can I Make a Brand Page Like With Facebook?

Yes, but not just yet. Brands will obviously want to use Google Plus for marketing as opposed to just social networking amongst friends.

It seems Google really is still working out the kinks as they absolutely intend to allow brand pages but have taken down pages of companies and people who have already created them using their Google Plus accounts. It seems that they’ll be fully available later in the year once it’s all set up and ready for good. It also seems that anyone who jumps in now is a guinea pig helping Google work out the kinks.

Should I Join Now?

If you’re interested in Google Plus you should definitely leave your email addy with them to be notified when you have a chance of signing up. You’ll want to integrate the Plus 1 button to your site if you haven’t already and you’ll be able to link your account to the button on your site when everything is set, so there’s no harm in getting an early start in at least putting the button on your site, as well.

Check out my Google Plus 1 post for more info on this.

Or check out this video from Google themselves on their new social network experiment, it’s got a soothing piece of background music:

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