Google Plus: What You Need To Know

(This is a follow-up to our post titled “12 Things About Google Plus In 30 Seconds“. If you have not read that blog post then you should read it first.)

Google Plus is barely on its three-week birthday – and people are still flocking to it like crazy. This week Google reported that Google Plus has skyrocketed past the 10M user mark since it was made available in the limited beta. This is quiet an impressive number consider most of the time it has been in invite only mode. I am still holding my breath to see the long-term impact the latest release from our friends at the big G. But Google Plus is definitely getting a great start out of the gate.

Here is quick summary of what we have learned since Google Plus was released:

What is a Google Plus circle?

It is a collection of friends that you can place special permissions on. The most important part of the circle concept is the ability to only broadcast to a subset of your friends. You should create your own circles as soon as you are allowed into Google Plus. And don’t put everybody in every circle. That defeats the point. Also – except in very rare cases don’t broadcast every update to every circle. Keep your message on target for each group just like you do in life.

Businesses are not welcome on Google Plus

At least not yet. Google is discouraging businesses from creating business profiles on Google Plus for the time being. They have plans to roll out a business platform. This is great news because it sounds like they are taking the time to plan a structured business platform. So far all of the major social networks have taken existed functionality (Facebook Fan Pages) and warped it into something that is barely usable for a business.

Until Google releases the business platfom on Google Plus please sit on your hands so you don’t try pitching your insurance company to me on Google Plus.

Google Plus Hangouts

The Hangout feature on Google Plus allows you to easily and quickly create a small group video chat within your browser environment. I’ve tried two Hangouts so far: The first one with a gentleman overseas did not fare very well ; The audio and video quality was abysmal and unusable. The 2nd one I tried with my daughter who is less than an hour away. The video quality was OK but still very choppy. The audio quality was great. And I love that we were able to share YouTube videos (P.S. If you have not done so watch the eHarmony Profile video with the lady/actress who loves cats. It will make you chuckle. Then make sure you watch the parody from the songify guys. This was my test video for Google Plus Hangouts)

Google Plus Sparks

Sparks are the Google Plus equivalent of Facebook Interests. A list of these can be found on the left side of your plus page, and appear to trigger a search for the topic in Google News when clicked. There is no user-generated content driving this section so far. And I don’t see a way to add your own Sparks to the master list yet. This looks like it could be a great area for me to keep coming back to for

This all the Google Plus news we have this week at Focus Consulting. Don’t forget to follow us on the Focus Consulting Facebook Fan Page, the company Twitter account and the Patrick Allmond Twitter account.

What have you learned about Google Plus that you like / dislike compared to the social networks that have been around for awhile? Be sure to share your comments and experience in the comment section below.