Google recently wowed the social media crowd with its Google+ communities but immediately the Google+kins were voicing their concerns and complaints. There were a few things that people wanted changed and the users were very vocal about it. Google+ employees were all over all week talking to users, explaining how it worked and sharing tips.
One of the biggest complaints is the public vs. private communities. In the rush to start their communities, most people picked public and now regret it. The difference between the two was clearly stated: in a public community your community will be open to the world and in a private community only invited members can join the community and see what's shared. Choose wisely. I was in a community that started public, realized the mistake, closed and re-opened a private group. While all the members didn't move to the new group, those truly interested did. If you have a great community and are running it well, people will move to a new private group that you create. It's only been a week, you don't have that much content there yet. Also, maybe you will lose a few spammers in the transition. Everyone was flooded with invites and overbooked their social space with notifications and people. You have the ability to fix these things, Google doesn't need to do that for you.
What Google+ did roll out is a fantastic bunch of features that people were asking for and some sweet extra bonuses! The roll out was announced here: Google+ ‘Tis the Season for Shipping and includes eighteen new features. This is what I love so far:
Super easy posting from your smartphone. I'm an Apple girl so these screen shots are from my iPad.
You can easily view your circles and communities for sharing. And they are in alphabetical order!
This is what the post looks like and I can see who I'm sharing with with (by the blue person) and what text is posting (next to the green pencil), it's very clear and easy to use.
There's also a cool little photo preview with a larger grayscale version of the photo behind it. From Google, “The iPhone app now applies a subtle pan-zoom-scale effect to pictures in the stream.”
This is the expanded photo once I clicked it. There are ads on this but they are no big deal compared to Facebook's mobile version where almost half of what I see in my stream is sponsored posts or suggested pages. Google and Facebook need to pay the bills, I think Google did a much better job incorporating ads in their mobile version.
This is the new mobile menu with communities!
Hooray for communities on mobile! It's really easy to share in the different categories or just to review what's been shared overall. This is the center drop down menu in community view. You also have the ability to share to your circles and communities with one post.
When I view my Google+ profile on the mobile view, I see posts that I made in my communities and on my public wall. See the little blue titles next to the date? This shows where your post was made. One of the benefits of community posts is that they show in your own private stream. One stop shopping to check all your posts, no need to hop from community to community (or group to group on Facebook) unless you want to. Brilliant.
One on my very favorite new features in this roll out is the transitioning comments under the post. So slick! From Google, “On iOS, you'll see new conversation cards that really shine a light on your content—from longer snippets to bigger photos to comments that slide in beneath each post.”
View one, see Cedar's comment to me under the +27, which transitioned to the second view with the SMILE photo and my response which showed on my screen as a smooth transition to the next comment. Wow!
I'm absolutely LOVING these new features and this is just my first spin through them but what I love most is that Google+ listens, truly listens, to it's community and is in the field with them helping them learn to use their product. I just don't see this at all with Facebook. While the new features they've added in the past week are amazing, to me it's this customer service that really wins it for Google+. In the social media world much is said about responding to your customers on social media and Google+ is the only social platform that does this. Try talking to someone at Facebook or Twitter when you have a question or need help, it just does not happen. I'm dubbing Google+ the people's platform. I hope you check it out if you haven't already. Well played, Google+, well played.
Great quote from Vic Gundotra “Google+ is the fastest-growing network thingy ever.” And this is why.
Have you tried the new mobile Google+? What are your thoughts and what do you love/hate about it?
Photo courtesy of Nicholas “Lord Gordon” via Creative Commons.