The whole world is talking about it right now and it's getting more awesome every day. It's Google's new social network Google Plus (Google+). The Facebook-killer is getting rave reviews from social neophytes and experts alike. Lauded for its simplified privacy settings, Google Plus now has more than 20 million users worldwide and the number is growing rapidly. If you just received an invite and have been perplexed by the user interface, don't worry; this guide will make you a Google+ expert in no time.
If you've been using Facebook for a long time, you'll find minor similarities between the user interfaces of G+ and FB. But since we've already explained some of the basic Google+ concepts in an earlier article, we won't go over them again. However, let's compare G+ and Facebook head to head just to get to know those features better:
Facebook Friends List vs. Circles
In Facebook when you post a status update, everyone from your high school teacher to your 10 year-old snot-nosed neighbor gets to see it. There is no way you can hide the update from a select group of people; everything is out there in public, sometimes leading to embarrassing problems. Google Plus takes care of this problem by allowing you to sort your friends into separate categories called Circles. A new account comes with a few circles already created by default such as Family, Friends and Acquaintances.
You can create your own circles and add people there. However, they won't be able to know which circle you have added them to. So, if you want you can create a special circle for all the people you dislike and then you can be assured that the feelings won't be mutual anytime soon. Whenever you post a notice on G+, you can choose which of your circles can view the notice. This is a huge improvement over Facebook's flawed privacy settings.
Facebook Like and Plus One
Competing neck-to-neck with Facebook Like comes Google's Plus One button. Despite being new, you'll find the button on most of the sites, including ours. Also, you'll find the button besides search results in Google. Whenever you 'Plus One' an article or a search result, it will show up in the +1's section of your Google profile. Similar to Facebook's Like, you can +1 posts and comments made by your friends but they won't show up on your profile. To undo a Plus one, just click on the +1 button again.
Facebook Chat and Google Chat
Google has made sure that once you start using Plus, you won't be needing Facebook anymore. Competing head-on with Facebook's chat feature comes Google talk. On the bottom left corner of your G+ profile, you can instantly start chatting with friends from your circles. And yes, it works flawlessly across all operating systems. So long, FB chat.
Facebook Video Calling and Google Plus Hangout
On Facebook, you can leave your friends a video message, which is a very new feature. Google Plus on the other hand, goes one step ahead with an amazing feature called Hangouts. Google Plus Hangout allows you to video chat with multiple friends from your circles at the same time. This nifty little feature is really catching on as Dell is already planning to use it for customer service purposes.
Facebook Places vs. Google Plus Hangouts
Both offer a great way to share your location with your friends. The G+ feature however, is a little more advanced than Facebook Places.
More on hangouts:
Watch out for our next post as we continue our ultimate guide to using Google Plus.