More Than a Social Network

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-07-19 Print this article Print


5. It's more than a social network

One of the best things about Google+ is that the search giant isn't simply making it a walled garden away from its other products. Google+ allows users to see what sites they've given a "+1" rating on, and thanks to a navigation pane at the top, users can quickly jump to Gmail, Google News and other services. Google+ is designed to be more than just a social network. And that's refreshing.

6. Google is serious about identities

A major issue with other social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, is that the users' identities are not easily determined. In many cases, people either don't use their real names or impersonate others. With its social project, Google is forcing users to display only their real-world names. In the long run, that will be a welcome feature as folks find fewer impersonators and more legitimate content.

7. Strong privacy features

Google was smart with Google+. Rather than try to get users to share as much content as possible, the search giant has delivered a host of privacy features to allow users to share only what they're comfortable with. With the platform's privacy tool, users can assign their "network visibility," to determine with whom to share posts and more. Privacy is vastly important when it comes to social networks, and Google seems to understand that.

8. A small, dedicated group of users

A solid argument can be made that Facebook's 750 million active users should be enough to persuade people to stay put. After all, the majority of an average person's friends are likely using Facebook and not Google+. However, there is something to be said for Google+'s current user community. For the most part, its users are active, engaged and doing their part to make the environment as rich as possible. On Facebook, that isn't always the case. For now, Google+ user base is one worth joining.

9. It's a real news feed

Google+ comes with a nice feature, called Sparks. With it, users can input a topic that they're interested in and find information related to that. So, if they like movies, they can get film-related news. Those who are into comics can learn more about that. Sparks makes Google+ a full-fledged news feed, thus keeping users in place and making them want to come back for more.

10. Facebook should have a competitor

If nothing else gets a user to switch, perhaps they should think about the competitive landscape in the social space. Right now, Facebook is dominating all other social networks, and the closest alternative, Twitter, is more like a complement than a competitor. But Google+ is a direct competitor with the ability to scare Facebook. And as consumers have seen time and again, a little fear in the marketplace is a good thing for long-term innovation. Simply put, if Google+ and Facebook battle it out, the users will benefit no matter who is winning.

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Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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