It’s without question that Google is one of the main innovators of “stuff to enjoy” and work with when it comes to the world wide web, and I have loved checking out each and every one of them since I first got my email “invite” to start a free Gmail.com account. At the time I as a diehard AOL user (which is America Online for those no longer familiar with the abbreviation) and its since that first account setup it has become my primary personal address. Over the years they’ve given us Google Earth, Google Docs and even Google Buzz; the latter of which was briefly discussed on our Social Networking narratives. That brings us to the newest announcement of Google + which is designed to help you “share” what you are most interested in with your friends and the online world around you.
This project is in its very beginning stages and I signed up as one of the numerous beta testing public but I am guessing we are closer to its being made available to a wider audience today than when I first did this a couple of weeks ago. The premise appeals to me since its about sharing that which you love with those who might find you during some Google searches. I view it as being very helpful to the articles on PiercingMetal.com as well since the more that this work is shared around peoples circles of friends, then the greater impact the viewpoints have in guiding you to something that was thought to be outstanding or to steer clear of something determined to be dreadful. My guess is that Google is aiming its sights on the stuff that Facebook is doing and that is good, a little competition keeps things interesting in this ever-changing online realm.
I have experimented on how it works by doing some searches for things I regularly enjoy or have written on my own and felt the largest sampling of the public would appreciate. When you get your list in a Google screen and are in the “+” program, you see a little “plus 1″ icon that is greyed out. If you want to speak up for this particular item you just click the icon and it shows that you gave this a plus one. It’s kind of like giving something a thumbs up or in direct example “Liking” something on Facebook. The critical difference seems to be that it’s going to be available across the entire Googlesphere as opposed to being only viewed in Facebook as something people dig. My hope is that it works out in the fashion that they expect it to because it has some promise and might bring things a wider level of attention. There are so many things online that it sometimes becomes difficult to find them and this could make a difference. If you click the logo above you will see that I did a Google search for some PiercingMetal.com things and if you are signed up for the “Plus 1″ project we welcome you giving it a whirl on some of those items. When you scroll over the shaded out icon it suggests for you to “Recommend This Item”. Then I encourage you to support the other stuff you are most passionate about so the world at large knows that they need to pay more attention to it. If you like it, “Plus 1″ it. You would be doing some good for all of it.
The Social Networking aspect of Google Plus does take a little getting used to. When you check it out you will see a number of Circles and these allot Family, Friends, Acquaintances and Following. So essentially you can be Following a website profile like PiercingMetal.com to see what they are up to and place those who you know in Acquaintances as opposed to friends. In similar fashion to Facebook, there is a Stream that shows you the latest news from the people who you have added to the Circles on your profile. Since I am a music journalist I have created two additional Circles with one being restricted to the talented people I am proud to call friends and the Media Contacts that I have made over the years. Since some of these Media Contacts are now actually friends in my regular day, I have included them in my Friends Circle. Confused yet? Don’t be because it all makes a little sense when you look at it like this. Let’s say you had a new job interview and you want people to know about it. You can share this post with the Friends and Family but not the Media Contacts or Acquaintances circles. I have always hated how people who barely know me get to “like” or add comments to things I post on my personal Facebook but deleting people on the network now seems to cause a whole new world of crap. Who has time for dealing with that. What I would really love to do is connect my “Buzz” account to this profile as opposed to my primary personal one but since I did post the site Facebook and Twitter so at least people can find those links and keep up with the adventures in Media in the same fashion.
I created a profile for PiercingMetal.com on Google + using the email that I had to use for the official YouTube.com channel, so fans or supporters of the site are encouraged to “Follow Us” (as they would in Twitter) via this PROFILE LINK or the email address of “email@example.com”. On the same note, new Media Contacts and talent are welcome to add us to their Circles in the hope of working in tandem with each other. This is still new so it has a lot of things to work out but I will admit it has a very clean feel. There is also an Android app that you can download for your Smartphone or non-Apple tablet device.
Learn more of the finer details about Google + via its Wikipedia entry HERE.
UPDATE 11/7/2011: Google+ has been growing as a Social Networking tool since I originally wrote up this narrative back in July and today I discovered that the option for creating what is referred to as a “Branded Page” was available. For those in need of a reference this is similar to the Facebook Fan Page for PiercingMetal in terms of connecting ones branded identity to the general public. I welcome all followers to this page and hope to somehow make it as vital to my sites efforts as the Facebook Page has become. Perhaps we can feed our Official PiercingMetal Twitter account into the statuses of our Google + official page. That would save some work.