In the last week I have been lucky to attend day 1 of the Dublin Web Summit as well as Get Social. The Web Summit is Europe’s fastest growing tech event while the Get Social conference is run by the Techspectations digital outreach team in Dublin City University. I was a member of this team until recently - the speaker lineup was impressive and for me, Brian Herron, Community Manager for Google + Local was the guy I wanted to see.
One of the main topics of conversation at both events was where Google + “fits” in the grand scheme of things. Some say that Google never did social well, while others say that they don’t really care about social. Google + has stimulated lots of debate - How good is it? What is it? How do you use it?
When I first started to use Google + last year I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing, but, since then, i’ve managed to work out what is going on. Since then, I have been encouraging my pals to get more active on the platform. I am a Google + fan, you can add me to your circles here. So, here are my top 3 reasons for you to give Google + another try.
Google Hangouts are kind of like Skype, but better. Hangouts are like chatrooms where you can call and video chat for free with up to 10 people. Hangouts have a screen share button which allows you to select which of your screens you would like to share with other participants. This can be particularly useful if you are ever giving a demo, training or anything like that. Hangouts also have a cool feature called “Hangouts On Air” which allow you to broadcast your hangout live over your Google + stream and on your YouTube channel. Hangouts then automatically get saved to your YouTube account.
As well as being interested in technology and social media, I also have a huge passion for the sport of cricket. My cricket CV is here for anybody who cares. Now, for those of you who follow me on Twitter, you will know that I broadly tweet about two topics, Cricket and Tech. Last week, like I said above, I attended the Dublin Web Summit - I sent a lot of tweets using the #Websummit hashtag. Two weeks previously I was in Sri Lanka supporting Ireland in the Cricket World Cup, I sent a lot of tweets using the #WT20 hashtag. However, at any given time, when I sent these tweets I knew that at least half of my followers didn’t really care about what I have to say. Google + has solved this problem with circles.
Finally, my favourite reason for you to try Google + is….
Every time I +1 a post on Google plus, on a blog or anywhere on the internet, Google learns something about my interests. The same is true for everybody, so every time my friends +1 posts, Google learns more about what they like. With this information, Google is able to offer tailored search results. I recently had a great experience with Google, made possible by Google + Local. When searching for restaurants in Malahide (my home town in Dublin, Ireland), Google presented me with the organic results (as normal) but also presented the Local results. The local results display the reviews each restaurant received on Google + Local. So, I can make a more informed selection before visiting a website. You can see from the screenshot below that my friend Alan had been to Siam Thai, and he rated the restaurant as “Very Good”. Over time, as Google gathers even more information about us, these results will become even more personalised. Really exciting stuff.