Google+ Invites the World Into Its Social Circles



Google has unleashed Google+ on the world, now completely unfettered by its earlier requirement to join via invitation.

For its debut, Google has added a slew of enhancements as well.
Chief among them is the addition of a search box, which allows people to search for content or other people within the Plus network.

Better Hangouts

It has also launched Hangouts for mobile devices, with support currently offered for devices with front-facing cameras running Android 2.3 and up. iOS support is coming soon.
Another addition is Hangouts On Air, an option for users who want to broadcast and record their sessions. Up to nine people can join, and anyone can watch the broadcast. The first On Air hangout will launch with on September 21.
Google announced some new Hangout features still under construction, as well: screensharing, which lets users share images on their screens; sketchpad, to share doodles or sketches; Google Docs; and Named Hangouts, an option that lets users create a public hangout about a certain topic.
Google is releasing a basic set of Hangouts APIs for developers who want to build apps and games for the platform.
Google did not respond to TechNewsWorld’s request to comment for this story.

Facebook’s Moves

Facebook, for its part, has not been idling watching Google+ encroach on its turf. The social media giant has been releasing its own series of changes — and will continue to do so if current rumors are accurate.
The company is reportedly preparing to tweak its “Like” button to make it more granular, adding “Read,” “Listened,” and “Watched.” These are expected to be introduced at the F8 Developer conference, according to news accounts. Later, it will launch social commerce buttons, such as “Want.”

Social Warfare

Both companies appear to be in reactive mode, determined not to let the other gain an edge in any one functional area.
“My initial thoughts on the Google+ enhancements [were] that it is directly taking on Facebook,” Robb Hecht, adjunct professor of marketing at Baruch College, told TechNewsWorld.
Conversely, the Google+ launch and its new offerings are fueling Facebook’s moves, he said — with the “Read, Listened, Watched,” buttons as prime examples.

Variations on Themes

Not that Google+ and Facebook have become mirror images. As they compete, they are subtly creating some differences between that could matter more to certain constituencies.
For instance, Google+ has pushed ahead of Facebook with its mobile offerings, said Ian Palmer, head of marketing at Derycz Scientific.
“In the long term, mobile strategy and execution just might be where the line in the sand is drawn for whomever ultimately emerges as the leader in the social space,” he told TechNewsWorld.
“It may also be a key distinction between customer base profiles in addition to key geographic, psychographic and demographic splits,” Palmer said.
Facebook’s changes will delight its advertisers, Laura O’Shaughnessy, CEO of SocialCode, told TechNewsWorld.
“These new features will uncover new data about how different audience segments respond to different aspects of the platform,” she said.

Tell Your Story with Timeline – Facebook’s Latest Innovation


Since the beginning of Facebook, your profile has been the place where you tell your story. People use it to share everything from the small stuff, like their thoughts on an article, to the most important events of their lives, like the photos of their wedding or the birth of their child.
The evolution of your profile
Back in the early days of Facebook, your profile was pretty basic – just your name, a photo, where you went to school…stuff you’d cover in the first five minutes you met someone.
Over time, your profile evolved to better reflect how you actually communicate with your friends. Now you can can share photos of what you did last weekend, and updates about how you feel today.
But since the focus is on the most recent things you posted, more important stuff slips off the page. The photos of your graduation get replaced by updates about what you had for breakfast.
Say you’re catching up with an old friend – would you rather find out that they had eggs this morning, or hear about their new dream job?
The way your profile works today, 99% of the stories you share vanish. The only way to find the posts that matter is to click “Older Posts” at the bottom of the page. Again. And again.
Imagine if there was an easy way to rediscover the things you shared, and collect all your best moments in a single place.
Introducing timeline – a new kind of profile
With timeline, now you have a home for all the great stories you’ve already shared. They don’t just vanish as you add new stuff.
Timeline is wider than your old profile, and it’s a lot more visual.  The first thing you’ll notice is the giant photo right at the top. This is your cover, and it’s completely up to you which of your photos you put here.
As you scroll down past your cover, you’ll see your posts, photos and life events as they happened in time. You choose what’s featured on your timeline. You can star your favorites to double their size or hide things altogether.
Filling in the blanks
If important parts of your story aren’t included on your timeline, you can go back to when they happened and add them.
Or go to your private activity log. This is where you’ll find everything you shared since you joined Facebook. Click on any post to feature it on your timeline so your friends can see it, too.
Add apps to your timeline
Introducing a new kind of social app that lets you show the things you like to do on your timeline – the music you listen to, the recipes you try, the runs you take and more.
These apps also help you discover what your friends are up to. You can even join in if you want: play the song they’re listening to, or watch the same TV show.
You can start adding some of these new apps today, but timeline won’t be available for a few weeks.
When you get your timeline, you can choose to publish it immediately or take a few days to review what’s there and add anything that’s missing.
Now, you and your friends will finally be able to tell all the different parts of your story – from the small things you do each day to your biggest moments. What will you create? We can’t wait to find out.

Already, many are complaining about the complexities now involved in using Facebook and many are also anticipating the addition of this new feature. One point I’d like to make is that Facebook should try as much as possible to make these features optional so that users who are slow adapters can migrate at their own convenience or choose to stay with the good old Facebook!!!