1. Lots more control over what your posting
When you post something on Google + you can choose who sees it without the tedious creation of a special lists like on Facebook. Just type in the names of the people you want to share it to, or select one of your default circles. You can also disable comments and sharing from posts. Still can’t do that on Facebook, nor will you ever be able to. This means you have the highest level of control of any social network out there over who is seeing what you post.
2. Hashtags actually work
Hashtags make sense on Twitter, though how much they’re actually used to connect with others is debatable. Hashtags were implemented on Facebook as an afterthought and are pretty much useless. So much so that you risk public ridicule for using them. The point of hashtags is to connect to common conversation topics and allow new followers to find you and connect, but on Facebook, we all live in walled gardens surrounding the people we have added as friends.
On Google +. using hashtags is easy and displayed nicely at the upper right of posts so you can easily connect to others. And for those who don’t know quite how to use them or what hashtags are the best to use, Google + will automatically add related hashtags to your posts.
3. You can share links to individual posts without sharing your entire Google + profile
In the upper right corner of your Google + posts is the control menu for each post. There’s an option for “Link to post” which gives you a url that displays a page showing your Google + profile emblem the post in question, and that’s all. For example: https://plus.google.com/+JamesLCarey/posts/ieNCGcxxqyS
4. You won’t be advertised to like you will on Facebook and Twitter (mostly)
Because Facebook’s product is you, the only way they can stay in business is to make money off of your social interaction. This is why we can’t go more than a few posts anymore without seeing sponsored posts or suggested posts. They have to bombard you, they have to get you to buy so they can get more ad revenue from advertisers. This is also why if you have a brand page on Facebook, no one will see it unless everyone who follows it likes and comments on every single post unless you pay to have your post “boosted”. If you didn’t give Facebook money you’re a second class citizen at best.
Twitter isn’t far behind. They’ve realized the only way to make money is good old fashioned ads for crap you don’t want so get ready for it.
Google, however, doesn’t really need to make money off of you from Google + because they are the top name in search and get all their revenue through that portal. They also have so many money-making ventures cooking that they don’t have to treat their social network like an untapped goldmine.
5. You’ll actually want to upload your pictures to it
Uploading a picture to Facebook is often a moral/social dilemma. Do you want everyone to see what you were up to last summer in Cancun? But uploading to Google + is different.
First of all, it works more like a photo backup as opposed to just showing off the pictures you want to the world to see (you can choose to make all your photos private on Google +).
There is an Auto Backup feature built into the Google + mobile app which will upload all of your photos on your mobile devices if you choose to and at Full Resolution. You can choose who sees what photos and you are also given your own photo display page at https://plus.google.com/photos where you can edit photos, tag people, or easily share. You can also redownload full albums
Also, photos uploaded via Auto Backup have no storage limit whatsoever (for photos up to 2048 px). There’s also a desktop client. So upload away.
6. Auto Awesome
Auto Awesome is pretty much what it sounds like. It will select certain photos like a series of portraits or other shots you took trying to find the perfect take and automatically create a gif or a grid. In the case of pictures with snow or small lights like a Christmas tree, Auto Awesome inserts twinkling lights or a snow effect. Grandmas of the world will rejoice. It’s pretty cute. It can also automatically enhance the balance of photos and create panoramas.
Here’s some more features as detailed on lifehacker.com:
- Snow: adds falling snow to a photo that has snow in it
- Eraser: removes moving objects in the background from 4+ successive shots (e.g., get rid of passersby at a tourist location—no need for Photoshopping to get rid of tourists)
- Action: shows full range of movement from 4+ photos of the same scene with something moving (e.g., show a pitcher’s arm in motion while throwing the ball)
- HDR: combines the best lighting from 3+ photos of the same scene when nothing is moving (e.g., landscape photos)
- Motion: creates a short animation from 5+ successive shots of something moving
- Smile: combines 2+ photos of a group of people so each person looks their best (i.e., smiling)
- Pano: turns 3+ partly overlapping photos into a wide view
- Mix: creates a composite, photobooth-style grid from 3+ photos of someone with the same background
7. You’ll run out of things to say before you run out of space on a post.
Twitter has just enough space to have a sliver of a thought and that’s about it. Less if you use hashtags. Facebook has more text real estate but you can’t do much with them. Google + posts can be very wordy. I’m not even sure what the upper limit is, but essentially you could treat a Google + post like a blog post if you were so inclined. You can also bold and italicize and urls are automatically changed to clickable links. What a novelty.
Facebook has groups, Google + has Communities. Besides the page design being much easier on the eyes on Google +, community creators can set their own discussion thread tabs so that when you join a community about DC Comics, but just want to read about Batman, there’s a tab for that. This will let a lot more people participate in a discussion in a huge community that would get lost on Facebook among the never ending stream of posts. You can also control if you see any posts in your Home Stream too.
Hangouts is Google’s Skype killer. How? It’s part video chat, part social video platform.
If you have a Google account, which EVERYONE does, you can use Hangouts. Not that many people have a Skype account set up and how much do we really need a Microsoft account? There’s a Hangouts app for every device. You can add up to 10 people to a Hangout so everybody can get in on the action.
Hangouts On Air is a killer feature of Hangouts that allows a people to essentially host their own video talk show. It allows for recording in HD and can automatically upload to YouTube as well. People can tune in to discussions and also meet and chat with experts and celebrities in a way that can’t on any other forum.
10. The design
Google + is the only social network (besides Tumblr and Pinterest if you count those) where GIFs work natively. So get those reaction GIFs ready!
There’s a bunch more, but I just thought I’d highlight a few of the reasons I really enjoy using Google + as a platform for myself as a writer and someone seeking to connect rather than just a place to share baby pictures.