Google+ Thoughts and Review

I have been using Google+ for about two weeks now and I have to say I am really impressed with the service. There are a few things that I want to highlight because in my opinion they are what make G+ great. The first is the integration with Gmail. Not only do you see a handy little notification icon in the top right but you can add/remove people from circles right from the notification box, comment on posts, mute posts and pretty much interact with everything that you are involved with on G+ right from the notification window.
Google+ Notifications   Google+ Notifications

The next "game changer" for me is Google Hangout. This is by far the best video chatting experience I have had online and aside from it not being available on some mobile platforms (yet) I have no reason to use Skype ever again. Hangout supports up to 10 people communicating via video with the ability to share links (via the chat feature), watch Youtube videos and share other content. It is the best implementation of this type of technology that I have ever used and I can already see a lot of cool ways to make use of it.

Google Hangout

I am a big fan of using lists on Twitter and without them I really couldn't consume data nearly as effectively as I do. Google+ takes this a step further with their implementation of circles. Circles serve a number of purposes: they allow you to organize people into groups as well as enabling you to target exactly who sees what content. This means you can view content posted by people in a given circle as well as share content with people in a specific circle or circles. This is great when you have a question about something specific to a given area or topic if you have a circle that is made up of people in a specific area/region or who share a similar interest you can easily target only those users. I really think the intuitive and useful nature of the way circles work is what sets G+ apart from Facebook when it comes to consuming and sharing content. Google+ Circles

I know it is a fairly new service so the novelty has not worn off for most users yet but the level of engagement that I have seen on Google+ is astounding. In the last week the #1 traffic source to my site has been Google+. This is really surprising when you consider the fact I have ~170 people following me on G+ and nearly 850 on Twitter. The G+ community is highly engaged and incredibly active.

If you want to add a redirect to your website that takes people to your G+ profile you can easily do with a quick .htaccess modification. If you visit http://104.236.173.199/+ you will be taken to my G+ profile. The implementation may vary depending on how your server is configured but all I added to .htaccess was:

redirect 301 /+ https://plus.google.com/profile_id_goes_here

My hope is that the high level of activity and interest continues on G+ and that as more people start using the service things will continue to evolve and scale. At this point the response time on G+ is exceptional and I expect Google is intentionally doing a somewhat phased rollout in order to ensure that things continue to scale and perform at a high level.

All-in-all, I am a big fan and highly recommend checking out Google+.