What Google+ Means for Social Networking

Aaron Steinfeld  Follow

Google+ had its doors opened the public just a few short weeks ago, and the buzz surrounding it has been at an ever constant increase. Instead of editorializing, I decided to take a different route and go directly to the source and ask a few questions to a gracious Google spokesperson. While I would have loved a little more juicy information, I was pretty happy with the results below:

How long has Google+ been in the works for?
A small team started working on Google+ a little over a year ago.

Why should someone join Google+ when there are a variety of other options available, and will it integrate any/all of Google's existing services?
The purpose of Google+ is to give people more choice when it comes to how they share and connect online. We built it on top of Google's existing products so the experience is fun and simple to use. You will need to create a Google profile - if you don't already have one - and it will take some time to create new circles of people you want to share with. But beyond the initial setup, if you use Google already, this will enhance your experience. For example, we've designed a new top navigation bar across Google properties so if you're using Google+, you can easily get notified of new updates when you're in Gmail, or you can share content right from the top navigation bar when you're doing a Google search. For people who already use Google everyday, this is just an upgrade.

Similarly speaking, does Google+ take steps to help integrate the benefits of competing–and complementary–platforms into a "one-stop shop" for an individual's social media presence?
Google+ is currently in a Field Trial, so this option is not yet available today. Over time, we'll be bringing many new features to Google+.

What will happen to the Blogger and Picasa brands as Google+ picks up steam? Are any other Google staples in danger of going the way of the dinosaur?
We don't comment on rumor or speculation.

Is Google+ looking to evolve and enhance users' experiences with sharing of media, such as music of videos they enjoy?
Sharing has become one of the best parts of the web. That's why we began the Google+ project: to see what a Google approach to sharing would look like, and to see if we could come up with a better way of connecting with the different people in all of our lives. In terms of media, one very unique feature available through our mobile Android app is something called Instant Upload, which automatically uploads photos and videos from your device to the cloud. With Instant Upload, you can upload all your mobile photos and videos to a private album, where it's easy for you to share them later from your phone or the web.

Google is know to be very design-savvy with its clean, flexible layouts. Was it challenging creating a clean and accessible version of Google+ for the various app markets?
We have a fantastic team of UI designers working on Google+ and our mobile applications.

How will Google+ handle ads and advertisers when compared to Google's other products and competitors?
Google+ is intended to make the entire Google experience better by including you, your relationships and your interests. By enhancing the Google experience, we believe that users will search more, share more, and spend more time on Google sites, which in turn will improve our existing monetization. We currently do not offer advertising in Google+, but will continue to look for new ways for businesses to engage users in the project.

When will Google+ be available to the public as opposed to invite only?
We will be considering a number of different factors before deciding to open up Google+ more broadly.

Are there any upcoming and unannounced features still forthcoming for Google+?
Google+ is a project. It's just the beginning, there is definitely more to come. So, that's it–do you have a Google+ account yet? And if not, do you want one? CJP

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