Whilst both of the older, more established sites have offered groups and lists and ways of sorting those you follow, I have to say that the Google version of this – Circles – is stunning in its simplicity. Easy to set up. Easy to add people (and remove them). Easy to spend time appropriately in what has always been, for me at least, a time sink.
I can avoid the streams and chat of friends and family until out of work hours. I can focus exclusively on the streams that are relevant to work, when I am working.
Another really useful feature is Sparks. These are like Google alerts. There are some general interest sparks pre-formed and you can add your own. Fantastic for monitoring a niche, all from what is, in effect, your Google dashboard.
There are also Hangouts. The nearest service I can liken Hangouts to is Skype. I haven’t used this function yet but can see where it would be extremely useful. Hangouts can be started by anyone who has a Google+ account and they can make it available to all or any of their Circles.
So that’s a very quick overview of Google+, in case you were wondering.
A few months ago I mooted the possibility of starting a book club in a post here. A variety of responses saw the idea being put to one side for the time being. It occurs to me that with the functionality and connectivity offered by Google+ the idea can be resurrected. Creating a Circle for a particular book and creating discussion groups is now very easy and in a place where you might well be hanging out anyway. And on the subject of hanging out, Hangouts could be used if there was enthusiasm for video chat about the book.
It’s just a thought, which may go nowhere, but having played with Google+ for a couple of weeks, I can see possibilities. You can let me know what you think.
Oh, and if you haven’t managed to access Google+ yet please do let me know and I’ll send you an invitation.