Just as I was getting comfortable with Facebook, Google launched its own social network called Google+. I've experimented with it for a couple of weeks now and think it could be the next big thing. I am especially excited about its Circles and Hangouts features.
One thing I have not liked about Facebook is that if I want to write a post about genealogy, that post goes to ALL of my friends - friends from high school, church, acquaintances, friends I didn't know were my friends, etc. Google+'s implementation of circles solves that. When I want to post a message for my genealogy friends, I simply add the Genealogy Circle (in blue below).
To share with my family and friends, I add those circles:
If I only want to read posts from my Genealogy circle, I just click on its category in the Stream section on the left, and now I can read posts from my genealogy friends.
Hangouts are really cool! Hangouts are where you and up to nine others can be in a video call all at the same time. You can see and hear everyone else. Whoever is talking automatically appears in the larger video screen. All you have to do is have a webcam, Internet connection, and your Google+ account. You can hang out with everyone in your family circle and have a mini family reunion. Or hangout with other genealogists. One of my circles is a Legacy Employees circle - we did a hangout this morning with me, Dave (president), Ken (vice-president), and Luc (developer). It's a great way to communicate when you're not all in the same office. One thing I wish it would do is let me share my screen with others. I'll have to stick with my GoToMeeting.com account for the time being. Best of all - hangouts are free.
If you don't yet have a Google+ Account, visit http://plus.google.com. You will have to create a free Google account to join. I think accounts are now open to the public, but if not, send me an email and I'll send you an invitation.
The Google+ Start-Up Guide
For a great overview of Google+, view the Google+ Start-Up Guide here. When you get there, just click on the big slide, and to advance to the next slide, just click.
What do you think?
Those of you with a Google+ account, what do you think? Is it going to catch on?