You might have noticed some changes to Google properties this week. Gmail, Google Calendar and others have been updated with a new navigation bar and other layout tweaks. Don’t worry, it isn’t you, most everyone is seeing these changes now.
Which come in support of Google’s latest project, Google +. But what is it?
Google + is a new social networking site. Much like Twitter and Facebook, you can share status updates with your friends and followers. You can also share photos and video (directly from your Android device. IOS coming soon). On the mobile version, there is also a group SMS feature that looks pretty promising as well as a feature called Hangout, which is an audio/video chat room for up to 10 people.
For good information about it is or does, take a minute to listen to the This Week in Google Podcast , episode 101 where they talk to the engineers and folks at Google in charge of the Plus project.
And I like it.
One of the nice things, unlike Facebook, is the way privacy settings are handled. After getting their asses handed to them with the Wave roll-out, Google paid a little more attention to this with G+. Easy to access, easy to understand and easy to set exactly how you want.
Another feature that I’m excited about is the Hangout. Up to 10 of your friends can join you in a video chat where you can share videos and chat like you would in a normal chat room (share links and whatnot). I say I’m excited because I have yet to actually try this feature other than to use it to play videos while I’m doing other things.
Right now, the only down side is that it is still locked down. I can’t wait for more people to get in. I’ve got invites and will be handing them out just as soon as I’m able. If you get one, I recommend checking it out.
Before you do, you will need a google account. Already have a Gmail or Youtube account? You are good. If not, get one. And set up your Google Profile. That will save you from having to once it’s opened up for more people.