The hype is yet to die out on the departure of Vic Gundotra. Some say Google+ is beginning to fizzle out. Some more believable folk say that Google has bigger fish to fry. Meanwhile, we are still loving Google+ and we will tell you what makes it stand out. They say it’s the small things that count right? Here are ten Google+ features that make it awesome. Things that you will not find on Twitter or Facebook.
1. Formatting Posts
You can format your posts. Yes, that’s right. You can bold words, italicize and strikethrough text just like a word processor. You do this using special symbols for each. To bold *your text*, italicize _your text_ and strikethrough –your text-. This gives your posts the emphasis they require depending on what you intend to communicate. Try it out!
2. Real-time Info Flow
Like both Facebook and Twitter, Google+ Home Stream refreshes in real-time. The noticeable difference? Google+ allows you to see the new posts at the top then resume to the point you were at without having to scroll at all. Comments on posts also appear on your Home Stream instantly with no effort on your part.
3. Give Your Photos Some Oomph
Google+ has a mind-blowing photo editor. Forget the filters and brightness tweaks. We are talking dozens of features listed here and the fun Auto Awesome feature that tweaks your photos depending on events or simply from your Auto Backup. They will be animated, photobombed, and whatever else Googlers will come up with next.
4. Do Much More With Your Pages
You can post as a page to communities. You cannot do that with groups on Facebook. What does this mean for you? You can do pretty much everything you can do as a profile that you can do as a page. What’s more, you have an added prize to take home; location on Google Search through Google Local. Customers to your business can then write reviews that you can show off on your profile very easily. This means more reach for your brand, including the ability to turn your page posts into display ads that run across the web.
5. @ or + Anyone up
What do you know! If you want to mention someone on the Google+ universe, you can either add an @ or + sign then their names will pop up. What’s more, they do not even need to be in your circles or them have you in one. This means that you can call the attention of the brands or people across the huge Google+ user network when you deem it necessary to do so.
6. Google+ Bar
There is a myriad of places on the web you can post to Google+ thanks to the Google Bar at the top of your browser in every Google product you access. From Google Search to Gmail and Google Drive, you are spoilt for choice. In addition, you can post to Google+ from YouTube automatically from the comments sections. Same goes for your notifications. You see them on practically every Google app you use, which are quite a number. Reading them does not open up another page nor take you away from what you were doing. You complete everything there and then. This is why Larry Page referred to Google+ as the ‘social spine’ of Google. Google+ as the website is just a part of what it really is.
7. Automagical Hashtags
Google+ generates hashtags for you if your post is made of enough words. You cannot find this on any other social network. If you are lucky enough, anyone searching for that hashtag on Google will find your post on the right-hand side of the search too! More reach for you!
8. Share Circles
You can share a circle! Yes, if you have nicely crafted your circles, and even if you haven’t you can simply go to your People page and move people around, you can share a circle of your favourite sources of specific people and so on and so forth. Basically, you can tell people who or what keeps you updated on a certain topic. An example is what the official Google+ page does. In the period preceding the Oscars for instance, it shared a circle comprising relevant entertainment pages that would keep anyone up to date with the latest in Oscars buzz.
9. Animated GIFs
GIFs. You probably know that Google+ is the social network of choice for animated GIFs. You can use them anywhere and everywhere – on your posts, profile picture and cover photos. Twitter and Facebook don’t let you do that unless it is through Giphy (or Vine for Twitter). And it still won’t be the same. Google+ even held a competition to that effect. Twitter even stopped people from uploading animated GIFs as their avatars (though you will find a third party app here and there that lets you do it). Probably not worth the hassle.
10. Disable Reshares and Comments for Individual Posts
You can disable reshares and comments on any of your posts. And what’s even more interesting about this is that you can turn it into a poll. By disabling comments, you can add your own comments as the poll options then visitors can +1 them. The +1s count as votes. Disabling these options is a click away on the top right of your post.
On the flipside (now that we are being objective and all)
You cannot schedule posts on Google+ personal profiles (unless you go for a certain third party app that only posts if Google+ is open on your browser. Too much hassle.) Google+ does not provide an API that allows third party apps to post to personal profiles. As such, apps like Buffer and Hootsuite cannot be used for purposes of scheduling to your profile but only on Google+ pages.
I am not even done yet. Keep it here.