Just recently, another social network site surprised and amazed millions of users. Google’s release of the new service named Google+ had its limited field test for early adopters and geeks. Many have tried using it and even some wondered if it can beat the recent record of Facebook. Google+ is initially available by invitation only. But as time passes, Google+ is increasing its number of users as part of the field test.
Many may wonder what certain features Google+ has that other social networking sites doesn’t have. With the many years of observing what has been lacking, Google+ has developed something that everyone would love, even for designers. I saw lots of graphic and web designers who have created their own accounts in Google+ and were happy about it. For those who haven’t tried using Google+, here are some of the reasons why you should try it:
1."Sparks" for fresh inspirations.
Google+’s greatest feature is the Sparks where in one can get updated search results whenever you want to on whatever topic you want. You can get fresh inspirations through this because the results are the most prominent, fresh and came from highly ranked websites. It would be a lot easier for you to search for some stuff through this feature and you can even post it in your account and share it to others. When you use other social networking sites, you still have to leave the site and look for interesting things to share from other sites. In Google+, they have what you wanted. So, when you need some inspiration for your designs, it would be a lot easier with Google+.
2. Circles exclusively communicate with designers and clients.
With this feature of Google+, you can create groups and choose topics that you would like to communicate with them. Circles can help you have a separate communication with friends and those from your business. You can have a group for designers and clients. This way, it would be easier to communicate with them exclusively. You can exchange ideas and ask for opinions from fellow designers without your clients knowing it. Your clients can also have a good communication with you using this Google+ feature.
3. Hangouts to build social relationships with fellow designers.
You can have video chats with fellow designers through the Hangouts feature of Google+. It would be more fun to chat with friends this way. You can choose to join a Hangout if you want to and you can also be invited to join the Hangout. Video chat is another sure way to extend your network. This will surely allow you to keep in touch with people from your design community. This is vital in building solid relationships with fellow designers who can be our source of professional advice. It will also give you more credibility as a designer especially that you will be part of the elite circle of designers in Goolge+.
4. Allows you to showcase better images of your designs.
Designers would be glad to know that they can showcase their designs in a creative manner for Google+ has display and sizing variances for your photos. Aside from that, you can also enhance the photos by selecting the photo you would like to edit then click Actions menu and select Edit photo. Photos can be enhanced in quality and colors with 6 different effects. You may use Cross Process, Orton, I’m Feeling Lucky, Black and White, Auto Color and Auto Contrast. This free photo editing tool will really make your images look great as you showcase it to other Google+ users.
5. Keeps you updated while working.
Another good thing about Google+ is you could get notifications when you use Gmail, and other Google services. So, even if you are not signed in with your Google+ account, you can still stay updated with the notification bar at the top right corner of your screen. It continues working as you do your own stuff using other Google services. With this, you can still avoid from distractions and focus in the projects you are working on. You can work while you stay updated. Aside from the notifications bar, you can also stop some notifications whenever you want to by clicking “Mute this post”. Once you do this, you will never receive notifications on some activity for a specific update.
6. Follow popular designers.
You can manually follow popular designers or you may also search them in Google+. This will be help you a lot especially that these designers will be posting and sharing some valuable stuff about design. Hence, you can get more sources of inspiration, guides and tips for better designs. There are already many designers who are in Google+. All you have to do is search for them.
7. Allows you to make a vanity URL.
Since you will get a long Google Plus profile address which contains 21 characters, it would be hard to memorize that. All you have to do is go to Gplus.to to get a shorter vanity URL for your Google+ account. You may also use other URL shortening service like Bit.ly and Tinyurl. This way, it would be easier for you to promote your account especially to prospect clients and fellow designers.
8. Security of personal data.
Even if designers are really into promoting themselves and their work online, they still deserve privacy. Through Google+’s “Data Liberation” tool, you can choose which information you would like to keep private and which ones you would like to share to others. It is different from other social networking sites that force you to display some information public. You can also easily download data from Picasa Web Albums, Google profile, Goolge+ Stream and others. Google+ is a good custodian for personal data. Even stuff you upload can easily be kept private if you want to. You can even prevent other people from re-sharing your post simply by clicking “disable reshare”.
9.A "Stream" to avoid overload of information.
You might hate it when you see a lot of information which seems irrelevant to you. This would oftentimes distract you from important things that you need to do online. So, to do away with this, Google+ has a feature called Stream (News Feed in Facebook) wherein you can filter updates and information from your circles. Likewise, you can also choose people whom you can feed certain information.
10. Integration of Google services.
With the integration of Google’s other services into Google+, it would surely make things easier for you especially for Google lovers and users. Google+ is just part of Google and will build social networking features and tools into the existing online services like Documents, Videos, Gmail, Blogs and others. As you use Google’s free services, you can do extend your online social network at the same time. And since you already have it here, you won’t’ have to go far and switch to other sites.
11. Huddle for group mobile chat.
Another feature of Google+ that will help you with build stronger networks. It is a mobile app that allows you to chat with a group of people through your mobile phone. If you would like to meet some designers to ask for feedbacks or inputs on a particular project, it would be easy to do that with this Google+ feature. You can contact them whenever you need to. It would be easy to invite them even if you are away from your computer.
12. Easier mobile phone uploads of inspirations.
Whenever you would like to upload something from your mobile phone, it would be a lot easier. You may have taken pictures of some magazines or paintings or anything that could be your source of inspiration. You may have taken a picture of something interesting that could awaken the creativity in you. You can easily upload them from your phone to Google+. After your videos and photos upload automatically in a private folder, you can already choose which ones you would like to be seen by the public. It is indeed very convenient and it even gives you the freedom to decide which ones are private and not. Aside from convenient mobile uploads, it is also easier to use Google+ in you mobile phones through the mobile app.
The question if Google+ could be the next social network giant remains a query. We’ll never know how the ordinary users will react and respond to this. By now, geeks and early adopters loved it. Some say it is not suitable for ordinary users although it can still improve as time passes through the field test. Let us find out in the next months if Google+ can get the time and attention of the ordinary users.
As to designers, Google+ has impressed them which is the reason why many designers are using it and promoting it, too. With the features of Google+ and the advantages it could give to designers, it will really go a long way for many find it useful. Do you have a Google+ account? You may share to us your experience in using it.