One of their cool features, Sparks, is actually something I use regularly. It helps me to be able to keep an eye on specific content as it comes in. I can pick search phrases and keep tabs on articles that are posted. This is especially useful for blogging or content curating, as you can get the scoop on the latest articles as they come out instead of reading them on the fiftieth blog post that’s all quoting the same or similar source. One downside to it, though, is that I don’t see if it is pulling in stuff from my google reader links as well. I think that would be an ideal way to make sure that my specific sources were also being used.
Google’s new social networking service, Google+, creates new ways for people to discover news and other content on the Web.
The “sparks” section is a bigger innovation. Essentially, sparks are topics that users designate an interest in. Google uses Google+ sharing activity and +1’s, as well as its famous search algorithms, to recommend personalized content for each spark,
The future of "Social Networks" aren't social networks at all. The fact is, social networks will "be like air" in the future. They will be integrated into everyday "circles" that you participate in.
As social networks are able to communicate better and better with each other, and more and more standards are built to federate the different circles you participate in, you won't go to Facebook.com or Google+ or Twitter. You'll go to the brands and the areas you're most familiar with and your friends and family will "just be there". Those are where your real "circles" are.
The fact is no social network is going to be a "Facebook killer" or "Twitter killer" or even "Myspace killer" (remember the stat I shared above?). If anything kills any of these it will be branded experiences that make it easier for you to communicate in the environments you're most comfortable with. In the end, it's about where your audience is, who you want to communicate with, and the best places to do that.
Google’s new social network debuted this week with several new concepts and communications tools, including a potential game-changer for online news called “sparks.”
Sparks are topics that a Google+ user designates an interest in. Google uses sharing activity, +1 recommendations and search algorithms to offer personalized content for each spark.
Sparks don’t just tell you what your friends have read, they tell you what you ought to read. It’s a serendipity engine, and if executed well it could make Google+ an addictive source of news discovery.
But right now, it’s a great idea with imperfect execution. There are three missing pieces preventing Google+ from becoming an influential driver of news consumption. All three are within its reach: - Following and interacting with institutions - Filtering ‘sparks’ news by sources - Improved semantic recognition of sparks phrases
People are starting to use Google+ in different creative ways. Trey Ratcliff made a streamed list in Google+ of Photographers. Photographers could "Me" themselves and put their contact info in the stream. People could then pick and choose and make their own Circle of Photographers to follow. Ratcliff occasionally re-shared the original post, with the updated photographer updates, in his public stream. On Saturday, Nearly 400 photographers had shared their Google+ contact info in the stream.
I've started circling G+ friends in theme circles when they post things related to my own interests. Wait, what?
It's easy to GET posts in my stream based on my interests -- just follow people who talk about them. But I'd also like to SEND posts to people who share my narrow interests, without annoying the larger group.
So now I have circles that categorize topics, rather than people. I made circles called "Food," "Health," "Politics," and others.
It is interesting that Google have chosen to name the mode of friending/following (I’m not sure which it’s closer too yet) ‘circles’ in their new social network Google+. They could just as easily have been called bubbles, but I’m sure they were aware of the negative connotations of giving them that name.
I like Google+, and circles are definitely a far more natural (read: closer to real life) way of interacting with your contacts than the blanket approaches of both Facebook friends and Twitter followers. But the issue of ‘circles’ intrigues me in the context of the filter bubble.
Twitter itself is still self-moderated, I will only follow you if you tweet (at least occasionally) about something that interests me, but Google+ looks to seal off the bubbles we create for ourselves even further. Looking at the Sparks I have set up so far this seems to me to be even more filter-bubble-like.
Has Google+ just made it even harder for brands to enter the filter bubble?
Given the level of control that Google+ is offering, I should be thrilled with this great new tool. But I’m not.
It solves the wrong problem, particularly with Google Circles, the Google+ feature that lets you share different things with different groups of people. And it doesn’t do anything to solve the biggest problem with social networks today: increasing the signal to noise ratio.
I could segment the content within Google+. But that requires a lot more thinking than just going to Twitter for business stuff or Facebook for personal stuff.
For people who care about the segmentation that Google+ offers, they are already doing it using different networks.
Platforms like Quora, Namesake and the disqus blog network enable me to reach wider audiences. Google+ doesn’t aggregate audiences for me around topics.
The biggest unsolved problem in social networking remains unsolved with Google+: separating signal from noise. Twitter, it seems, doesn’t even want to try. Separating signal from noise and ranking disparate pieces of content is a problem that is squarely in Google’s wheelhouse.
A handful of CNET staffers received access to test Google+. This curated review was written using the social-networking site. The comments were rearranged so the article would flow logically. We'll continue to review the site as Google makes adjustments before rolling it out widely.
Mahendra Palsule right now on Google+ and the interest and social graphs: "Facebook has done a not-so-great job capturing users’ interests. Many people have ‘Liked’ hundreds of pages just because they were asked to do so by their friends. Facebook’s obsession with and overreliance on the social graph has corrupted their interest graph, and this might well be Facebook’s Achilles Heel in the long term. Google Plus takes a different approach. The goal of Sparks is to capture your true interests. It is in a primitive state at present, but I’m talking about the Big Picture here!"
Google+ is the latest weapon in our war against entropy, against chaos. Better information streams, closer and more relevant circles of relationships, stronger real-time connections to people we care about and actually know (notice I didn’t say brands – they will be a part of this too, but how or even if they should remains to be seen.)
Google began as a way to organize the world’s information. Now it wants to organize the world. It’s taking the Entropy Effect head on and of course it wants to win.
Facebook isn’t Google’s competition, nor is Microsoft (client) or Twitter or Yahoo! or any other company or social media service. In this case, they are all on the same team. Google’s enemy is entropy. Its nemesis is the underlying force of the universe itself, of order vs. chaos.
Google+ is a concerted effort meant to turn the ship around. Google famously has a poor social track record. Buzz and Wave were failures, so it needs to get this right. But Google+ goes far beyond just sharing status updates or photos with friends: It aims to change the very way we share and communicate
Google wants to get to know you, and help you to get to know yourself. It wants to be the go-to place where you show who you are and what you care about to your friends, your family, your coworkers and the entire world. It wants to be the key you use to unlock the Web and the internet as a whole, the passageway through which all your interactions flow. Today is a big step in that direction.