It’s been weeks since Google+ has launched and there has been numerous articles on various tech blogs. By now, you most likely have received a Google+ invitation. In this post, we’re doing the heavy lifting, so that you don’t have to spend hours figuring out the latest beta Google project:                     

After testing this new tool within our team, we’re sharing our first take on this latest online buzz with the following 6 key components:

1. Circles
To make Google+ work for you, the first thing on your list should be to find your friends (or invite them first), then add them to circles. Some examples could include family, friends, co-workers, social media, tech bloggers, celebrities, etc… In other words, you can view these circles as filters to be used in your stream later on.

2. Stream
When you first log into your Google+ page, you land on your main stream which consists of all the information shared from all of your circles. However, by clicking on the category that you created earlier (see circles), you can quickly filter out information that you only want to view. For example, if you only care to find out what’s currently happening with your co-workers, you would simply hit your “co-workers” circle under the stream on the left hand corner and only their feeds would show up.

3. Sharing (+1)
Sharing information is similar to Twitter or Facebook when it comes to sharing what’s on your mind at the moment. The main difference is that when it’s time to publish it, you have the choice to pick the circles that you’d like to share it with. An example would be if you’re sharing a family photo, you might only want your family members to view it because it’s personal to you. You’re in control of who gets to view the data that you end up sharing.

As you are surfing the web, more and more sites are including “+1” sharing button and as you click on it, these +1’s will appear onto your own +1 timeline. This aggregates all of your internet findings similar to social bookmarking sites like Delicious, Digg, reddit, etc… Also, as your circles search the internet, your +1’s will show up in their searches with your name showing up saying, “Canadian Web Hosting shared this,” underneath the link. This feature socializes your searches and give you context as to whom in your circles have already come across similar content that you’re searching for.

4. Hangouts
This feature is fun to try with friends or perhaps when you want to collaborate live on a project. With this, you’re able to pick a circle and spend some facetime via video chat with anyone from that circle who happens to be online. You can even join current hangouts that are happening.

5. Sparks
Google+ already features certain categories such as soccer, recipes, cycling, movies, gardening and more. You pull up keyword searches such as “iPhone” and add them to your interest. When you click on any of your saved searches, news from all over the web are aggregated directly onto your Sparks page.

6. Business Pages
As of right now, Ford is the only company testing Goople+ on behalf of businesses. Compared to Facebook or Twitter, the white, very clean interface, makes it easy to view any content that they’re sharing. As more businesses get to test this new platform, it’ll be interesting to see how the public responds.

Closing Remarks
As most tech bloggers have concluded, it’s still too new to predict if Google+ will take over Twitter or Facebook. One strong sentiment seen from across the web is that Google+ needs more users for it to be beneficial for any end users including companies and when you put it side-by-side with Facebook, it feels harder to be heard when your audience is so small. Once we start seeing more growth in their user base, we might start seeing more momentum and even more buzz surrounding their new platform.

On the other hand, the circles appear to be powerful since it filters out all of the noise that Twitter and Facebook currently have. There is an overwhelming amount of content on the internet and with the help of the circles, we can be more productive in receiving all of this data.  It really helps categorizing the things that we’re interested in and the people that we actually care to follow.  The process of creating circles seems a lot less daunting that creating lists on Facebook or even Twitter; drag and drop is easy. Finally, it’ll be worth following changes that all of the other social media platforms choose to develop as Google+ refines its own features.

You may view their demo to learn about Google+ in more details too.