Google+: Sparks Gives Social Conversations
When I search the internet, I work hard to make sure that my results are relevant to both my interests and my search terms. Sometimes I get something that I actually want, and other times I get something less than perfect. I know I have often wished to find a way to discover stories and posts that match my interests. Once I find something, I often want to talk about it with friends who share similar interests.
Google+ has an answer for this desire as well, and that answer is Sparks. Sparks is a sort of social search where you get the opportunity to discover stories that are within your interests. If you like what you see, you can also give it a +1. However, if what you want is a conversation surrounding a story, then you can start one from within Sparks.
I feel like Sparks will change the way I interact with the internet. I have tried to start conversations on Twitter, but its often not as successful as I would like. My Tweets get lost in the mass of sharing on Twitter. Facebook has even gotten more difficult to share with, as there are so many apps and games that fill people’s feeds.
As I see it, Google launched Sparks with one idea in mind: Make stories social again. Part of what makes Sparks great is that it can work like an RSS reader for things you may never have read. You can share an interesting article with your Circles, and they can comment on it or share it with theirs. The organization of the Stream makes Sparks the best way to share and discover new news stories.
Google+: Hangouts Give Us Faces
One of my favorite applications on my Mac is Skype. While the app isn’t always the best on OS X, I love the ability to speak with my friends and co-workers face to face. What upsets me about Skype is that group calls are no longer free.
Again, Google+ has herd my plea for a better option. Hangouts, the group video chat feature of Google+, will allow us to hold staff meetings across the internet. While the 10 person limit may prove to be a barrier, it is certainly more than any other free service is currently offering. Again, the circles will make it possible to restrict our Hangout to only people we want to be there.
Hangouts also looks to be the future of customer service for internet industry. Say that you have a set of customers experiencing the same issue, and want a way to give support to all of them. It will make it so much easier to handle issues, and the problem of the “impersonal phone call” a thing of the past.