So last week, on June 28th, Google released their new social networking service, Google+. I was fortunate to get in on day 2 of the initial Google+ limited testing event. Demand to get in has been extremely high. I was lucky enough to get in via Twitter courtesy of @megapenguinx.
Now that I’m in, I do find that my posting habits have changed. I do find that I’m spending less time on Twitter. Maybe it’s because there’s less “noise” on Google+ than on Twitter. Perhaps it’s because Google+ is still in limited trial. I’m obviously “following” less people on Google+ than on Twitter.
I do like the organizational layout of Google+ – the concept of Circles where you can select and organize people you know (or follow) in Circles. You control the granularity with who you share with and what you are sharing.
I can see this this working well in a school environment. With Circles, I could have a circle set up for colleagues, district people, and even students. I’d organize students into circles representing my different classes. That way I could communicate things publicly or with certain circles. Things I send out to my personal friends would not be limited to just those people.
Another feature of Google+ that could prove useful is the Hangout. The Hangout is a group video chat. I tried it with my friend +David Wees and it works pretty well! I could see using the “Hangout” as a type of online office hour where one or more students could join in, kind of like a virtual classroom.
I see lots of potential for this. I also see lots of issues that could pop up as well, especially with crossing the boundary between the personal/professional online life of an educator. Right now as it stands, Google+ does not work with Google Apps accounts. I’m not too concerned about this yet. Google+ is still very new software. Eventually it will be available to Google Apps accounts.
So for now, those who want in on Google+ will have to wait. They are opening up invites on a controlled basis.