The tool is only a few weeks old, but the internet is already abuzz with questions about what position Google+ will take in the social media marketplace. While much of the talk is centered around how it will compete with Facebook, I am really curious about how it will compete with LinkedIn…..and I am sure that LI is wondering the same thing. In my first look at the tool I saw two areas that Google+ could really take off on the Professional networking side of things.
One of the biggest aspects of social networking that Google+ addresses is the way that people connect with each other. As I noted last month in my post on Social Networking and your Job Search, there is one basic functional differences between Facebook and LinkedIn. On Facebook you connect with friends and family and on LinkedIn you connect with professional and business contacts. With Google+’s Circles feature, you can separate the people who you know as business associations from your family and friends by putting everyone into different circles. It’s a very easy drag and drop feature and it’s extremely intuitive. By moving your contacts into different circles, you can decide how and when you want to socialize with them. You could even separate your professional contacts into those that you work with and those that are just business acquaintances (one of the big things that I don’t think LI addresses very well.) The possibilities are endless here…this feature alone has me sold on Google+. I have already started separating my circles in this way since I am getting invites from both my Facebook contacts and LinkedIn contacts.
One of the other areas that I think could have some real professional value is the ability to communicate via multi-person video chat through their Hangout feature. Think about this – you could connect with someone via Google+ about a job and then set up a video chat. You could set up a web cam interview through the tool with people in say, New York, Austin and Raleigh. Now, I know there are other video chat tools out there, but this is free and it takes the professional networking from purely online to face to face (in a web-based sort of way) – it’s an interesting concept to me. I do however, think they need to find another name for it if it gains traction beyond the purely social side of the tool.
So, if you have gotten an invite, I definitely suggest accepting and taking a look to see what Google+ has to offer. I know – you are thinking you don’t need another social networking tool and yes, believe me I realize that there are only so many hours in the day. However, wouldn’t it be great if you could do your social and professional networking in one tool?? I didn’t even address the privacy or data liberation features of Google+ – two areas that have been a thorn in both LinkedIn and Facebook’s sides. I think that with time and some additional releases, Google+ will be the next big thing….what are your thoughts??
Becki Jacobs is a lead technical recruiter for one of the largest IT companies in the world. She has an MBA with a focus in HR Management along with over 15 years of experience in HR and Recruiting. Previous to her current role she spent 8 years as a top performing recruiter for a professional staffing company where she recruited for companies such as Xerox, Johnson and Johnson, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank and EDS.