The past week saw Google expanding its social reach by introducing the (quite impressive) Communities feature to its social networking portal Google+. The move, it seems, is primarily set to combat Facebook’s Group feature and oust classics likes of Forums and Message elsewhere.
As the name suggests, the feature would principally enable Google+ users to gather around and discuss a particular common interest or a specific need. Vic Gundotra, senior Vice President at Google engineering reiterated the internet giant’s stern commitment to making “online sharing as meaningful as the real thing”. The Communities feature is set to strengthen the same, taking Google+ to a entire new level. The Communities feature is the equivalent to providing a lasting abode for stuff people actually love, a “gathering place for your passions” – declared Gundotra.
Communities are definitely less private in their operational dynamics as opposed to alternatives offered by Facebook and other social networking portals. Content that is part of Communities is viewable by the world, alleviating the hassle of invitations and other pesky procedures. This means you are merely a click away from finding a tavern studded with folks sharing the same passion.
Google+ communities are augmented with a number of distinct features, supporting private or public membership for all genres of communities with identical or relevant interest. A supplementary discussion categories has also been provided, making conversation discovery ridiculously simple. Building on top of the ever-famous hangout, community member interaction has been significantly improved, extending support for event planning as well. Finally, community members have also been empowered with the ability to share stuff with fellow community folk via any +1 button across the entire internet.
It is utterly simple to create a Google+ community. Visit plus.google.com/communities, click “Create a Community” button and decide whether yours would fall into a public or a private category. Name it – the catchier, the better. And finally, choose if you would be calling the shots of approving new members or not.
A word of caution here – step number three remains irreversible. Once you have opted in for a setting, there’s no going back. For those of you wondering what is the difference between the categories anyway, here’s a brief. All and sundry are welcome to join in and view content on a public community – there’s no such thing as a fenced garden. However, the community creator decides who gets to post content: the moderators or the community members. The privacy-phobics out there should note that all type of content residing on public communities is readily indexed and discoverable via Google+ search. Private groups (inherently being member-only) can either be rendered searchable, or they can alternatively be made discovery-less and accessible only via URL.
There you have it – a wrap up of Google+’s latest offering that’s bound to change the dynamics of social media for sure (and for good). Google has started seeding out Communities to users around the globe and should be readily available for users to feast upon soon. Meanwhile, we’ll have to settle with the official preview below.