Google+ cartoon from xkcd

So Google finally did it. As you've probably heard, they created their own social media site, Google+. It is still in its Beta testing phase, so its not fully released, but the amount of hype surrounding it is enormous. I just actually got an account, but unfortunately it seems as though the only people who exist on the site so far are my cubemates, a few assumed sysadmins, and I.

What Does the Nonprofit Blogosphere Say?

In addition to my looking into Google+, many bloggers in the nonprofit sector have also been checking it out and listing its advantages and disadvantages. Most of the reviews are positive, with a few bloggers not ready to commit yet. Chris Brogan did a great post, listing thoughts about the site as he browsed, and in turn, showing reasons why Google+ could come out ahead of other social media sites. In addition, he posted a few methods that could be employed to use Google+ as a blogging tool.

Beth Kanter wrote a great in-depth article on the advantages of the new social media engine for nonprofits. Amy Sample Ward gives a nice summary of her first thoughts about the platform, breaking each important aspect of social media sites in general and sees how Google+ measures up. ReadWriteWeb has a great list of posts, mostly dealing with comparing Google+ to other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Social media coach Janet Fouts does an early summary of Google+, listing advantages, and mentioning other blogger's ideas on the site. In addition, she has a post of tips and tricks for +

Do Library Bloggers Like Google+?

While nonprofits bloggers are giving mostly positive reviews of +, library bloggers seem to be more leery of the new platform. This is understandable, considering that Google has been working to digitize books, which could put libraries out of business. PC Sweeney's blog mentions how Google+'s "+1" tool could potentially change what searches bring up you or your organization's name, and the results could be harmful to your public image.

The Agnostic, Maybe blog writes about Google in general, and its relationship with libraries. She mentions that Google is a tool for everyone to use libraries are not in direct competition with the company, and that libraries will still be necessary, and will never become outdated. The OverARCHing Insights blog for libraries is also on the fence about whether libraries need to be using it, but maintains that libraries should keep an eye on its development for the sake of patrons, particularly around their data, privacy, and content ownership concerns.

The Bottom Line (for Now)

As for my thoughts on the site, I like it quite a bit. Granted, it looks exactly like Facebook, and it is still in the Beta testing phase, but there is much to look forward to. I really like how you can control what content you share with whomever you want to. 

Although Facebook just launched a video-chat service via Skype, I feel as though Google+'s hangouts will do better, because everyone who wants to video chat already has a Skype, and now that Google is offering free multiple-person video chat that is integrated into the site is going to become much more popular very quickly. Lastly, the lack of advertisements that have no relevancy to me are gone ("hot singles in your area!"), clearing up page clutter, and making me a happy blogger.

We'll all be keeping a close eye on how it develops and what may or may not be the benefits of another social network for nonprofits and libraries to work with. Watch for more posts on Google+ to come as we learn more about it and see how it's being used for these sectors.

What do you think of Google+? Share your thoughts in the comments on how you could see this new social media venue helping (or hindering) your organization's work.

Comic: Randall Munroe at xkcd.com

Chris Edwards is an intern on the TechSoup Content Team.