30 Days With Google+

30 Days With Google+: Day 1

Today begins my fourth "30 Days With..." journey. Coming off of a month working with the iPad to find out whether it can suffice as a replacement for a Windows-based PC, I am ready to take on a new challenge: Google+.

Google+ is Google's latest attempt at social networking. The initial reception of Google+ has been predominantly positive. At face value, it seems to be part Facebook, part Twitter, and all Google.

This month I will spend 30 days diving into the Google+ social network.
Google+ is invitation-only right now, but that hasn't stopped it from growing very quickly from launch to 20 million members. That pales in comparison to Facebook's 750 million, but it's not too shabby for right out of the gate with a limited audience.

Google+ is still essentially a beta product. On the one hand, Google is proven to use the word "beta" differently than most companies--basically negating the concept of a limited pilot for final testing purposes, and simply running products in perpetual beta. I will say that Google+ seems fairly polished and complete as it is, but as 20 million users stress-test the social network, issues will arise, and Google will address those issues.

As I explore Google+ over the next 30 days, though, I will keep in mind that it is a work in progress--and I will remind you as well. So, the goal of 30 Days With Google+ will be to dive into the Google social network, discover its pros and cons, and see what it has to offer--but with the caveat that Google+ is still evolving and those things may all change.

I will take a look at how to join Google+ and get started adding friends and contacts to build a social network. I'll figure out Circles, Sparks, Huddles, and Hangouts (don't worry--I'll explain those in more detail in the days to come). I'll explore privacy issues, as well as integration with other Google services and with third-party sites and services.

It will be hard not to draw comparisons to existing social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. In some instances, the comparisons will be warranted or necessary, but for the most part I plan to explore and review Google+ on its own merits rather than as a function of how well it mimics its rivals.

If you have any particular questions or concerns about Google+ that you think I should take a look at during the 30 Days With Google+ series, email them to me at tbradley@pcworld.com. If you would like to get in on the Google+ fun, you can email me a request for an invitation as well. I will invite you as long as Google continues to let me.

I hope you will check back each day and follow along as I go through the 30 Days With Google+ experience.

Read the last "30 Days" series: 30 Days With the iPad

Day 2: Jumping Onto Google+

Go to Page 2 for a complete list of links to the "30 Days With Google+" entries.

30 Days With Google+: The Complete Experience

Day 1: 30 Days With Google+

Day 2: Jumping Onto Google+

Day 3: Filling In the Circles

Day 4: Pros and Cons of Circles

Day 5: The "Real Names" Debate

Day 6: Anatomy of a Google+ Post

Day 7: Nobody Wants to Claim These Invitations

Day 8: I'm Not Loving the Circles Interface

Day 9: Playing With Sparks

Day 10: Which Browser Is Best for Google+?

Day 11: Understanding the +1 Button

Day 12: Following People in Google+

Day 13: Cross-Posting from Google+ to Facebook and Twitter

Day 14: Playing Games on Google+

Day 15: A Closer Look at Google+ Privacy

Day 16: Using Google+ From My iPhone

Day 17: Sorting Circles by 'Relevance' Is Flaky

Day 18: Hanging Out on Google+ Hangouts

Day 19: Sharing Photos and Videos in Google+

Day 20: Google+ Makes 'Unfriending' More Polite

Day 21: The New and Improved +1 Button

Day 22: Taming the Google+ Stream

Day 23: Tying Google+ In With the Rest of Google

Day 24: Is Google+ a More Engaging Social Network?

Day 25: Another Look at Google+ Privacy

Day 26: Comparing Google+ with Twitter

Day 27: Comparing Google+ with Facebook

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