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What’s Up With G+?

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This post was written by Heather Hildreth. She is a a third year physics major at the University of Virginia. While she does enjoy physics very much, she has also learned after writing numerous twenty plus page lab reports, a life in the lab is not for her. She would much rather pursue a career relating to patents and IP law. Last summer, she interned at Cooper, White, & Cooper, LLP in San Francisco, California, and was able to get her feet wet in the legal environment and practice her analytical writing skills. Originally from Northern Virginia, it would be ideal for her to get a job at the PTO or a firm close to Washington, D.C., but she will take whatever opportunities she can find! Thankfully, she has another year and a half until she graduates in 2013, leaving her enough time to start looking for jobs and enjoying her last moments in the physics library (aka the exclusive nerd library) at her school. Feel free to connect with her through LinkedIn or Google+, where she often share articles she finds about new research and inventions relating to physics.

That’s what’s up. This plot, which was taken from Compete, shows that unique visitors were on the rise toward the end of 2011. The sharp increase starting around November is probably due to the addition of Brand pages, and so reflects businesses with Google+ pages.

Google+’s recent growth is what probably convinced Google to recently release a Google+ app for Android, along with the Google Wallet app. They’ve also tried to improve their product by to remove “spam” comments by hiding posts believed to be spam behind an indicator below the comment count. By clicking on the indicator, these comments can either be restored to a “normal” comment status, or completely removed. The spammer will not know his comment has been hidden, but will know if the user decides to remove it. This spam-hiding feature is an indicator that Google+ is growing, since users are receiving spam comments, and also shows that Google is ready to cater to the needs of its many new users.

In fact, Google+ has become so big that President Obama has started using it, and has even participated in a Google+ hangout that was made visible to the public through Youtube. Recently, his Google+ page has been in the press because a large number of Chinese citizens have “spammed” his page with comments on a number of his posts asking Obama to assist them with human rights issues in China, and also with questions regarding immigration to the U.S. and obtaining visas. For those wondering how people in China were able to access Google+, there are ways (aka proxies) to get around China’s strict internet regulations.

Not only is Obama using Google+, but many others are using the site and taking advantage of the Hangout feature in very innovative ways. On March 13th, Versus will be hosting a debate on the “war on drugs” and will feature opinions from Russell Brand, Emily Maitlis, former Presidents from Mexico and Brazil, and others. The debate will be streamed live through Youtube, but Google+ users can secure a spot in the live Hangout.

People have finally started to realize the potential of Google+ and its FREE Hangout feature. I’m sure that new users will start to think of more creative, innovative ways to exploit the social media site and improve it.