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Yes, Google+ is Google's answer to Facebook, but not in the directly competitive sense many journalists assume. Google+ is core to Google's mission "to organize the world's information", and that's a better frame for thinking about this service.

Here are 35 slides to help kickstart a different perspective on what Google+ really is - a "shared interest graph."

I tried to make this tour as easy as possible with some nice images along the way. Credits for all those nice images are on the last slide.

P.S. - I've had multiple requests to post these slides via Slideshare, so here they are via my blog:
http://www.alchemyofchange.net/what-is-google-plus-really/

#interestgraph #socialnetworks #facebook #twitter #influence #informationnetworker #socialgraph #influencegraph
#sharedinterestgraph  
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202 comments
 
Awesome slideshow! There's at least a few people I'd really like to show this to haha.
 
+Gideon Rosenblatt Do you think Google needed a Google+ if Facebook opened itself up to Google search via, say, a 10 year partnership? By not opening up, Facebook threatened Google's very existence, so Google had to get in and get it right (and it is now a better company and service for it)
 
Great synopsis. I am not completely sure I agree with it (though have no alternative to counter). Intuitively it seems fairly accurate. I like when somebody makes me think. And via quick and easy methods. Thanks +Gideon Rosenblatt
 
How did you know I was looking for something like this! Fantastic.
 
+Gideon Rosenblatt Thanks for putting together and especially for Interest Graph. Just to share I think you are spot on. Works similarly on twitter. The way I like to think about it is one tweets Interesting to me. Every once in a while it is also Interesting to You. Levels of interest can be seen as an RT and @ . On Twitter it's a noisy signal since much of interest to me and RT happen because folks are either friends or want to build their brands... On G+ the cost of indicating Interest to me is a bit higher. It gets a cleaner signal.

And your point about G+ being an environment that selects of active users is a good one. Goes to the emergence of thoughtfulness and real intent to get into the weeds as a normal process that is happening all over the web.
 
What an excellent post and it does exactly what the images say Google+ was meant to be. This is how I see it. Facebook was meant to share among family and friends, Google+ goes beyond that to share with everyone else. Google+ basically has the best of both worlds (Facebook and Twitter) It connects you to everyone you know like Facebook (if they join of course) but it also connects you with everyone else like Twitter does. On top of that you are also connected to all your favorite Google products such as Gmail, Youtube, Docs and so much more.
 
I like google+ better than face book. It is more customizable.
 
Well done. Very informative.
 
I think the danger here is not Google+ becoming Facebook, but Facebook becoming Google+, in a misguided attempt to be more like Twitter (and by proxy G+), and to attempt to further monetize.
 
#shared interest graph! hahagaga! good one!
 
I think that this is a really nice visual intro to GPlus. Thanks!
 
beautifully done, and worth the reading. Thanx.
 
+Gideon Rosenblatt Excellent! This tells just what it's all about. You forgot one thing, though: Having just pure unadulterated fun in engaging with like minded people! :-) -> Hangouts... Discussion threads...
 
This will get 500 comments in no time. :-)
 
Incredible visual that takes explains the difference between "social graph" and "interest graph". Much appreciated +Gideon Rosenblatt
 
This opened my eyes to what this is all about. thank you.
 
This reminds me of Shirky's book on Cognitive Surplus which I'm reading now, another related take - highly recommended; it's brilliant.
 
I dunno. I still don't get replies to things I post. "Social" network seems to be more about posting links to the thoughts of others, rather than your own. Google+ is even worse about that than Facebook.
 
Absolutely wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing this!
 
+Marian Murdoch Well, you have only one public post visible... To get engagement one should engage more. People don't circle you if you haven't got good content to show, I guess.
Tom Hsu
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Absolutely agree with you!!! Great picture!!! Thanks for well organized information! I will definitely share it. : )
 
Awesome !! thanks for putting it in such a clear manner
 
nice job...stark difference from FB.
 
Nice work, gives you a nice comparison between the 2 big social media giants! Thanks
 
I'd love to have a presentation of this. Quite nice!
 
Excelent! very well explained. Maybe a little redundant (could've cut a couple of slides) but it's a very good description of what G+ is about.
 
A really interesting perspective, thanks.
 
Simply said. Good job. This is the reason I am on FB AND G+. Twitter still moves too fast for me. I have gone back and tried and tried again to find out how Twitter can enhance my life. Oh well...
 
yes ur right mr.Blair Warner thnx for the infooooo
 
Google+ is better for a person like me, who is vastly curious. I information that I might be interested, not just from friends, organizations and companies that I already like. It says, "Hey, enough people were interested or thought that this was cool enough, that we thought you might like to know about it." I have seen so many things that in the vast deluge of information that is the internet, I might have missed, because Google+ say "take a look."
 
Nikhi, you may have missed the point. It is NOT just like FB. If you try to put too much information on FB your friends get upset or ignore you. They still want fun, family and friends, social, interactive stuff posted. G+ is more of a shared information network, as the presentation shows.
 
BULL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
It's fantastic. Thanks.
 
if only it was true +Gideon Rosenblatt We have been discussing it and although it´s a nice presentation and loads of people clearly like pictures even if they have words on them, we are not done yet. I second +Alexander Becker and +Daniel Love. I am a skilled reader so I don´t like pictures, but others love them. No problem there, but with G+ not being something so easily defined as we are discussing in https://plus.google.com/u/0/112964117318166648677/posts/Gfjgt7kCKVt
 
Impressive presentation. Unfortunately, I was losing interest by half way through, then Slide 21 came along and piqued my interest. Very clever, having such a controversial topic to reinvigorate the reader. 
 
It is indeed a good slideshow, but I have to respectfully disagree. Social Networks in particular are characteristic for being what users leverage them for, and I, as well as many of my friends, have done a 1:1 replacement of Facebook with Google+.

The producer, curator, consumer model is a good summation of how the social network ecology is working, and I can't argue with it -- but the slideshow seems to assert that content cannot be created with social networks, only curated and consumed. I would argue that aside from aggregating, say, a YouTube series on G+ or FB, a social network is also a content creation for content in the form of insightful writing, comments, sharing life events, etc, that are content unto themselves.

After all, how many posts that we see are text-only and link to no outside content, but are still prolifically liked or +1'd and shared?
 
I always thought g+ was just another tool in their suite. Plain and simple
 
I still say BULL !! S_________________!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
The thing is, Google - as usual - has come at it from a programmer's perspective (e.g., what they'd LIKE to have happen), rather than how people actually behave. Remember that story about the university that built a new quad? The waited to pave the sidewalks until the worn paths through the grass showed where people actually walked.
 
I need some time to get my circles set up. I did enjoy this program and slides. Thanks
 
+Kendrick Mitchell it is a new tool that is destined to be one of the main tools. Search and curate for consumers is their model whether be through a information network or social network , or both.
 
Like it! That is a challenge... Innovation distinguish a leader from a follower.
 
Thanks for the slides. All the time I was thinking Google wants to be THE INTERNET & everybody works for it, with good salary
 
NAILED. IT. +Gideon Rosenblatt - anyone who doesn't understand how powerfully the connection between Google+ and Google products is for creating new Super Giants of personal influence hasn't seen what you and I have been seeing.
 
Wow, what a great way to present information. I need to digest this a bit, thanks Tim!
 
that is simply AWSOME! Great work!
 
Simply put...some how every one knows and yet doesnt know this..
You just beautifully explained, what the fuss is all about :)
 
This is required viewing for Digital Immigrant 101. Clear and simple definition of the landscape and who is plowing what turf ! I am Sharing this with a bunch of folks Thanx mucho Gid.
 
If you all think it is so great------try getting off Google+----- --then see what you think !!!!!!!!!!
 
google + is not just googles answer to face book
but it is the result of a,well signatured group's,wish to establish their field of service
yes it has certain similarities and again yes +is really a demon in the dreams of facebookand and a strong opponent but its not an easy task for+, but some thing which facebook lacked is safe with +, it is the trust which google have earned through years .......................lets see whose going to win the final war............at that instant todays little battles are worthless
 
I'd love to hear the lecture on this, even if it's pretty darn self-explanatory. Good share.
 
+Marian Murdoch Bear in mind that being social works both ways. Find posts you consider interesting and/or there's discussion ongoing you have something to add. It isn't totally different from discussions on your own posts after all, biggest difference, or should I say only, would be that you don't get to choose the topic.

And when it comes to your own stream. It's quite likely I am not the only one surfing around here randomly. But the key is. If you don't put comments, or make it to the top stream, there's absolutely no way I popped into your profile.
 
I guess if you can't beat them, just change your mission statement.
 
what ever it is, I love it :)
 
+Gideon Rosenblatt Fresh approach to posting styles - very cool & well put together. You've obviously put a great deal of work into it. I'm still testing out in G+ where the lines are drawn for content creators. My gut feeling is that short content in general is the way to go on G+ for creators.. everything else needs to be external (meaning G+ is just a teaser channel). Heres one to ponder --- Do you reckon G+ could promote up from being a shared interest graph to a full-fledged learning network?
 
lol nice to see someone comented at the end and even made it his far no coments in the middle for the most part
 
I won't use Picasaweb until they introduce nested folders.I create a new folder each year for my photos & often have folders within that. Have tried Picasaweb but not being able to drill down annoys me too much.
 
I like it better, they don't force things on us like facebook. Timeline
 
Love this! I think that you defined the unique space that G+ holds and why it's important.
 
I can see this as part of google+ but not all of what it is about.. I am not posting to curate or to write. Google+ is more like a thought engine. The thoughts are written an curated an then you have interest. Google gains more from the users thought than from writings an curating the end post.. Knowing the next move or thought of a user is more important than who writes or who curate. I have a job curating post so.. But knowing what my next post is, now that what google makes it money from..

It is a great post but I feel only part of what google+ is.. I am going with a thought engine.

I also think google+ is far from done. But discussion is good for g+.
 
I am fairly new to Google +. I am not impressed at all. It is not a networking site or about information it really seams to be just a stream of everyone's opinions on things. Like so many of Google's products it seems poorly planned and executed. The interface is clunky and awkward in an effort to try to make it user friendly it ends up being incoherent. Facebook is really much better put together and that is setting the bar extremely low.
 
Nicely put together and I like the tie-in with Klout, which is a site I've recently discovered.
 
Beautiful, +Gideon Rosenblatt. But let me dare respond to +Max Huijgen's comment above. There are many shortcomings in G+. The fact that I can't reply directly to your comment is just the first. If I understand your objection, it is that G+ is still dwarfed by Facebook. Indeed it is. But Gideon's slides are not about how big the community is, but what kind of community each is. Gideon wasn't trying to compile a critique of the deficiencies of G+, but offer a simple explanation of what it is to those who haven't tried G+ yet, or to those who have tried it but given up on it because they didn't find traffic with their friends. I think Gideon would agree that these slides barely skim the surface. But that's what an introduction is. It just so happens that Gideon's introduction is so perceptive that it brings clarity even to power users who engage several hours a day on G+, instructing us how we might engage with one another more effectively on G+, which is a remarkable and well-lauded achievement.
 
I really like the way you put these social networks in perspective. To me, G+ is a place where I follow topics of interest. For exemple, I love G+ and for that reason I follow people that have this same interest. This is how I ended up looking at these slides. Someone that I follow, even many people that I follow, shared this post. So it caught my attention and I looked at it.

I see G+ as a way to find the interesting stuff amongst the ocean of content that is the Internet.

I also love hangouts. When used in a certain way, it's a great way to vocalise opinions and debate with people from around the world. That is a powerful tool!
 
Thank you for putting the work in to assemble this. It is as interesting and as concise a picture of what G+ is ... and where online social interaction is heading... as I have seen.
 
+Jonathan Taylor sorry I am amazed at your comment. I find Facebook a nightmare to use and G+ a doddle (easy) to use. One is mechanical the other intuitive. Is this a state of mind or a real UI difference?
 
I would love to see a live hangout broadcast or recording going through every one of these slides. That would be very nice to show my friends on facebook why Google+ is so worth it.
 
I'm not sure he did nail this though. It's a question of definition. If you define something by its function, and I come up with a different function for it, am I then an exception to the rule? Is facebook a social network when it is used to coordinate a revolt, rather than "socialize"? I'm just not sure this piece is accurate. I think there are as many uses are there are users, though many many users fall into one and the same category of usage.
 
Wow. Overwhelming response. Not sure how best to respond, but first let me thank everyone for all the great feedback. I really appreciate it.
 
One thing I think people need to remember, always, is that these social networks are not here necessarily for us. I mean, they want us to be happy, and enjoy our stay here, and like their products, etc., but for one reason and one reason only, so we will spend $$$$$, somehow, somewhere. The only reason G+ has not started advertising is because they do it on their search engine. If Google+ didn't have another way for revenue, they would be monetizing it just like FB. That said, it is why I like G+. It is here secondarily, or tertiary for advertising. FB is their primarily for advertising.
 
+Jared Stander - you raise an important point about people producing more and more content here on Google+, so that it's not simply an information networking or curation engine. Many, like +Jeff Sayre are deliberately scaling back their efforts on their blogs in order to scale up their focus here on G+. Tried to acknowledge that on slide 31, but in order to simplify and make a point, sometimes you need to focus. I still would argue pretty strongly that though people are using G+ to produce and consume, the real reason did it, from a competitive perspective, was to have a platform for people to curate. That's what was scaring them most about Facebook (and Twitter).
 
I like the "interest graph" description and I have used it before your presentation. Great job of communicating effectively
 
Great Point, Gideon. I also see G+ as a great platform for community building, aggregating on a shared interest or value, sharing and curating content, brain-storming and crowd-creating through enhanced hangouts, self organising and activating progressively. Social, cultural movements, grassroots movements, the directions seem potentially infinite.
 
I was hoping for something I could share with friends on Facebook; instead I got drowned in jargon which I could probably decipher if I took the time but would bore the average FBer silly. Oh well. Different audience I guess.
 
Very cool. Very insightful. Thanks for tying all of the pieces together.
 
WOW, you just convince to not use Google+ any more... except for the HangOuts
 
Great job +Gideon Rosenblatt, I'm going to explain g+ to property company on thursday and you have summed up so much, so succinctly, thanks!
 
If it takes 36 slides to explain Google+, than Google+ has no hope of success.
 
+Hamid Marc Afsharieh - it's a great question re: what might have happened had Facebook simply opened its social graph to Google. It might have simply commoditized the FB service (which is what they assumed) or it might have weakened Google in the long run by building a dependency. I could see it going either way. I'm not close enough to what was going on between the two to comment intelligently on the question. Others?
 
+Gideon Rosenblatt

It's an important question because it helps us understand where Google and G+ is going.

Facebook has commandeered people's time online. They're spending all their time on FB, and therefore creating content and filtering it through their own eyes.

You mentioned FB was worried about being commoditized. Maybe. I think FB thinks that the analysis of FB interactions with products/contents/brands/friends is its treasure and didn't want Google to come in and out-algorithmize (not a word i know) them for analysis. Their thinking: "our" content should not be used by Google to personalize advertising on Google.com.

However, I think FB has one thing fundamentally wrong. It believes that interactions and content from its users on FB is theirs, not the users'. Our photos are not theirs, they're ours. By thinking that way, it goes against the modo of the scattered internet. This I believe will lead to their downfall.

Why? I'm personally seeing trends that social is de-centralizing, it seems to be going distributed & specialized w/ services like pinterest, path, tumblr and even reddit, chime-in, quora, etc... FB or G+ cannot hope to have all our social answers. They can no longer hope to be the one stop shop. For now, pinterest and others have tagged along with facebook logins and API plug-ins, but i don't believe that's a long term strategy because it makes those services submissive to Zuck & Co.

I think Google would have preferred to be a social aggregator, than than have its own service to collect the information it needs for tomorrow's search. But alas, FB did not open and forced Google's hand, and G+ as a result is improving every aspect of Google's services. Thanks Facebook!
 
A meritocracy is exactly where it is going, totally agree. Klout is doing that as well.

Btw, for Google's search to stay relevant, it actually needs FB to become irrelevant, or it needs to grow G+ enough that a 2 way partnership with FB to share info with is achieved. Google search cannot stay relevant in 3-5 years with a dominant FB.
 
This is the best explanation I've seen of what Google+ is actually about.
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I love Facebook, but in comparison it's like a toy in comparison to G+. My only fear is that G+ will be getting so much of our information and have incredible integration capabilities with Gmail, youtube, etc. and the company will know SO much about me (e.g.- how many friends I have, when I use the PC, info I care about, etc). It's sort of terrifying to have one company have so much power over my personal info, thoughts, beliefs, etc. It's a direct marketing persons dream come true so in theory this should all be for the higher good... but I don't know.
 
+CJ Liu isn't that the point though we give up ALL our data so they can target ads at us so we can have a FREE service and not pay a subscription. One day Government will work like this too. Ads for Tax it will be called.
 
Fascinating, thanks for sharing the slides. I can see how useful and how powerful this will be. Can't say I always log in to google when I search - I like to retain a little mystery about me in each domain. As to a government that knows everything about me and advertises to me what it thinks I need - pass me a glass of soma please.
 
People often ask me if I prefer G+ to FB and I always reply them that I use them differently. I use FB to stay connected to my friends and I use G+ to browse the web and explore my interests
 
Great presentation. Off course, things would have evolved faster if Google just would have made a deal with Twitter and Facebook. If these 2 networks granted full access to Google, the "shared interest graph" would have happened much sooner.
 
I'm glad I kept a note about this sitting in my inbasket, although it has taken me this long to get to it. Well done, and I'm going to share it.
 
Lovely piece of work! +Gideon Rosenblatt It is going to be fascinating as the production (or creation) element finally has a streamlined method of knowing their are keen, smart and connected curators within a platform. I am a newbie but can see the potential...
 
need to get this slideshow to the media so they have a clue about what they're reporting on
 
very nice - my only suggestion would be to call it a shared interest network instead of a shared interest graph, as many people won't understand the latter
 
+Ellen Lincourt to me you summed it up - if you see Google+ as circles of shared interests and go out looking for people who only share your interests you miss out. I think it works better as ripples of interesting information - more fluid and ever changing. I find myself transfixed by stuff that I would never have found without Google+ and it often comes from looking at profiles of people who may have no connection with what I thought were "my interests" before. I hope we're not all part of some grand design to organise information on the internet - I definitely wouldn't join a circle for that.


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Very initeresting, good work, thank you for sharing
 
Congrats! absolutely amazing presentation!
 
+Mandi Samara They won't follow you here. You'll find 1000 other new people here instead.
 
great slideshow, i'm passing it on. thanks!
 
This explains why Google+ is important better than anything I've seen! I just shared the Slideshare version with some of my off-Google+ networks.
 
Very useful! Thanks for sharing that and putting G+ in perspective.
 
Sharing my interests with those who share my interests. That's awesome. My tagline has always been similar to that idea. "Google+, because bookmarking is selfish"
 
I think the quality of the comments on this thread, leave alone the original post, is one of the key differences between the FB & the G+ networks.
 
+Gideon Rosenblatt Very good point',Gideon. It would be impossible for ann update to have this longevity on Facebook. You first posted this in March. 9 months later and there's still discussion. Quality platform attracts quality content ;-)
 
Thx +Mumma Bear for alerting me to this post.
Thx +Gideon Rosenblatt for taking the time to analyze this topic and write about it.
(I know it's been a long time since the original post, but the commentary is great and up to date!)
 
Thanks +Ray Hiltz and +Jack C Crawford. It's so clear that this community wants to make this network as powerful as possible because they see the real potential here to bring people and ideas together. 
 
Interesting. This was a good post in May and it's still relevant and on point today. Good job +Gideon Rosenblatt It's pretty tough to make "timeless" social media posts :)
 
Wow, a March old post coming back to life. Gotta love G+.
 
The dalmatian analogy was a bit spotty.
 
Somehow missed this comment, +martin shervington. Thank you so much - that's a high compliment. Funny to see much of this stuff now emerging in the latest update. 
 
Go through these slides and you'll experience that epiphany you've been waiting for.  Thanks for this +Jack C Crawford 
 
Thanks again +Gideon Rosenblatt for these slides, they are still the best summary what g+ is and how it works 
shared already month ago on g+, but  now i will post this to my FB "Friends" hope the change there opionion about G+
 
O clock so I have it scratch that situation
 
Very well done! Just read this for the first time thanks to a reference from +Dustin W. Stout. Still totally relevant in 2014. Thanks for making!
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