USF hopes to join Google+

Since Google+ launched its beta test June 28, about a million people have joined the new social network. USF hopes to be one of them.

The new social networking site is exclusively available to Gmail users who are invited to join by current members. Features on the site include the ability to place friends in different groups, or circles, allowing users to manage what information they share with each circle.

Some businesses created personal profiles intended for individuals. However, a statement from Google+ product manager Christian Oestilen released July 6 announced that all “non-user profiles” will soon be shut down to make way for new business profiles.

According to a release, Google+ accepted applications from businesses, such as USF, that are interested in joining a “limited” pilot program to test new business profiles before a final product is released later this year that “should far exceed the consumer profile in terms of its usefulness to businesses.”

Director of News and Digital Media Peter Howard said the University Communications and Marketing Department applied for USF to become a test partner for the new profiles before the application closed Friday, yet doesn’t know if the request made the cut.

“We don’t know exactly how we are going to use it yet,” he said, “but there are opportunities there certainly to form our circles of interest around whether it involves faculty or topics of interest or trends of interest. I see where you would have Google plus circles around events on campus.”

Howard said it is too early to tell whether it can outcompete Facebook.

“I’m starting to think a lot of social media are generational,” he said. “(Google) hasn’t had a whole lot of … success, but they seem to may have hit upon something here where a lot of the industry people are saying that people are getting tired of Facebook because they have too many friends and they can’t possibly keep up with it and its unmanageable.”

Brenna Bandell, a junior majoring in international business, said she has been a Google+ user for a week and hopes the site gains momentum.

“Some actions may be confusing to users who are coming from a Facebook state of mind … (but) overall Google+ is easy to use.”

– Additional reporting by Isabella Bailey