Circles Are Becoming A Competitive Advantage for Google+
Google+ updated the Circles interface to make it easier to find people. The snazzy HTML5 circle controls now shrink down for smaller screens. The page now has a new left sidebar like the circles menu on the main Google+ page but with a few more options for managing circles.
The page now has a tab for the people who have you in their circles, as well as a tab for finding people on Google+ from Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail, or you can upload your address book. The “Find People” tab also suggests related people or pages to follow. It’s essential for a social network to help new users discover fun stuff to do, and Google+ is really cranking on this problem lately.
Since Google+ users can share circles with each other, they’ve become extremely valuable. These groupings of people and pages by interests are hand-picked, so they have a human touch. Facebook and Twitter’s automatically suggested accounts aren’t as interesting, and even though both services let users hand-pick lists, neither has a mechanism for publicly sharing them like Google+ does.
Shared circles help influential Google+ users get very popular very quickly. That gives Google a strong sense of what their interests are based on who follows them and shares their posts. On top of that, Google+ scans users’ posts for keywords, topics and mentions of other people and pages. That makes Google+ a pretty powerful discovery tool for people and things, and circles are human-organized places to put them.
The new circles page is a sensible place to go to find new things on Google+, but it’s not the only discovery feature available.
The “What’s Hot” section, which features popular posts from around the whole network, is now available on desktop, mobile Web and native apps alike, and users can now control the volume of What’s Hot posts. If you really want to see what Google+ is talking about, you can turn it up and find new posts, as well as the people who posted them. If not, turn it off, and you can still discover new interests using circles.