Google+. Wow.

I finally got an invitation to Google+ about a week ago. Yesterday, the beta was opened to the public. So, at least I got a bit of a head start. I’m sorry that I didn’t get the chance to write a review earlier. I’d hoped to jump in with my two cents worth before it became generally available. I just wanted time to explore more of it. I haven’t had a chance to use all the features yet. However, I’m very glad that anyone can join now.

Let me give you the bottom line of my reaction up front: Oh yes. You are going to want this. Even if you don’t think you are interested in social or professional networking, from what you’ve seen elsewhere.

The first thing I noticed was the sheer elegance of the user interface. I haven’t heard the word “elegance” used for a while in relation to the computer matters, but it seemed particularly apt in this case. We used to talk about mathematical solutions and computer code as being “elegant.” By that we meant that it was simpler, more streamlined, and, often, more intuitive, more sensible.

And that is what this service is. Simple. Intuitive. Easy to understand. It just makes sense. Little help or explanation necessary. Although, plenty of help is available. This is what social and professional networking is supposed to be like. And it’s going to work very well for small and large businesses too, as it develops.

Now don’t let what I say give you the wrong impression. It may be simple, easy and intuitive, but this is a very sophisticated piece of work. It offers a number of services in one cloud application and is being integrated very well with other Google apps.

Not only does it offer the usual profile, posts, photo sharing, chat, etc. sections that you would expect, it has some very useful extras that are going to be quite helpful to teachers, students and entrepreneurs.

For example, if you want your socks knocked off, you need to explore the section called “Hangouts.” Not only does Google+ have a video chat feature that allows up to nine users at once, but also is rolling out a form of video conferencing or broadcasting that will allow an unlimited number of participants. Yes, that means you will be able to hold classes and seminars online using this Google+ function. Furthermore, you’ll be able to use screen sharing. And you’ll be able to use a function called sketchpad rather like a chalkboard to draw or doodle for others to see or participate in. If that weren’t enough, you can also collaborate within the video chat on Google docs to write, plan, or present.

Again, despite all the features and sophistication, every part of Google+ is user-friendly and easy to understand.

Remember also that Google+ is still in beta. With current features and the new features being added, not only does this look as if it’s going to be a feature-rich service from the beginning, but also that it is going to be an amazing game-changer in the overall arena of cloud-based services.

I won’t be surprised if this replaces other social and professional networking, blogging and micro-blogging, and various forms of video conferencing, streaming, and presentation. Because it’s an all-in-one-place solution. And did I say easy? (Oh, and it’s going mobile, too.)

If you’ve been turned off by Facebook and others, try this instead. If you’ve been using Facebook and Twitter and others, go here anyway. You’ll find that you can use this easily in addition to the others, and eventually, you’ll probably find yourself moving, along with all your contacts to this platform.

I could be wrong. Google has failed before. But this isn’t some new “bright, shiny object.” It’s not over-hyped. This works for the user. This works wonderfully well for the user. Try it. You’ll like it.

Go get it: https://plus.google.com/