Sunday, 1 January 2012

Google+ for family historians

Google+ is the new social network in town. It's a bit like Facebook and a bit like Twitter and a bit different from anything I've seen. It's easy to share stories and photos with a few peopple or a lot of people or everyone.

It's not really a blog but it could perform the same function, since you can write as much as you want in a single post, and add photos to it. You can then put a link to the post on other networks such as Facebook or Twitter. You can share photos in web albums and publish them on Google+, and others can comment on them. It's become very popular with photographers, as a way of connecting with other photographers and for displaying their wares to the rest of us.

Google+ invites and supports discussion in a way that Twitter does not. You can say more, and the conversation is kept together and flows more normally.

I see no reason why genealogists haven't taken to Google+ in the way that those with other interests have, but so far they have not. Many bloggers leave posts to show that they have published a new blog post elsewhere but say nothing about it, thus reducing the temptation to click on the link to read what they have written.

Google+ also has hangouts, which is a communication tool to allow up to 10 people to all talk to each other by voice and video. Video is not essential but it is a bit disconcerting if you can see everyone but one person behind and blank black square. Hangouts can also be used to broadcast to many people at once. Genealogists and families could use hangouts for many, many uses. Some businesses now use hangouts instead of Skype.

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