Googe Plus members can move Gmail contacts into the social media platform from their eMail accounts.

“Too many people have hedged their bets,” Hagemeister said of higher education’s interest in Wave and Buzz. “They won’t go in full tilt now.”

Hagemeister said sharing video, status updates, and photos on Facebook has always been a “very black or white” proposition, with members either giving every online friend access to the content or not posting it at all. There are ways to specify who sees which Facebook postings, but it’s more complicated than Google Plus’s drag-and-drop circle creation.

“It’s a little more of a safe bet than Wave or Buzz were,” Hagemeister said.

Launched in June, Google Plus is available through invitation only, much like Gmail was when that service was introduced in 2004. Members can make unlimited numbers of circles, add interests—known as “sparks”—that provide links to related photos and articles on a topic, and create huddles, or group online chats with people in a certain circle.

Google Plus’s video chat feature is known as a “hangout,” where people in the same circle can connect via online video feed. Members with an Android smart phone can instantly upload phone pictures to their Google Plus profile.

Skepticism about Google Plus borne from the shortcomings of Buzz and Wave could prevent instant adoption in higher education, said Menachem Wecker, co-founder of the Association for Social Media & Higher Education, a group based at George Washington University.

Wecker, however, said word-of-mouth and the elimination of invitation-only memberships would lead to Google Plus proliferation on campuses, even among students loyal to Facebook.


Add your opinion to the discussion.