Have you been in and tried Google+ yet? It’s the big, shiny new social media platformlaunched by, yes you’ve guessed it, Google, a couple of weeks ago!

All the gossip is that it is set to rival Facebook and there’s got to be some competitive element in the reasoning behind it’s development, but for the moment I think it will happily mingle alongside the more established platforms.

It is still in beta-testing phase and, as such, only a limited number of people were able to access it in the first few days, by invitation from other users or Google only. This depended on having a gmail address too. Now it seems that you can get in and set yourself up by going to http:/www.googleplus.com.

As more and more users get in, obviously it will get more and more buzz and will come alive with friends linking to each other and content. What I like about it is the fact that the developers are asking users which apps/ programs they would like direct access to from Google+, suggesting that we may get a platform which is built on user preference and need from the outset. Many have been suggesting being able to access Google Reader for example; also access to Google Places and Google documents were common requests. A lot of us have asked for the API to be made available to Hootsuite so that we can at least update our Google+ streams from the dashboard we already use – that would be awesome!!

I don’t want to sit here and write reams about the key features of Google+ and how to use it – this has been very ably covered in articles such as this one by Chris Brogan: http://bit.ly/pB01fB.

A natty ‘cheat sheet’ has also been developed: http://on.mash.to/qUFYrQ and an app has been written allowing you to create your own vanity url: http://on.mash.to/rkPgUr

What I love about Google+ is the ability to have your friends and contacts in separate groups or ‘circles’ . This means that you can choose which groups to share updates and content with. Just imagine the power of that when it comes to business profiles. I reckon it will be awesome!!