Sunday, April 07, 2013

Making Google+ Your Social Media Hub


Today I discovered Friends+Me, a service that grabs your Public posts on Google+ and then reposts them to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The service is currently in beta; but, it will soon have different plans, starting from Free, to an Unlimited version.

In the past, I have used similar services, except they attempt to create an RSS feed from your Google+ feed.  Unfortunately, RSS doesn't map well and consistently across services. The result tends to be messy.

Friends+Me seems to have worked out how to get around the formatting problems that other services have had. The result is a neat and very useful way to share your Google+ posts.

Google has chosen to leave Google+ off limits to incoming feeds for auto posting. This is probably for the best. Having automatic incoming links would mess up search results, which often feature Google+ posts from yourself or people you know. Search results could quickly get spammy.

Outgoing posts are the only other option for automating your content posting. Now with Friends+Me, it's a viable option.

Pricing

During beta, the service is offering full access to all the features. After the beta, there will be Free, Standard, and Unlimited plans.

The Free plan seems like it would be OK for somebody who posts occasionally.

The Standard plan would be good for somebody like me, who has a few web side projects going on. For $20/year, it's not a bad deal.

If you are a social media gun for hire, I would recommend going for the Unlimited plan. At $34.99/year for unlimited reposting, I think it's a bargain. You would save tons of time having to post things and then copy them to another service. Granted, G+, Twitter, Facebok, and LinkedIn are not the universe of social media; but, they do cover a large territory.

Minor Problem

Not all is roses with Friends+Me. There is one final problem that most likely will not affect everybody, mainly photographers. If you post multiple photos on your Google+ page, only the first photo will post to the receiving service. So, if you don't have romantic notions that your full beautiful album will repost, you'll be OK with this.

Another thing that affects photo lovers is that the service creates its own photo album on your Facebook page. It would be nice if the photos simply went to your Wall album rather than an "in your face" Friends+Me photo album.

Final Thoughts

Personally, I'm OK with the issues that the service has. I'm even willing to pay the $20 for the Standard Plan. If I made money off of running accounts, I think $35 is also reasonable. The issues with photos are a bit of a letdown; but, I can live with it. I'm probably better off trickling them out rather than posting them all at once. This is a service I would recommend if you're a Google+ fan and are loathe to visit the other services if you can avoid it. Friends+Me finally allows me to make Google+ my main network. 
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