(CBS) - It seems like the entire Internet is buzzing about Google+ this week. The major snag, however, is that most people can't get in to use the social network. If you did get an invite, you'll discover that your network isn't large enough to fully experience the features that Google+ has to offer. Even still, we think it's the best offering from Google in the social media realm thus far.
We scoured the web for reviews from tech nuts. Here's what they're saying about the Google+ field test...
CNET gives it a thumbs up
"For me, Circles is the next biggest improvement, far and away, over Facebook," said Stephen Shankland, senior writer at CNET. "One of the fundamental differences between G+ and Facebook is that the
connections don't have to be reciprocated - you can follow somebody a la
Rafe Needleman, CNET's editor-at-large, points out, "I like G+ but I'm finding setting up my network kind of slow going."
ReachWriteWeb finds it compelling
Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReachWriteWeb summed up Google+ as a "very compelling experience." Overall his first impression was a positive one that spoke to the psychological aspect of the concept. He went on to say that "Google has built an attractive, intuitive, intelligent service that's fun to use and speaks to a deep human need for contextual integrity of communication."
Scobleizer blogger says mom won't be using it
Technology blogger Robert Scoble declares that "[y]our mom won't use Google+." Going on to say that this is service is truly for the "geeks and early adopters." He makes a strong case that the lack of access is what's preventing Google+ from being the Facebook killer... for now. He goes on to say, "chances [are] normal people (metaphorically speaking, your mom) won't hear about Google+ from normal users for quite a while."
Wired thinks it has potential
Ryan Singel at Wired did an initial first look at the social networking site and had great things to say about its potential: "Google+ is smooth, fast and intuitive - a product that feels far more akin to the revolution that was Gmail than to its less successful initiatives like Wave and Knol."
Engadget raves about it
Brian Heater at Engaget did a hands-on review and raved about the feature-rich site. "Past services like Buzz have suffered from a half-baked approach to the space, but Google has clearly pulled out all of the stops this time. With direct shots at some of the leading market software in the form Facebook and Skype, Google is in a position to extend its search dominance to other realms," Heater said.
First-time users love it and are excited about the possibilities
A Google+ thread at question-and-answer site Quora asked for first impressions from lucky recipients of an early invite... "The group video chat worked very well (better than any other online solution, like tinychat, that I've used)," said Tudor Achim who was invited early, "But, the interface on that page (text chat/YouTube) could use some work. It's much more polished than the other Google attempts at social networking."
"Kudos to the team at Google+! They've definitely learned from their past mistakes as well as introduced some slick moves around jump starting engagement here (for e.g. the on-boarding to create friends list is truly seamless and beautifully choreographed). Frankly, they have tried (real hard) to bring together the best of Facebook, Twitter and FriendFeed in one package," said Mario Sundar, who was also invited early.
Blogger and manager at an IT reseller Sharon Strandskov's initial reaction: "With Facebook, if you want to exclude people or a group of people, you have to manually exclude them. With this, you have to manually include them. The group video chats and YouTube stuff is pretty neat. Another great thing is that you don't have to have it open to use it - you can see your alerts and updates, plus share things right from Gmail or other sites."
What Reddit members love and hate about it
In an Ask Reddit thread, users also gave their first impressions... "So far, it feels like a more intuitive Facebook. However, it has a steeper learning curve when it comes to utilizing all of the features. It integrates Picasa, which makes picture management a hell of a lot easier. I wish sparks was just integrated into Reader, but I'm sure that's a future plan," says Ducttape2021. "One thing I'm not crazy about is the privacy controls. There seems to be no way to exclude people. On Facebook I will frequently make posts where I show to everyone EXCEPT a certain group or a few specific individuals," added chadcf.