News This Week: Google+, Facebook, Gifting

What should you be paying attention to this week?

News - Google+ has opened access to everyone - no more invites required. It now also has search functionality, which really seemed like an odd oversight to begin with - a social network created by a search company that doesn't have search? Glad they resolved that one. This also means the war for stickiness between Google+ and Facebook is officially underway. (Mashable)

Meanwhile, Facebook has changed, among other things, the way your news updates appear, and it's now unclear whether users are getting all of their friends' updates - the "most recent" news option is gone (though you can get it back by un-designating all of your stories as top news), and Facebook now decides what's important, ticking off millions and millions of people. In cooler news, Facebook will be launching "Facebook Gestures" which means you'll be able to read, watch, and do other things in your status updates besides just "like"-ing everything. (Mashable, too)

Your takeaway: It might be time to take another look at Google+, which might be more useful now that more of your friends are on it.

At the same time, good advice from Harvard Business Review to practice a little temperance when it comes to social media. Users are feeling social network overload. Do we all really need to maintain a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Klout, LinkedIn, ReferralKey, Bebo, Ravelry, Google+, and Yammer? HBR recommends you take a good look at all of your social properties and make sure you're adding value for your followers on each one. Figure out why people are following you and tailor your content appropriately.

Finally, watch this space for more on gifting innovators like Giftly, which allows you to give a gift certificate for anything, whether the merchant is set up for gift certificates or not, Treatly, which is focused on fine dining, and LetsGiftIt, which takes the complexity out of group gifts. (FastCompany)

Your takeaway: The holiday selling season will be upon us before you know it. What are you doing to encourage more gifting this year, and how can you participate? Check out what these innovators are doing for inspiration.

Have a great weekend, and thanks for reading!

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