google+Misconceptions about Google+ could prevent people from taking advantage of a social networking platform that offers unique features and benefits. If you give up on Google+ before you give it a chance, you have probably fallen victim to these four common misconceptions.

Google+ is too difficult for the average person to use. 

Google+ has a lot of advanced features that give it a steeper learning curve than most social media sites. But that doesn't mean it's for tech geeks only. Anyone can learn how to use Google+ within minutes.

If you have a hard time understanding how Google+ works, then you can turn to the countless video lessons online. Many of them offer step-by-step directions that make Google+ easy for anyone.

Google+ is just a slightly different form of Facebook.

Google+ and Facebook have a lot in common, but they also have a lot of differences. Some of the biggest differences include:

  • How you interact with people.

On Google+, you can decide to share information with certain circles of friends and colleagues. A message that goes out to your buddies about tonight's party doesn't go to your boss, too.

  • Chatting features

Google+ allows video chat. Facebook also has a text chatting feature. Google+ also allows group chats whereas Facebook takes a one-on-one approach.

  • Filtering and finding content

Google+ has a feature called "sparks" that will display updates on topics that interest you. Facebook gives you a steady stream of information from your friends, but it doesn't filter information in any meaningful way.

Google+ was dead before it started.

Google+ isn't the first social networking site that Google tried to create. Remember Google Buzz? It didn't even last a full year.

Google's unsuccessful history with social media sites caused a lot of people to proclaim Google+ dead before it even got started. That's worse than a misconception. It's uninformed and unfair.

The truth is that Google+ is thriving. As of January, Google+ had over 343 million active accounts, making it the second-most popular social media site in the world (sorry, Twitter). That's nowhere near Facebook's 693 million active users, but it shows tremendous growth since its release less than a year ago. Google Plus for business continues to be a powerful traffic generator.

Google+ just doesn't matter.

Chances are that Google+ has already changed the way that you use the Internet, even if you don't have an account. What else would you expect from a successful social media platform operated by one of the world's most successful tech companies?

Let's put it this way: if you use the Google search engine, then you use Google+. When you search for a restaurant, and the results page gives you a picture of the restaurant, its location on Google Maps, where you can find a menu, and reviews, that's Google+ at work.

Google+ is also reshaping the way that websites get ranked. Bloggers with Google+ accounts can create bios that help them establish authority. The more authority they have, the higher their content gets ranked.

Do you have any questions about Google+? Ask away. Someone will have an honest answer for you!

(image: Google+ confusion / shutterstock)