Daria, you are kind of the perfect example of what the platform could do for creatives! And how cool was it that a few years later, you and I were having breakfast with Ron Garan, the astronaut, in Austin, Texas? G+ made so many good connections possible.
I think G+'s big advantage was they helped people to connect over passions much better than Facebook. FB always seemed (and mostly still is) about friends and family. But, on FB, you're still kinda "stuck" with friends from your high school that you may or may not like anymore, and who most assuredly do not share whatever passions you develop later in life.
G+ was always, to me, a very positive place. Compare that with all the energy-vampires on Facebook. I don't need that in my life. I think it's much more healthy for creative people to be around other positive, giving souls.
I was always excited to open my G+ feed and see what fresh goodies had been served up by people I followed. It's the total opposite of Facebook. I think staring at your FB feed is the exact same as staring into the refrigerator when you're not even hungry.
But yeah, those Google Hangouts, what a killer feature. I loved doing those live shows and meeting all kinds of new photographers and stuff. That tech on top of G+ was a real game-changer!
Here's one of those hangouts we did that @Gino was referring to above with Kim Dotcom and lots of other photographers at