Google+ is a social networking service launched on June, 28, 2011 by search engine giant, Google. Google’s last attempts at social networking, Buzz and Wave, both fell short in their attempt to compete with rival Facebook. Google apparently learned from past mistakes and has appeared to have made significant improvements with Google+.
Currently the service is available to limited users on a trial basis. The feedback thus far has been positive and has created a social networking service that will give Facebook a little something to worry about.
Google plans to separate Google+ from rivals with its new and different features.
- Circles: The concept of “Circles” allows users to set up smaller groups with people taken from their contact list as a whole. You can have friends in more than one circle. The interface is drag and drop making the functionality very easy. Circles can be formed for friends, family, co-workers or any other group. Then you can communicate with all circles or limit posts and updates to one individual circle.
- Huddle: “Huddle” is a Google+ function for iPhone, SMS and Android devices. Huddle allows users to communicate via instant message within each circle with their handheld devices.
- Hangout: “Hangout” feature is where the user can have video chat with one individual or a group chat with all friends in a particular Circle. Via this function, the people selected for the chat will see a message that you are “hanging out.” They would then click on the link and be added to your video window. This feature is not provided by Facebook at this time.
- Sparks: “Sparks” is the concept of sharing interesting articles, videos and news feeds with members of Circles.
Go to http://plus.google.com and look around. If you can’t gain access to Google+ at this time, there is a lot of information to get you started. The project is currently working out all the kinks with a small group of testers. I am sure you have friends who are using this and Google is allowing invites to be sent out pretty regularly.
It is too soon to know how Google+ will be received and/or if it will be the next big thing in social networking — but one thing is certain, the company is attempting to turn Google into one giant social network!