Google introduced a social network known as Google+ today, which aims to change the way we stay in touch with people online. The service emphasizes on how data is shared, and with whom, as well as privacy.
Google+ is organized into several five features, namely +Circles, +Sparks, +Hangouts, +Mobile and +Huddle; all targeting different social networking needs. While there’s some innovation here, Google has mostly taken good ideas from other social networks and implemented them in their own way. According to a blog post on the company’s site, Google expects to get more users involved in Google’s ecosystem:
We’d like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software. We want to make Google better by including you, your relationships, and your interests. And so begins the Google+ project:
Without further ado, here’s an overview of each of the features:
+Circles: organize your friends
+Circles is Google’s attempt to help users be more selective as to what kind of information they want to share, and with whom. By allowing to sort friends into different "circles", they can then assign different data to each circle. That way, the information shared with family and close friends can be different from the one you share with your gym partners.
From close family to foodies, we found that people already use real-life circles to express themselves, and to share with precisely the right folks.
+Sparks: chat with like-minded people about the stuff you care about
+Sparks are like simplified message board threads, allowing users to chat about a topic with like-minded friends. Google’s vast prominence on the web will give users access to a feed of interesting things to talk about, and depending on interests users set, it will invite them into new and exciting conversations. Users can also, of course, create their own threads and have like-minded people read and comment on them.
+Hangouts: effortless video conferencing
What if you’re just done with your very important presentation and have 5 minutes to spare? With +Hangouts, you’ll be able to easily start multi-person video chats. Once you’re chatting with one person, a notification will be sent out to all your other friends (or presumably those part of the right +Circle, see above), allowing them to join in and be part of the chat if they want to.
Just think: when you walk into the pub or step onto your front porch, you’re in fact signaling to everyone around, “Hey, I’ve got some time, so feel free to stop by." Further, it’s this unspoken understanding that puts people at ease, and encourages conversation.
+Mobile: a mobile client for media uploads
Aside from chatting with real time, Google+ will also allow users to share content, much like they do on Facebook today. Thanks to this service’s Mobile App, available now on the Android Market and soon on the iOS App Store, allows pictures and video to be shared and location-tagged, using the phone hardware’s GPS technology.
+Huddle: group messaging on the go
Also built into Google+’s mobile App, +Huddle, a group messaging service. While it’s still unclear how this service will work, it will allow users to have group text chats with their friends on the go. Google is framing this feature as a replacement for SMS.
Phone calls and text messages can work in a pinch, but they’re not quite right for getting the gang together. So Google+ includes Huddle, a group messaging experience that lets everyone inside the circle know what’s going on, right this second.
Google is currently allowing a limited number of users access the service. If you’re looking for an invite, check Google+’s official website.
(for more tidbits, check out Google’s official blog post)