Google takes aim at Facebook with Google+

By on June 29, 2011, 8:00 AM

Google hasn't had much luck with its social networking efforts in the past, but the company is ready to give it another go with an ambitious project that brings together some good ideas from the reigning king of social networks with its own. The service, dubbed Google+, will initially be available only to a limited number of users as part of a "field trial."

The site bears a definite resemblance to Facebook, with streaming feeds where users can share and discuss status updates, photos and links. But Google hopes to differentiate itself by more closely mimicking the way we organize our friends in real life, which is why its new service is designed for sharing with small groups -- like colleagues, family members or close buddies -- instead of with all of a user's friends or the entire web.

It's worth noting that Facebook offers similar functionality within its revamped Groups feature, launched in October 2010 apparently with knowledge of Google's plans, but so far it doesn't seem to have taken off.

There are five basic components to Google+: Circles, Sparks, Hangouts, Instant Uploads and Huddle. The first is Google+'s method of managing friends, where you can create different circles of contacts and add people to them. When you add people to circles in Google+, they'll see that you've connected with them, but they won't see which circle you've put them in. When posting something, Google+ allows you to select which circles can see the content, and conversely when viewing your stream you can filter by circles to cut out the noise and focus on what you are interested in.

Sparks lets you subscribe to specific interest of yours -- "gaming" or "football", for example -- and then goes out and gathers relevant content from all over the web to give you a constantly updated feed.

Hangouts is perhaps the most interesting of the bunch and puts applications like Skype on notice. Basically it allows live video conversations with up to 10 friends at once. You can click on the Hangout button and notify members of a certain group that you are available and ready to talk, creating spontaneous meetings with friends or colleagues. The main video box shows the person who's speaking the loudest at any given time.

Meanwhile, on the mobile front, Huddle will enable group chatting among with your Google+ peers (similar to Beluga, which Facebook acquired in March) and Instant Uploads automatically uploads photos snapped with your mobile device to an online storage spot on Google+. You can watch 10 more videos explaining Google+ here.




User Comments: 12

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treeski treeski said:

I tried to sign up through my phone...

"You are not signed up for Google+ yet.

Please go to desktop to sign up."

Zilpha Zilpha said:

Enough already.

Guest said:

mmm...the thing here is that facebook took the right moment and the ppl wont let it go, just like google its the best to make web searchs and other stuff, they cant steal that....but they have good ideas...and in some time another compa˝y or group will challenge facebook and in the right moment they will take all the new ideas to make something better....that means that 1.-facebook can take this new ideas and screw google 2.-the rival of facebook(in the future) will use the same ideas and the underrated ones maybe from google will be relevant.

example1013 said:

It seems like Google is going to have a good feature set. Now the trick is prying people away from Facebook.

example1013 said:

They're going to need a very large crowbar.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Guest said:

mmm...the thing here is that facebook took the right moment and the ppl wont let it go, just like google its the best to make web searchs and other stuff, they cant steal that....but they have good ideas...and in some time another compa˝y or group will challenge facebook and in the right moment they will take all the new ideas to make something better....that means that 1.-facebook can take this new ideas and screw google 2.-the rival of facebook(in the future) will use the same ideas and the underrated ones maybe from google will be relevant.

I think the main reason FB became so popular is that it enabled people that did not grow up with the internet to regain contact with people that they lost track of. I don't think that kids graduating high school today will have the same problem.

When I graduated HS in 1994, 99% of the people did not have cell phones or probably e-mail addresses, or anything like this. The only way to keep in touch with them would be to call their mom's house and see if they can give you an updated address or land line number to find them.

Now everybody has people's e-mail addresses, cell phone numbers which are usually able to ported to another carrier, PM accounts, blogs, etc. People going to high school now don't need FB as much as those my age, for example. Eventually FB will wane, much like My Space did.

Eventually most of these things will be integrated into various OS's, etc, and enough people will leave enough trails of themselves on the web, that a simple Google search will allow you to find them.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Gwailo said;

Eventually FB will wane, much like My Space did.

I'm not so sure gwailo, I think people are so enamored with themselves, and extending their 15 minutes of fame, I think there will always be a myspace/Facebook. Look at how many people either tweet or follow tweets. A lot of people seem to feel the need to let the world know that they just used the facilities ......and even more that feel the need to know about it.

....I'm off to weep openly for humanity.

example1013 said:

red1776 said:

Gwailo said;

Eventually FB will wane, much like My Space did.

I'm not so sure gwailo, I think people are so enamored with themselves, and extending their 15 minutes of fame, I think there will always be a myspace/Facebook. Look at how many people either tweet or follow tweets. A lot of people seem to feel the need to let the world know that they just used the facilities ......and even more that feel the need to know about it.

....I'm off to weep openly for humanity.

I will admit that I have a twitter, but I only use it to twit at the staff of another site I go to when it's borked.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

red1776 said:

Gwailo said;

Eventually FB will wane, much like My Space did.

I'm not so sure gwailo, I think people are so enamored with themselves, and extending their 15 minutes of fame, I think there will always be a myspace/Facebook. Look at how many people either tweet or follow tweets. A lot of people seem to feel the need to let the world know that they just used the facilities ......and even more that feel the need to know about it.

....I'm off to weep openly for humanity.

Oh, I'm sure that there will always be such forums, but I'm not sure if the entity Facebook will be #1 anymore. I think that sooner or later enough dirt is going to come out about Facebook's privacy issues and its current financial dealings that it will probably fall to some degree.

I could always be wrong, but I'm basing this on AOL, MySpace, and all the other similar projects that existed in the past and now are a faded memory.

In any case, we get to live in the formative years of this medium, something people in 50 years will not get to experience. Anything and everything can happen.

Guest said:

Google....Everyone is one Facebook.... That is why we use it...No one or very few will try your then abandon it....I don't care how cool it is...I wish Google would just embrace Facebook or but it out....I hate how Google products don't work well or not at all with Facebook...Like their picasa picture service.

Guest said:

GoogleFail

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Doesn't sound too appealing to me, too many different features scattered around vs. a single solid killer app to gain mass adoption. Then again, you can't discard Google's efforts just like that.

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