Google+: Google Goes All-In With It’s New Social Network


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Today Google introduced the Google+ project, which is apparently coming to be known unofficially as Google+ (Google Plus). This is a brand-spanking new social network from Google, and appears to be surprisingly innovative, intuitive, and…well, social.

A Well-Thought-Out, Carefully Designed Social Network.

Google’s main focus is the “+Circles” feature. This allows you to take those in your life’s network and put them into different Circles as you see appropriate. You can create as many Circles as you want, and name them whatever you like.

Google aims to break down the barrier to sharing that comes with having to share everything with everybody in your network. “The problem is that today’s online services turn friendship into fast food—wrapping everyone in “friend” paper,” says Google’s Blog. The goal is to get rid of the rigidness, and replace it with a network that reflects the “subtlety and substance of real-world interactions.”

Check out the tour. It’s pretty cool. Also, their announcement has lots of good videos.

Like Being in a Pub

Beside tweaking what we commonly think of as features of social networks (Like friends and sharing– Google+ even has a news feed function called the Stream), there are other tools to make your online life a more natural extension of your real life.

One of those tools is called “+Hangout”. Hangout is a group video chat platform within Google+. It lets you make yourself available to spontaneously hang out with others. (Of course, like everything else in Google+, you can change what you do and share from circle to circle). This is supposed to make video chat more natural by enabling spontaneity. “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,” is the explanation in today’s announcement.

Being Together is Fun. Why Can Planning Things be so Awkward?

Finally, to continue with the theme of making online interactions more closely match and enable real-world relationships, Google is also including a feature called “+Huddle”. Huddle’s purpose is to act as a group (text) chat platform that makes coordinating a group of people easier. You can create a Circle for a specific purpose (meeting up for movie night), then use Huddle to get everybody on the same page without all the back and forth currently involved in most other means of communication.

Overall, this seems to be a serious entry into the Social Network arena. I personally am very excited to see how this all shakes out, because if I’ve leaned one thing about Google, it’s that when they do something big, they do it right.

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