Google Making its Biggest Effort Yet?

by Mark Stevens on 1 July 2011

Posted in: Discussion

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After trying multiple times, Google has introduced another attempt to take on Facebook and dominate the social networking scene.   The biggest question is whether this new product will attract enough users to be competitive.

On Tuesday, Google launched its latest social networking service called The Google+ Project.  Many are saying that this application looks just like Facebook.  I’d love to try the product, but the invite system is currently closed, so I’ll have to wait (Kate’s got one, maybe she’ll comment!).

So I’m commenting from my armchair.

Although Google+, like Facebook, allows you to  share personal information, post your status and post pictures and links, Google+ claims to be unique in one major way.   The execs at Google are hoping that this feature is intriguing enough to attract users to their flashy new product.

What is it?  Google+ is designed for sharing with groups.

The product offers group text messaging called ‘GroupMe’ and a group video chat referred to as ‘Hangouts’.  The Hangout sounds pretty cool: while a video chat is underway, any group member can join in at anytime.  Hmmm…video chat, wonder what Skype thinks of all that?

There’s also a section called ‘Sparks’ that allows you to link to articles and videos from the Internet and share them with others.

A Google+ mobile app is also offered for Android phones and iPhones. With this app, people can chat in groups using a component called ‘Huddle’.  Photos and videos taken with mobile phones are also spontaneously uploaded to a private album, letting Google+ users quickly see them and post them from their own phones.

Oh, and I couldn’t possibly forget the Google+ 1 button (which has been around for a little bit), yep, it’s just like the Facebook ‘Like’ button or the Twitter ‘Tweet’ button.  However, this button is intended to be more social and increase Google’s presence on the Web.  You will also notice that the +1 button has been added to Google searches to help you and your friends find and share the things you love.

So, how’s all this going to be set in motion?  Google+ users start by choosing their friends from their Gmail contacts. They will be able to drag and drop names into different groups, or also known as ‘Circles’, and give their Circles titles, like “family” or “leads group.”  They can then choose to share with any of these groups or with all of their friends.  Not bad.

Historically, entering the realm of social networking  has been one of Google’s principal objectives.  However, despite the big release they do emphasize that the project will take time to develop and mature.  And we can’t forget what happened with Google Wave….

What do you think?  Will it become the next Facebook, or will it be Google’s next failed attempt at social networking.  Feel free to comment.



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