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  (Source: businessinsider.com)
Google+ is available on the Android Market and the mobile web starting today, and will be available on the App Store soon

Since Facebook's launch in 2004, it has established itself as an unrivaled social networking superpower. No one has been able to match its broad audience and number of features, but now, Google will give it a shot with a new project called Google+.

Google made the argument that existing online interactions are awkward and needs a "fix." For instance, in current instant messaging systems, someone may seem available on the list, but when you actually message them and they don't respond, you're not sure if they're away or not interested. Also, Google made mention that users mainly want to connect with certain people at certain times, but current social networking systems put everything out there at once and makes everything you say a "public performance."

To remedy these issues, Google has created Google+ which offers four key features that were created specifically for the user: Circles, Sparks, Hangouts, and Mobile. 

Circles allow users to create multiple categories of family and friends, each within their separate circle. For instance, one circle can be the family circle, another can be best friends, another can be the basketball team you play on, and so on. This allows the user to share what they want with whom they want instead of sharing everything across the board. 

Sparks is an online sharing engine that allows users in certain circles to share information based on their interests. For instance, if you have a circle of friends that are into comic books, Sparks provides relevant articles, videos and photos that give you and your circle of comic book-loving friends something to discuss and enjoy together. It allows you to "spark" a conversation. It also filters and delivers the most "contagious" content on the web, so the need for time-consuming searches is eliminated. 

Hangouts is Google+'s version of instant chat, but is a face-to-face chat instead. Google claims that instant messaging is too intrusive, and that it always disrupts someone in the middle of something. But with Hangouts, users can partake in casual meet-ups in a live multi-person video whenever they have some free time, which lets other users know that you're really there (not idle) and interested in hanging out. 

Mobile is aimed to allow users to communicate on the move. Features offered in Google+'s mobile realm are ways of marking your current location, an "Instant Upload" feature that stores photos from your phone in the cloud and allows you to decide if you want to share them on the web, and a "Huddle" feature that makes it easy for a user to use group messaging to get a group of friends together or exchange information. 

Google+ was built from the ground up to revolve around the user, and to revolutionize the social networking experience by making it more similar to how we actually communicate. Google is only calling it a project for now, and while it seems interesting enough, only time will tell if it can stand up to Facebook's level.

For instance, Facebook already has some of the features offered above, such as Facebook's Lists and Groups that acts much like Google+'s Circles. Yet Google+'s Circles offers an easy drag and drop feature that may prevail over Facebook's system. In addition, Facebook has pages of interest that users can "like" and share information regarding that topic on that page, but Facebook's pages can have thousands of users that you do not know associated with that interest page, where Google+'s Sparks allows topics to be discussed among you and your circle alone.

Of course, both networking systems have a mobile setup and video chats. They also look very much alike, according to the screenshot Business Insider provided after being invited to the new field trial. 

Google+ is available on the Android Market and the mobile web starting today, and will be available on the App Store soon. Right now, Google is conducting a field trial (hence why its called a project right now) where users can use the new features and let Google know what they think and what needs to be changed.



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RE: Google+?
By torpor on 6/29/2011 1:03:25 PM , Rating: 2
Considering all the privacy nonsense Facebook has been up to over the past few years, I would actually bet that people have been looking for a place to go.

The idea of circles is fantastic. There are parts of my online life I would not want a nosy potential employer to see, for example. (like political speech or family bickering). If I have the ability to control what is exposed where and to whom, then I'm much more likely to join.

I don't have a facebook page today for that very reason. If you knew my real name, you wouldn't find me in a google search.

This, however, I could probably deal with.

Tell you what. Be the first over there, draw your circle of friends/family in by explaining how much better than Facebook this can be, and be the solution to your problem.


RE: Google+?
By kleinma on 6/29/2011 1:24:25 PM , Rating: 4
Yeah, they should leave facebook due to privacy concerns and run to the company who's CEO said

"If You Have Something You Don't Want Anyone To Know, Maybe You Shouldn't Be Doing It"

You can tell google cares tons about your privacy. They are anti privacy. They make their money based on knowing as much information about you as possible.


RE: Google+?
By Samus on 6/29/2011 1:49:03 PM , Rating: 2
I looks like facebook, which is good (opposed to looking like MySpace...) but the circles thing adds a lot of privacy, which I like.

I haven't had a Facebook account for many years for privacy reasons.


RE: Google+?
By bplewis24 on 6/29/2011 2:01:52 PM , Rating: 1
Cool story bro


RE: Google+?
By theapparition on 6/29/2011 3:28:56 PM , Rating: 4
I'll take Google a million times over Zuckerberg & Co when it comes to privacy.

You have one quote from a Google CEO. Zuckerberg has made hundreds of anti-privacy remarks, along with company policy that automatically switch privacy settings when Facebook does an "upgrade". Not to mention, Facebooks policy on uploaded pictures is that they now are Facebook property. That's right, uploaded pictures are no longer yours. How about the story where the guy on Facebook got hit with an ad about singles in his area looking for dates, with a picture of his wife. No, she wasn't looking, just that Facebook took her uploaded pictures and sold them.

Good job being completely clueless. If you give even the slightest damn about privacy, you can't in a million years defend Facebook.


RE: Google+?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/29/2011 5:37:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'll take Google a million times over Zuckerberg & Co when it comes to privacy.


It's a social site, NOT your own personal private server. Just saying. Zuckerberg doesn't think privacy is a huge concern on a social network, where the point is to be sociable with others. Obviously many millions of users feel the same way.

This isn't a right or wrong issue, and you are trying to make it one. If you don't agree with Zuckberg's philosophy for how HIS business is ran, fine, you don't have to use it. But this attitude that Facebook is some personal privacy server reserved just for you isn't remotely realistic.

The assertion that Googles social network, which we know NO details of, will be any better or more "private" is completely unfounded.


RE: Google+?
By theapparition on 6/29/11, Rating: 0
RE: Google+?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/29/2011 6:13:19 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
And many millions voted for Obama. Just because people are dumb, doesn't mean that mass acceptance legitimizes an issue.


That's a terrible analogy. You don't have to use Facebook, obviously those tho didn't vote for Obama have to put up with him as President regardless.

quote:
I only deal with Facebook because I have to. It'll be gone in a hearbeat if Google's lives up.


You don't "have to". Nobody does. You're coming off like a hypocrite.


RE: Google+?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/29/2011 3:58:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Considering all the privacy nonsense Facebook has been up to over the past few years, I would actually bet that people have been looking for a place to go.


Google makes more money off ad space sales than Facebook. If you think Facebook violates your privacy, you probably aren't going to be much happier with this.


RE: Google+?
By kleinma on 6/29/2011 4:00:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Google makes more money off ad space sales than Facebook


Not according to daily tech it doesn't...

http://www.dailytech.com/Facebook+Beats+GoogleYaho...


RE: Google+?
By torpor on 6/29/2011 4:59:41 PM , Rating: 2
Facebook has been a lot nastier about switching things in the middle of the night (so to speak) to get rid of your "privacy settings", and making it difficult/confusing to reassert them.

I will say, when you tell google NO, it does seem to obey. Whether it's in bot instructions or search preferences or (in the case of Android) whether or not to have location-sensing on.

I can't say that about Facebook.

No one will ever call Google an extension of the EFF, but when compared to Facebook, it looks pretty good.


RE: Google+?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/29/2011 5:29:11 PM , Rating: 2
I've never had Facebook change my privacy settings or do anything "nasty". Jesus the paranoia about Facebook on Daily Tech is so extreme sometimes. It's a social site, not your own personal private server.


RE: Google+?
By theapparition on 6/29/2011 5:46:51 PM , Rating: 2
Facebook changed privacy settings for over three-quarters of thier users. The ones that weren't changed, were the people who had thier settings most open and corresponded to the default Facebook settings.

It is quite possible that your settings were never changed, but most people DID get affected.


RE: Google+?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/29/2011 7:28:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Facebook changed privacy settings for over three-quarters of thier users.


Yes and let me tell you, taking two seconds to click a few icons to re-enable your previous settings was just MURDEROUS!!


RE: Google+?
By croc on 6/29/2011 10:49:37 PM , Rating: 1
"I've never had Facebook change my privacy settings or do anything "nasty" that I know about. There, fixed your sentence... I'd never try to change your mind, not if you are happy being one of Zuckerberg's 'dumb fucks'...


RE: Google+?
By jeepga on 6/29/2011 6:09:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The idea of circles is fantastic. There are parts of my online life I would not want a nosy potential employer to see, for example.


The underpinnings of this are already in Facebook. I can assign my friends into lists. You can then restrict wall posts, photos, et al. by lists or even individuals. Obviously, it's no where near as robust as what Google wants to do. But, I wouldn't be surprised if Facebook doesn't turn around and improve upon lists to accomplish the same goals.

I would love this, because I'm on Facebook as a way to stay in-touch with family and old co-workers.


“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads














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