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  (Source: businessinsider.com)
Google+ Vice President of Product Bradley Horowitz responded to Google+'s reception and ability to compete with Facebook and Twitter

Google+'s release back in late June had many Google fans and social networking enthusiasts buzzing about a potential Facebook rival. The number of members grew quickly for an invite-only service, hitting 20 million visitors by late July.

But as time rolled on, the buzz died off and many resumed their daily Facebook or Twitter-related digital lives while Google+ fell fairly silent. Reports stated that there were many accounts, but hardly enough activity.

Over the months, Google released new features such as games, a search option, Hangouts-related changes (Hangouts on your phone, Hangouts On Air, Hangouts with Extras, etc.), and finally made the social network available to everyone without an invite.

Now that there has been ample time since the social network's release to observe its position in the competition against the likes of Facebook, which is very feature-heavy, and Twitter, which prefers to keep it simple, Google+ Vice President of Product Bradley Horowitz responded to Google+'s reception and ability to compete.

"We will compete on features -- including simplicity," said Horowitz. "We are absolutely in a feature race, and I think we will run that race. If I had to say what fraction of Google+ is launched right now, we've just got the very basic foundation in place. Profiles, circle editor and stream, that's sort of the minimum viable set of features that you need to start doing interesting things."

In regards to the number of people using Google+ and the actual activity taking place on the site, Horowitz said that outside speculation "can't grasp the 'dark matter' of Google+," with dark matter referring to private sharing. This private sharing, according to Horowitz, contributes to two-thirds of all Google+ activity.

"I think in the early going there was a lot of looking for an alternative [to Facebook, Twitter, etc.]," said Horowitz. "But I think increasingly the people who are using Google+ are the people using Google. They're not looking for an alternative to anything, they're looking for a better experience on Google."

Google+ is integrated right into Gmail, and can be found in the tabs on the search engine's page. Horowitz even mentioned a Google+ button on Google Maps to send directions to friends and family.

But Horowitz said Google+ isn't just a utility that can be found within other Google services.

"That's one rendering of it," said Horowitz. "But there's a stream, there's a circle, a profile, there's Hangouts, there's games. It is both a means of communication and a destination."

Horowitz added that new features would be released to Google+ on a weekly basis through the end of the year.

Source: All Things D





"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)



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