After months of waiting, Google today finally unveiled its new social project called Google+, which turns all of Googleâ€™s services into one giant social network.
The company has redesigned the top navigation bar to work across all of its services. Itâ€™s very similar to the notification bar found in Facebook, which alerts you whenever new activity occurs concerning your account.
â€œWeâ€™d like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software. We want to make Google better by including you, your relationships, and your interests,â€ wrote Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra in a blog post.
Google+ has a handful of sub-services designed to match specific social needs for each situation. Circles, which lets users divide up which of their friends / followers can see which content. Itâ€™s a feature Facebook took quite a while to develop with â€œlistsâ€.Â Also, thereâ€™s Hangouts, which works with each social Circle by creating access to a multi-person video chat. And since every respectable Facebook competitor needs one, the Sparks feature is a customized feed aggregator of content curated from across the web.
Google+ also has a mobile aspect, which is easily the portion that makes the most sense out of the entire project.
First of all, nearly every update made through Google+ lets users add location data. The company said it acknowledges the problem people have with unreliable wireless connections, which is why its built-in Instant Upload. The feature will save pictures that get cut off through faulty connections and upload them to the web later on. Finally, thereâ€™s Huddle, a group messaging experience that lets everyone inside the circle know whatâ€™s going on in real-time.
While itâ€™s clear that Google as spent a lot of effort on Google+, the company has a poor track record of success with social products. Social network Orkut, Google Buzz and Google Wave are all examples of products that ended in failure.
Others like Dave Winer are skeptical of Googleâ€™s actions to challenge Facebook by turning its search product into a social network. In a blog post titled â€œGoogle Yawnâ€œ, he writes:
â€œâ€¦All you do is make your core product heavier. The thing you wanted to kill (Facebook) doesnâ€™t go anywhere. It hardly notices what you did. The users might care to the extent that theyâ€™re annoyedâ€¦ Products like the one Google just announced are hatched at off-sites at resorts near Monterey or in the Sierra, and were designed to meet the needs of the corporation that created it. A huge scared angry corporation.â€
At least in Facebookâ€™s case, it didnâ€™t need a series of videos to explain how to use its service. Google, on the other hand, has six total videos demonstrating the various uses of Google+.
Google+ is now available on Android Market and the mobile web. The company is testing the full roll out of the service, which is only available by invitation only.
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Tags: Facebook, Google, project, social, social networking
People: Vic Gundotra
Article source: http://venturebeat.com/2011/06/28/googles-facebook-competitor/