After a series of failed attempts to challenge Faceebook with social networking services like Google Buzz, Orkut and Google Wave, the search engine giant has come up with yet another new social networking service called 'the Google+ project.'

A Facebook look-a-like, Google+ lets users share photos, comments, links, updates and messages. It also adds the company's maps and images into the service. Although the service is available to a selected group of Google users, they will be able to invite others very soon. Google claims that the new service will be helpful for sharing within specific groups like colleagues, roommates or hiking friends, but not with all of one's friends or the entire Web. Google+ also integrates group text messaging and video chat.

Google is hoping to break new ground with four key features that Google+ brings in.

Circles

This functionality allows users to place their friends into selected groups. This way, they can share different types of content with targeted groups of friends. From close family to foodies, we found that people already use real-life circles to express themselves, and to share with precisely the right folks. So we did the only thing that made sense: we brought Circles to software, Google said in a press release.

Sparks

It is a feature that helps users connect with other users on the network with common interests. We noticed, however, that it's still too hard to find and share the things we care about-not without lots of work, and lots of noise. So, we built an online sharing engine called Sparks, Google said. Sparks delivers content to users from across the Internet in over 40 languages.

Hangouts

Hangout is a feature that allows live multi-user video conferencing. It lets users drop in and out of ongoing group conversations. By combining the casual meet up with live multi-person video, Hangouts lets you stop by when you're free, and spend time with your Circles. Face-to-face-to-face, Google said.

Huddle

Huddle is a group instant messaging service that allows users inside a circle know what's going on. Phone calls and text messages can work in a pinch, but they're not quite right for getting the gang together. So Google+ includes Huddle, the company said.

Other social networking tools make selective sharing within small groups difficult, Vic Gundotra, senior vice president of engineering at Google, said. Online sharing needs a serious re-think, so it's time we got started.

However, according to analysts, it would not be easy for Google to attract people's attention away from Facebook to its new kid. Facebook now claims to have more than 500 million users around the globe.

People have their social circles on Facebook - asking them to create another social circle is challenging, the Associated Press quoted Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst with research firm eMarketer, as saying.

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