The reigning social network king Facebook will have another reason to keep Google in their sights. The online search giant has introduced its latest attempt to step back into the social network scene with Google+.
Google's concept of social network takes a different approach and appears to be on the right track according to bloggers. Rather than connecting with all of your friends all the time, the new website will allow users to create groups or Circles allowing them to communicate only with desired types of people at desired times. Users will be more encouraged to share, knowing that not all of their friends will be able to view through improved privacy control. Through Circles, users can create separate groups and categorize their friends by hobbies, clubs/organizations, work, or interests.
The new interaction is more natural and works to correct the flaws of Facebook's privacy options. Google gains strength from Facebook's weaknesses by giving users more flexibility and facilitate privacy controls. According to Google's official blog posting, the blogger hinted at Facebook's style of social network as being 'sloppy, scary, and insensitive' to their users. Google's vision is to rectify those flaws and provide a sensitive and organized realm of social networking.
The Google+ customizations are flexible, giving users freedom to share their location, content , and friends within Circles. Setting up Circles require simpler steps and less click with simple drag and drop options. The potential to integrate all of Google's website services such as Gmail, Picasa, YouTube, and Google Maps offer major advantages for Google+. A platform can be setup where functions can be consistent throughout the user's Google+ experience.
Google+ plans to start with basic features such as sharing photos, messaging, and connecting users. On top of that, some of the unique features come into play such as Streams, Sparks, Hangouts, and +1.
Streams: The feature will allow news feeds to come into your account and allow users to select which of their Circle of friends can view the information. This prevents blasting out to all your friends, giving you full control of who can view. The +1 function is also integrated in acting like a Facebook 'Like.'
Sparks: Utilizing Google's greatest strength, users can do online searches and link them to share with Circle of friends. The Sparks function brings related content to your account, allowing you to share.
Hangouts: One of the coolest features on Google+, Hangouts allow users to hold video chats with up to 10 friends. The video chatting shows all users at the same time and places the loudest speaker in the center of the screen.
Google+ is steering in the right directions, but many features are still needed to separate this social network from the dominant Facebook. One area could be online search in social community networks. Their challenge is winning away loyal Facebook users by filling a void in their social network experience. Facebook does not appear to be sweating, but will no doubt keep an eye on a potential threat in the near future.
Google+ is currently in beta version and will be made public in the coming months. Users can only download the Android app and be signed on by invitation only.