Google launched its social networking service called the Google+ in its latest attempt to break into the social networking realm. And despite the failure of previous ventures Google Buzz and Wave, there's a growing belief that the company may finally have figured out how to go social.
Google+ contains the best of Facebook: sharing and discussing status updates, photos and links, but avoids the worst: It allows you to send different updates to discreet groups, instead of worrying about sharing everything to your 10,000 contacts or everyone on the Web.
Here are six ways Google+ could be a Facebook killer.
+Circles: Google+ is structured similarly to Facebook, where everything is built around profile pictures and newsfeeds. But with Google+, a user's friends and contacts are grouped into specified circles they create, rather than having all friends lumped into one common place.
The refined clustering with Google+ lets users show only what they want to show to different groups, rather than heaving to reveal all, to all. The idea of sharing things with only a select amount of people leads to possible advantage the company has over Facebook: privacy.
+Hangouts: Although Google+ has been billed as a Facebook killer, Hangouts seems to be targeting the market currently occupied by Microsoft's latest purchase, Skype. The feature allows users to pull groups together for a simultaneous video chat. It is a feature that Facebook doesn't currently offer and could likely be a big draw for teenagers to socialize with friends.
Whether it's inside a pub or on a front porch, human beings have always enjoyed hanging out. By combining the casual meetup with live multi-person video, Hangouts lets you stop by when you're free, and spend time with your Circles, Google said.
+Sparks: Sparks seems to be Google's answer to Twitter. Sparks is for those who use social media to consume news. Sparks pulls in stories, videos and other cool content relating to your specific interest. According to Google, the content in Sparks stream is different from the results you'd get if you put the same term into the search engine.
+Huddle: is a real-time, group-messaging feature that helps coordinate with friends and family to catch up with everyone's ever-changing plans. Phone calls and text messages can work in a pinch, but they're not quite right for getting the gang together, says Google.
Vertical integration: the company has created a group called the Data Liberation Front, which is supposed to make accessing data from Google products even easier. Previously, moving large amounts of data around a user's apps was painfully slow. But with Google+, the entire process has been streamlined.
PC World reports, clicking on the cog in the upper right hand corner and selecting Google+ settings from the social network's homepage brings you to a revamped Google Accounts page. From there, you can select the Data Liberation tab. And with just a few clicks you can download data from your Picasa Web Albums, Google profile, Google+ stream, Buzz and contacts.
Combined Packaging: Google+ effectively combines the Facebook and Twitter social media programs into one, allowing users to have friends they can share with, and specific groups of friends they can cluster in circles, but they can also follow others, including celebrities or companies, like they can on Twitter.