Google adds some friends, launches Google+

Google has launched a new service, Google+, that it hopes will help it compete more effectively against Facebook.

Google is pretty good at the art of reinvention. As soon as it shuts down a few platforms that are under performing (this week Google Health and Google PowerMeter RIP), a new one emerges.

The latest creation is Google’s bold attempt to take on Facebook with Google+, currently available via invitation only.

The initial look and feel is very Facebook but it has added some Google-esque staples for increased functionality.

According to the Google blog the new platform aims to more closely mimic “the subtlety and substance of real-world interactions”. It also seeks to rectify the “awkwardness” of online sharing.

“We’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.”

In a key differentiator Google is promising more user control of the social networking experience, "we realise, however, that Google+ is a different kind of project, requiring a different kind of focus-on you. That's why we're giving you more ways to stay private or go public; more meaningful choices around your friends and your data."

The network has a few core features which set it apart:

Circles: share what matters, with the people who matter most
A tool that allows you to create sub groups from your network to share specific information with ie, a work circle, family circle etc.

Sparks: strike up a conversation, about pretty much anything
An online sharing engine that allows you to plug in your areas of interest and delivers a feed of “highly contagious” content from across the Internet. The feed can be on any topic you want, in over 40 languages and delivered in video and text which can then be shared with selected ‘circles’ of friends.

Hangouts: stop by and say hello, face-to-face-to-face
Like Skype but open to all. “We wanted to make on-screen gatherings fun, fluid and serendipitous, so we created Hangouts.” This feature combines, the idea of a casual meetup with live multi-person video.

Mobile: share what’s around, right now, without any hassle
Integrates mobile features such as GPS , MMS and TXT into your network.

Location, location, location
Google+ allows you to add your location to every post. (Or not)

Instant Upload
Allows you to instantly upload all your mobile pics. Google+ adds your photos to a private album in the cloud. This way they're always available across your devices—ready to share as you see fit.

A group messaging experience that lets everyone inside the circle know what's going on in real time.

Google+ is available on Android Market and the mobile web, and it’s coming soon to the iTunes App Store.


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