Google tries its hands on social networking with Google+

Social networking. The one thing Google just can’t quite get a grasp on. They tried it with Google Buzz but that didn’t work out and Facebook is way ahead in the SNS scene. The big G’s next attempt is the Google+.

If you see your Google page having the gray navigation bar on top, it’s because Google is preparing you for their social networking service, Google+. Here are some of the initial features.

This is the equivalent of Facebook’s friend and group list. You can create social circles and drag contacts into each to form a group. If you maintain your contacts on Google, it will automatically populate your Circle with them. And how will it be different with Facebook? There’s the use of HTML5 making managing your circles easy and fun. Other than that it’s basically the same.

Hangout is like a group conversation. If Facebook has FB Chat, Google+ will have Hangouts but taken to another level. Aside from group chat, you can also do group video chat with up to 10 friends. Don’t worry, it won’t pepper your screen with multiple video chat windows but instead it will only focus on the person talking while the rest are in thumbnail view.

Instant Upload

Just like how you take a photo with your mobile phone and automatically upload it with Facebook. Same thing happens here although Google is saying photo tagging will also be available on this one. I’m thinking Google will be integrating your Picasa web album to your Google+ album.

Sparks is for content discovery. It’s like iTunes Genius but on a broader level. Movies, books, videos, articles, etc. it will automatically suggest things that would interest you based on what you’re currently into. It’s nothing new really but Google+ aims to make it accessible in just one location.
Google+ is basically a Facebook clone by Google with some improvements and minor innovations. Up to what extent? We don’t know yet but having access to a lot of Android phone users put Google+ at an advantage over Facebook. Still, are people going to want to maintain two social networking account?
Based on the current setup, I don’t think it’s enough to make people want to switch or sign up for an additional account just to keep in touch with friends. What do you think?

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