Google recently unveiled the start of their new social network Google+, which is set to compete with Facebook and fix the awkward, broken aspects on online sharing they claim exist. It's currently only open to a limited number of Googlers during its "field trial," and if you weren't one of the lucky ones given an invitation, you can still sign up to be notified when Google+ is available in your area. You can also stay up to date on its Twitter page, GooglePlus.
Even if you aren't participating in Google+ just yet, you may have noticed the recent changes to Google's homepage, which rolled out at the same time as the introduction to Google+. It simplifies an already minimalist webpage, adding a black bar to the top and moving some links to the bottom for a cleaner feel, gearing up for Google+ integration.
The new social network's features include Circles, which lets you share selectively to your specified groups within your personal network, rather than telling the whole world what you're thinking. You can already do this in Facebook's Groups, but Google claims that the current sharing structure of other social sites is sloppy, scary and insensitive. Is it better? Some say it's the "dumbest thing about Google+" because of its tediousness, but you can be the judge of that once it's available.
Also in Google+ is Sparks, a referral system designed to feed you highly contagious content based on your interests, Hangouts, which lets you meetup with your Circles via live multi-person video chat, Instant Upload, a quick way to get your pictures and files onto the cloud from your mobile device, and Huddle, a group messaging service that aims to make group conversation on your phone a cinch.
For those with an invitation already, you can download the Google+ mobile app for Android devices from the Android Market, but it's not available in the iTunes App Store yet. If you're interested in how Google+ will work, you can see it in action in the interactive tour.
What do you think? Will Google+ prevail, or will Facebook still be a devoted Googler's social network of choice?
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