Google launched a new social network called Google+ to a limited group of users on Tuesday. Google+ is the search giant's all-in attempt to add a social layer onto their other products, and the executives in charge describe it as an extension to what Google's already doing. The company is emphasizing privacy in differentiating itself from the rest of the social networks.
The New York Times duly notes that the new service "happens to look very much like Facebook," but it works differently. The guiding principle behind Google+ is the notion that users want to share different kinds of things with different groups of people. A feature in Google+ called "Circles" allows users to put group their friends and share to the groups. Other unique features include "Hangouts," a group video chat feature; "Sparks," an automated feed of videos and articles custom-tailored for the user; "Huddle," a text message-powered group chat; and "Instant Upload," an automatic photo uploader for mobile phones.
Along with the launch, Google announced that development on Google+ wasn't fully finished the service would be rolled out slowly. (The service crashed in the first hour after being released.) However, those offered previews seemed positive about the product, despite Google's recent failed social products, Buzz and Wave. MG Siegler at TechCrunch wrote:
From the little that I’ve seen so far, Google+ is by far the best effort in social that Google has put out there yet. But traction will be contingent upon everyone convincing their contacts to regularly use it. Even for something with the scale of Google, that’s not the easiest thing in the world — as we’ve seen with Wave and Buzz. There will need to be compelling reasons to share on Google+ instead of Facebook and/or Twitter — or, at the very least, along with all of those other networks. The toolbar and interesting communication tools are the most compelling reasons right now, but there will need to be more of them. And fast.
You can sign up for the waiting list and read more about Google+ features here.