Google+ is the Social Network We’ve All Been Looking For [Video]

It’s finally here, folks. Google Buzz wasn’t the social juggernaut we were all looking for, and Google Wave has already fallen flat on its face. The former was never meant to be a full-on social networking service, and I already described the eventual fate of the latter in just a few short words.

Despite their failing efforts before, Google continued working on something bigger behind the scenes, a weapon whose sole purpose is to take Facebook down from their pedestal as king of all social networking. After countless leaks of a rumored “Google Circles” and countless “debunks” and denials, Google has introduced Google+, a social network that focuses on shared experiences more than anything. Let’s take a look at what we’re getting.

+Circles

It all starts with the +You option, a menu that’s comprised of several sub-options. +Circles allows you to create and maintain a specific circle of friends. If you want to group all of your paintballing buddies into one circle, you can do just that. If you only want a circle of your family members, that’s your right to do. More than just grouping your friends into a category, Circles allows you to carry out conversations and share thoughts with those people so the folks on the rest of your friends list won’t see it.

Instead of sharing that sensitive piece of information about your relationship to anyone who you call a “friend”, you can show it only to those who you know you can trust. It sounds like group messaging to me, but +Circles sounds more like an ongoing, breathing social network within a social network.

+Sparks

It’s no longer enough to talk about your interests. No, the rich experience of sharing lies within the ability to share not only what you know, but what you don’t know. The ability to explore more from certain topics with certain Circles will keep conversations fresh and exciting, from the sounds of things. Google allows you to list anything you want – from as broad a spectrum of “smartphones” right down to a very specific topic such as “ HTC EVO 3D” – and they’ll feed you with relevant and interesting video, images and web pages from around the web for you and your friends to talk about.

+Hangouts

Let people know that you’re willing and wanting to talk to them, and they can come and hang out with you at their convenience. It’s all driven by Google’s video calling technology, likely from the same branch that now powers Gtalk’s video calling. You and multiple friends within circles can engage in video calling and you don’t necessarily have to invite them. Just say you’re willing to hang out and they’ll come if they are, as well.

+Mobile

And you had to guess Google was going to let you take all of this fun on the road. They’ve created Google+ to interface with mobile. Considering people actually move around and might not have an extra hand or two to sit down and open a laptop, it’s a sensible move. Sure, there are other social networks with mobile applications, but Google+ users every little bit of a mobile device to enhance the experience.

  • Location: Add your location to every post, if you want. Simple, no?
  • Instant Uploading: That video or picture you take can be automatically uploaded to the cloud with your permission. It’s stored in a private folder until you decide what you want to do with them. This makes it so that you don’t have to remember to upload every single picture and it keeps everything in one location no matter what device you’re on.
  • Huddles: Instant group messaging. Send a blast message to everyone in a specific circle without having to specify who you want to send it to. Again, glorified group messaging but Google makes it easy and more personal.

All of that and everything before it is available to you on the go.

Will it work?

We’ve been expecting Google to take on Facebook in the social space for quite some time. The plot thickened when it was discovered that Facebook would be trying to make search through social networking a reality, something that could help them leapfrog Google to become the most used website on the internet. While Facebook has yet to confirm these plans, Google’s already come from the other side of the road and introduced social to their already-monstrous search platform.

Google’s angle here is to make your social network more personal to you. On Facebook, you may have anywhere from 10 to thousands of friends. Anything you post as a status is posted to all of them, not just certain ones. And if you only want certain people to see certain statuses, you either delete them or just message them. Google+ treats social networking how you treat your real social life – you talk to certain people about certain things. It’s genius, in my opinion.

And Google already has a nice platform to launch this on. EVERYONE uses Google, and hundreds of millions of people are using Android. Android is poised to become the top operating system in the world in just a few short years. The ability to fully integrate a social networking platform into their hot mobile product is a huge advantage. Facebook has apps, sure, but the sort of integration we’re likely to see down the line from Google will make Facebook wish they’d brought that Facebook phone out.

Google’s not going to stop on Android. They’ve already got Google+ in the works for iOS, and we’re sure they wouldn’t mind bringing it to other popular platforms before too long. The way I see it, Google has a leg up on Facebook in terms of sheer online capital. They have the users, they have the platforms, and they have the resources to leapfrog Facebook in the social networking space, ultimately solidifying their spot as the biggest web technology company in the world should Google+ prove successful.

Will it dethrone Facebook and shove them into irrelevance just as Facebook did MySpace? Not likely. Not in the near future, anyway. But that’s OK, because I see Google+ more as an alternative than a replacement and it’s a fresh change of pace from the norm as every other platform from here to Timbuktu tries to emulate Facebook down to the very “T”. I like what Google’s done here and look forward to trying it out for myself.

How can I get in on the action?

The service is available today on the web and on the Android market, but is invite only for the time being. Head here to request an invite. More information and videos can be had at Google.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=727691961 Paul Westfall

    I’m down! I’ve been waiting for Google to really shine out and do something great again! Let’s GO! :)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MPR3KPSSSXL2ZBPL7OA4V4B62U DanielG

    Google keeps putting out new things that I want and have to wait to get invited to.  All this waiting is killing me

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_24DC7DJIVFB367K5P2H6Y2Z7NI Shadow B

      Daniel, did you go to the Google+ page and click the “keep me posted” button?  Hopefully they’ll keep sending out rolling invites to the private beta to those people who signed up for that. 

      • Jörg Hinrichsen

        Does anybody know how long it takes, before they got invited by google after they sign up for it? o_O It’s just killing me too! The waiting and waiting! Arrgh! >o<

  • TheCaprican

    I can’t wait to drop facebook. It’s about time!

    INVITE please!!!!

    • ddblkhk

      Agreed. Done with FB.  I think this might actually be another GMail-like success story if people actually start getting on board.

  • Guest

    The most important thing about this is that it is going to force Facebook to respond.  I need a way to split up my video game friends, my college friends, my old high school friends, and my work colleagues.  Not everything I say I want to share with everyone.

    I don’t care if this takes over Facebook, Google isn’t the best corporate citizen in my book either, but at least competition will force innovation from both companies.

    • http://twitter.com/jigglesone Francisco Cordova

      I definitely agree. I sometimes have to keep a PG rating on my posts when it comes to FB. Everyone from co-workers to highly religious peeps are on my FB so I can’t really convey everything that comes to mind for fear of making my certain people uncomfortable or offended. But when it comes to Twitter I’m a straight sailor son! No holes barred cause all my close friends & family members are on my Twitter page. This “circles” aspect would be a Godsend for me & i’m sure many people out there. Viva La Google! BTW..a big shoutout to Quentyn for a great and thoroughly detailed article! (BIG thumbs up) :D 

      • Chad Cardwell

        Yep, like smartypants4 said, you can create lists in your FB friends settings (that are only visible to you), and then when you share something (status update, photo, whatever), you can choose to omit certain lists of friends from seeing it… I’m still psyched to try out Google+ though.

    • smartypants4

      You mean like with lists, which have been in Facebook for at least a couple of years now?

      How many circles do I need to organize my 17 Google contacts, anyway? I’d love for Google to succeed, but being realistic, the challenge is enormous. Literally all of my real-life friends with the exception of two (who are dead set against the whole social network/online sharing concept) are on Facebook. Better implementations of existing features probably aren’t going to be enough to bring them all over. And until they all go, Google+ will be secondary for me.

      • UCS

        I agree with this, buzz didn’t take off for me because none of my friends use gmail – who was I going to buzz too… who am i going to circle with. Its a lot easier to persuade a friend to sign up to FB than it is to change the email provider they have been using since year dot.

        • James

          You don’t need Gmail to use +. And they have a couple cool features in place to get people’s toes in the water even if they don’t sign up. And I think there are a few more things in the pipeline to help with the critical mass problem.

  • http://www.daverea.com/ Dave

    Ahh, yet another feature that Google Apps users won’t be able to use.

    • Sean

      Yup – sigh

      Oops… you need a Google profile to use this feature.Google Profiles is not available for your organization.I had a look at my apps dashboard – and “Profiles” isn’t an available service.

  • Salem_100

    I wanted to try out wave bad but once I got it, the experience was meh.  Hopefully this worth the wait :)

  • dbcad7

    looks interesting.

  • stndspec

    So THIS is why Tmob suddenly reversed course on the Gtalk 3g video chat.  Thanks Google, I’m happier already even if this doesn’t work out.  (looks like it could tho!)

  • gifbr

    +1

  • nueser

    I’m very excited about this! If anyone gets an invite and receives more to share, I would love one. I will do the same!

  • http://twitter.com/GetFoundFirst Get Found First

    Interesting stuff.  I wonder what this will do with Advertising.  It will definitely put a new spin on demographic ad targeting.  Cool stuff.

    • Senoreljefe

      I thought the same thing.  Facebook has created value by social mapping.  Google+ has taken that social mapping to the next level with users making the social map even more precise while at the same time delivering value to the user.  very interesting indeed. 

  • Spanki

    We need this. I’m tired of Facebook’s “idgaf” approach to privacy. Google learned their lesson with Buzz and I really hope this project isn’t a failure. I really wish they would have given it it’s own entity like with YouTube though. Or at least put all of these features into Orkut and then market it better because nearly everybody is unaware of it’s existence and it’ll seem like a brand new service.

  • Jaymoon

    Why is the content rating “High Maturity” on the Android Market?

    Odd.

  • 5280skier

    OK, I like it, but only one question.  If Picasa does an auto sync to the Gallery in Android, does this replace Picasa?  Will the pictures I instantly upload be in the Gallery, Picasa, and Google+?

    • James

      No. Yes. The google+ copies disappear after some time though, unless you share them.

  • Guest

    Adios facebook! (as soon as I get my invite…)

  • eclipsenyou

    This looks SO much better than Facebook!!  I joined FB about a year ago and deleted my account within 3 weeks!  It’s a complete waste of time most people are only out to add to their so call friend count.  It’s pathetic really.  This is actually something I would use.  Google FTW again!

    • Richard Blaney

      Are you a google “fanbot” ? C’mon, this looks EXACTLY like facebook but its just maybe better looking and with a couple of features more. I really cannot understand why you would call Facebook a waste of time and this “clone” a thing that you would use??

  • Zach

    I’m slightly confused as to why it’s listed as being a “High Maturity” app…? Maybe simply because it has the “Instant Upload” thing? Or maybe this was just an error?

    • eclipsenyou

      The High Maturity rating is because THIS is for adults who have lives.  Facebook is for High School & College kids who sit in front of their computers all night. (or 40 y/o’s reliving their HS glory days and want to tell all their FB friends what their 2 y/o ate for every meal)  I can’t stand FB!

  • Mothinrust

    Looks cool. The videos, however, are like depressing Apple commercials.

  • Len

    Waiting on my invite, at last something to replace FB.

  • Zerk

    Yeah. I have to admit, I REALLY needed a reason to ignore my Facebook account. It’s annoying and frankly intrusive. My friends post some questionable photos, I don’t need the world to see that. Cant wait, I hope this one sticks…

  • http://techdomino.com/ Lucian Armasu

    Google+ is awesome. But I know one thing is missing – where’s Gtalk?? Huddle is just for mobile right? And it’s not that real-time like an IM. I think Google+ needs IM features.

    • MattEden

      In the lower bit of the left hand column there is a “Chat” feature which accesses Gtalk.

  • Sam Keaser

    I think you’re all missing the biggest point here Google controls, to an extent of course, Android and Android is the most prominent smartphone OS. Guess what’s going to come pre-installed on every new Android? Google+. With 500,000 people activating an Android phone daily Google is going to have to mess up big time for this not to work; not that that would be anything new but nevertheless.

    • http://twitter.com/binglut9 Brian

      Plus chrome too but exactly what I was thinking

      • Sam Keaser

        Agreed, Google’s seemingly random foray into everything dealing with computing or the internet may be a lot more focused than I originally thought. 

  • http://www.newportessentials.com/ paco cornholio

    It sounds pretty complicated – most people don’t want to think about different groups every time they post something – but maybe the complexity will carve some of the people who can appreciate it off from Facebook.  A Facebook for OCD smart folks?

    • http://profiles.google.com/dnoggle Derek Noggle

      Being that Facebook already has the same feature, I’d imagine you can choose to only show certain posts/images to some groups or just completely ignore the option and post it to everybody. It’s most likely going to be ignorable if you don’ want to use it.  Besides, I doubt if you have only one circle it’ll even show you this option.

      • James

        You also get a ‘public’ circle which shares with anyone who’s interested or following you. Something like twitter. And when you share, you do have to pick some circles to share with, but it’s intuitive, quick, and actually kinda fun. It’s not extra steps or troublesome.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cybronics LifeShow Cybronics

    Look at this video of instant photo upload from Android to Chrome: http://youtu.be/ReyjEBUsnEo – faster than Google+ !

    • http://profiles.google.com/dnoggle Derek Noggle

      And like 3 more steps…

      I know you’re trying to advertise your product in comments (sad), but the whole point of the instant upload in Google+ is that it does it automatically in the background instead of having to hit share and then choose the app.

  • wakkoman

    Considering Google’s track record in regards to social networking (Orkut) and really any product outside of Gmail, Android, and Google Apps, this will probably suck and fizzle out soon enough.

    • James

      Oh, and search.  Don’t forget search. And Adsense. That too. And we need to remember Analytics. So pretty much no successes here. Google is just a failure factory.

  • Redhillblood357

    google kicks ass! 

  • RichardReich

    I am so sick of by-invitation-only.  And no support for Google Apps accounts.  I’m just about done with Google.

    • http://twitter.com/binglut9 Brian

      Cya

    • MattEden

      Its because its a beta. And its fairly easy to get an invite….

  • bare bone

    wow this is awesome. I will dump facebook in a heatbeat. 

  • avenuePad

    This is so much more appealing to me than Facebook. I also feel that I have to censor myself on FB because I don’t want to offend other friends that may be religious. I just don’t feel the need to share everything with everybody. Google+ simply mimics real social circles, and that appeals to me.

  • TheCaprican

    I can’t wait!

  • Ahmed Mathina

    its not  G+ its  G-Spot

  • Jörg Hinrichsen

    Awww how long do I have to wait for an invitation?  Are there any invites for sale on ebay? x__x  Don’t torture me Google :( 

  • Gues

    Yep, It’s wave

  • Abhinav Suthakar

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Google-PlusGoogle-/115302368561567

    Head to the fb page, invitations are being handed out on request!

  • Michael Venetiaan

    Hello phandroids !!!
    I wanted to help everybody out here…
    I’ve had a Google+ account for three days now. I didn’t receive an invite, bbut used a trick some dutch kid thought up.

    Go to the next link: http://www.stuivertje.nl/invite/V2/index.php

    Everything’s in Dutch, so I’ll give a quick explanantion.
    When you follow the link you’ll reach a page.
    You can fill in your name and emailadress.
    When you click on ‘Toevoegen’ (which means “add”) your name will apear on the left side of the screen. Now, as soon as a G+ user clicks your name, it dissapears from the page and an invite is automatically sent to the adress you filled in.

    I followed these instructions because I saw someone say they got the invite withing 8 minutes. Well, I think mine came even faster ;-)
    Give it a shot guys…

    And, you’re most welcome!

    Greetings from the Netherlands !!!