Google+ Project – a guide for dummies

It’s been a couple weeks since the pilot launch of Google + Project (or Google Plus as some are calling it) and early noises from those who received and invite to participate in the social networking service are encouraging.

The Google+ Project logos

The Google+ Project

This is not Google’s first attempt to get personal with us. Wave, Buzz and Friend Connect are just a few products the search giant has rolled out to try and capture a slice of the Facebook pie.

No one would argue that Google is not a successful company with many strings to their bow so why are they even bothering to dabble in the social networking world? Google strives to be the king of search. They have no problem finding you the population of Egypt or the lead singer of an obscure 90’s French pop band but they can’t tell me what my sister did for her last holiday – but Facebook can. And that’s the big hole in Google’s database.

So enter Google+. This is a mighty effort to pull all Google’s key existing platforms, Gmail, Picasa, Calendar, Buzz, Profiles and others together in to a neatly designed, cohesive family under one umbrella.

This time they’ve learned an important lesson from their previous attempts and that is to take things slowly. Rather than launch all in a fanfare they are carefully rolling out bit by bit, testing and collecting feedback.

So on to the features. At present, those who have an invite can explore:

Circles
Could be the Facebook killer. This allows you to organize your friends in to groups e.g. family, work, school… and this means you can choose what you share with who.

Hangouts
Casual online video meet ups. Log in, hang out and see which of your friends join you  – not something for me as I prefer to socialize online without having to talk  – maybe one for the younger users.

Instant upload
Integrated uploading of photos and video making it quick and easy to share to your friends. Nothing new here but a necessary feature to compete with Twitter.

Sparks
Using the search mussel here combined with your new outpouring of your personality Google attempts to present to you tailed offerings from the world wide web.

Huddle
Basically a private chat room for you and select friends to arrange meet ups or organise events. This rehash of the old chat rooms but on mobile devices this could be a killer app. I can image this being used on a night out with a group of friends trying to keep in touch – could save a lot of texting.

I’m sure there will be more features to follow and time will tell as to where this will sit Google in the social networking world.

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