The site is built around four separate areas, enabling users to communicate with selected groups, share photos and comments, while Google integrates the service with its maps and image tools.
The site’s areas include: “circles”, a feature that enables users to share different forms of content with targeted groups of friends; “hangouts”, a multi-user video-conferencing platform allowing friends to drop in and out of conversations; “huddle”, an instant messaging tool; and “sparks”, a function connecting users with common interests.
Google has also emphasised the site’s mobile functionality. “We didn’t want ‘just’ a mobile experience, so with Google+ we focused on things like GPS, cameras, and messaging to make your pocket computer even more personal,” Google said.
In a swipe at Facebook, Vic Gundotra, senior vice-president of engineering at Google, said online sharing needed a serious rethink.
“Today, the connections between people increasingly happen online. Yet the subtlety and substance of real-world interactions are lost in the rigidness of our online tools. In this basic, human way, online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it,” Vic Gundotra said.
But according to Debra Aho Willliamson, principal analyst with research firm eMarketer, Facebook has already captured the market for social media. “People have their social circles on Facebook – asking them to create another social circle is challenging,” she said.
“Google have been throwing stuff against the wall for several years and so far nothing has stuck,” Aho Willliamson added.
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