If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That could be the motto of Google’s social network developers, who are in the process of launching Google+, a new social network designed to eliminate some of the complaints people have about archrival Facebook.
The new service not only allows people to build circles of friends and share information with them, but it also allows for greater privacy when it comes to what information you share. The underlying assumption is quite simple. While Grandma and Grandpa may be cool to have as Facebook friends, no one wants them seeing the photos from Spring Break.
Google’s new social network tackles this through privacy customizations and the creation of social circles (+Circles), which allows users to decide what information they want to share with specific groups of friends, instead of the one-size-fits-all approach of Facebook. In that sense, it is an extension of the idea behind BeKnown, the new Monster.com app for Facebook, which draws a clear distinction between professional and social contacts. “In the online world, you get to a ‘Share’ box and you share with the whole world.” Says Bradley Horowitz, a VP of product management at Google. “We have a different model,” he continues, explaining that Google+ allows users to personalize the sharing experience.
Apart from greater privacy, Google+ will offer all the other features familiar to social network users, whether they are on Facebook or Myspace. There are photos and videos, a section for interests, a place to post updates, and even “Huddle” for chatting among a specific group of friends. There is also a content recommendation engine called Sparks to help users find things such as movies or music that may be of interest to them.
Social networking has been a major focus of Google founder Larry Page. Some analysts suggest that the reason for this is Google’s historical focus on engineering and algorithms, which comes at the expense of socializing.
The desire to correct this explains the aggressive marketing campaign to introduce Google+ everywhere. Mashable reports that the, “new social project will be omnipresent on every Google product, thanks to a complete redesign of the Google navigation bar. The familiar gray bar at the top of every Google page will turn black, and come with several new options for accessing your Google+ profile, viewing notifications and instantly sharing content at any time.”
In other words, Google+ will be ubiquitous. Then again, so is Facebook.