Google are showing they aren’t planning on giving up making their dent in the social scene by announcing their most recent attempt: Google+.
What is it?
Google+ is “real-life sharing, rethought for the web” according to the Twitter profile. This new project comes after the not so successful attempts at online collaboration and aggregation with Google Wave and Google Buzz.
Google+ currently consists of five sections:
Circles provides the ability for users to choose which of their connections see what information. E.g. A family Circle, a colleague Circle or ‘my baking club’ Circle.
Sparks can be most likened to a ‘Like’ on Facebook, but not. A Spark is letting Google know what your interests are and when you feel like browsing the web, Google will show you the most popular content for that particular interest at that particular time.
Group video chat – the most interesting thing about this to me is that the person who speaks the loudest gets the largest share of the screen.
This is focused on sharing information: location and images, instantly so your connections can interact with you on – or offline. This also adds the bonus of being able to easily get your pictures off your phone and visible to your network.
Huddle is basically a group IM function, which some people might already use on tools such as Skype. Google feel this will help people have a group chat for planning events and scheduling. Similar vibe to Facebook Groups, but with real-time group chat functionality.
What does this mean for Social and Search?
With the focus Google has shown towards constantly increasing their social search features, we can only assume this is going to be part of that push to full social search and personalised recommendations.
It will be interesting to see how Google integrate their +1 functionality within Sparks area of the platform and how search results will be affected from connections within the network. The +1 features don’t currently link into the internal +1′s, but this will probably be something we’ll see in the future.
There will be an even stronger need for brands to maintain an active social media presence, as search results for users are going to focus largely on recommendations from connections and relevance. How do you optimise for personalisation? By having your say, encouraging conversations with your end users and building advocates that will share your brand with their connections.
Will it stay or will it go away?
Early testers seem to think that this particular Google project could stick around. Unlike most of Google services, these tools allow for you to keep as much private as you would like. We all know people are looking for any reason to leave Facebook or already have, and this might be that out.
You can read a review of a lucky early beta tester at ReadWriteWeb.
I am definitely looking forward to getting my hands on an invite soon and hope that Google releases them to the public quickly so we don’t see the same fate as Google Wave.
If you haven’t yet – take the tour of Google+. So, will you be ditching Facebook for Google?