Yesterday, Google unveiled Google+ which is another attempt by the search giant to step into social netwroking space.
More people visit Google’s network of websites than Facebook each month, but Facebook is killing the search company in categories that advertisers care most about: Time spent and pages viewed. Users spent 62% more time on Facebook than on Google last month, and viewed more than twice the number of pages on Facebook as they did on Google, according to comScore.
Google+ features several components that attempt to mimic natural human interaction. For instance, to simulate sitting out on your front porch, one feature allows users to declare that they’re “hanging out” and interested in video chatting if a select group of people are around. Another lets users chat with a particular set of people – say, before they all meet at a concert.
Google often denies that Facebook is the company’s primary competitor, and Gundotra said Google+ was “not a reaction to Facebook.” Yet sources with knowledge of the project say that Google+ was known internally as “Googbook.” Google devoted 300 people to the team.
Unlike Google’s previous social attempts, such Orkut and Buzz – which had big, bold launches and are largely considered failures – Google is moving slowly and cautiously with Google+. It has only been launched for a small group of users, and others need to be invited to the service to use it.
Google also doesn’t consider Google+ to be a separate product, exactly. Rather, the company says it is an extension of things you can already do on Google. A toolbar will be available atop all Google sites, and users can download an Android or Chrome application to get notifications and share content.
Google+, which begins rolling out a very limited field test on Yesterday, is the culmination of a year-long project led by Vic Gundotra, Google’s senior vice president of social. The project, which has been delayed several times, constitutes Google’s answer to Facebook.
The search giant’s new social project will be omnipresent on its products, thanks to a complete redesign of the navigation bar. The familiar gray strip 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. The notification system is similar to how Facebook handles notifications, complete with a red number that increases with each additional notice.
Google+ has photo sharing, which places a large emphasis on smartphone usage. For example, photos taken from an Android phone can be automatically dumped into a private folder in the Google+ Web service, a la Apple’s iCloud.
A Google+ group-messaging feature, similar to Facebook’s newer Messages and Groups products, is called Huddle. Google+, after all, is supposed to be a social network.