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Google takes on Facebook with new social media service

Google is introducing a new social media site, one that takes aim at privacy concerns about Facebook. The Google+ Project is in invitation mode only — and it’s not accepting any more for the moment — but a tour of the site provides a good overview. For starters, it provides a way to set up groups of friends, called “Circles.”

Writes Google: “You share different things with different people. So sharing the right stuff with the right people shouldn’t be a hassle. Circles makes it easy to put your friends from Saturday night in one circle, your parents in another, and your boss in a circle by himself – just like real life.”

This is a direct shot at Facebook. Information I want to share on Facebook with, say, my high school friends, can’t be aimed directly at them. (You can do a workaround through Facebook Messages, but what a pain.)

You can also have group text and high-def video chat, a feature known as “Hangouts” which a bit like a group Skype chat. Drop in and drop out with ease.

There are several other features, some of which you’ll already find with Facebook. It would seem that the major development here is one of privacy. Google+ lets you break out your friends and family in a way that, puzzlingly, Facebook has ignored. Anyone who has had Mom see a picture of you holding a beer at a party will be able to relate to this one.

Also, Google+ is going to utilize the +1 feature it has already rolled out. Writes the New York Times: “Google+ will also improve the usefulness of other Google products that have not gained traction, like Latitude for sharing your location and +1 for giving a thumbs-up to a particular site in search results, the executives said.”

Yes, it’s true that Google+ may turn out to be Just Another Social Network. However, it will have one big thing going for it – Google TV. Integration of a social network into Google TV will give the product a big boost. It’s not hard to picture Google+ deeply embedded into Google TV — especially the “hangouts” video chat — and Google Android apps.

What do you think? Would you consider joining a Google social media project?

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