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Google Releases Google+ – An overlook on features.
By James Lenhart

googleplus_1

On top of all the other things Google is doing this week they also release their social platform — which is now officially called The Google+ Project. Before you frantically start searching for Google+ you should know that Google is conducting a limited field trial, but says they’ll have the service open to the public soon.

In the recent weeks Google rolled out their +1 feature enabling those who have a Google profile the ability to give their “seal of approval” on any given website that supports the service. It also works on search results within Google itself — before it was only a labs feature that had to be enabled. Without using Google+ hands-on I’m forced to have an opinion only on what I’ve seen on the site, but it looks promising.

A key difference about Google+ when compared to Facebook is the fact that it gives you control from the very beginning on who you share your information with. Facebook released a feature called Groups, but it still makes the process more complicated than what it should be. Everyone has things they’d rather keep from a co-worker, or Mom — so this is a great step  forward in terms of having flexibility on what you’re sharing to the world.

After all, it is your information and we all have “social circles”  or “clicks” that are priviliged to certain information over others.

In case you were unaware, Gmail has the ability to make voice/video calls with others within the Chat application. It’s also a standard for a Chromebook to sport a camera, which is definitely an aspect that Hangouts will take advantage of. This feature allows you to let certain buddies, or circles know when you’re available for face-to-face chat. I see a lot of people online in my Facebook chat (at least 10 on average) — if I had the ability to know when they’d like to “hangout” I might be more inclined to interact with that person. It’s hard to say how much this will be used, but I like the concept.

Google is taking Apple’s iCloud approach a step farther by integrating the ability to have photos and videos automatically synced to a Google+ folder. The photos are kept private until you tell it who to share the photos with. There is no mention of a file size cap on the Google+ storage. Apple is currently capping users at 5GB for picture storage and offers no way to share those photos with others.

Sparks is kind of like Stumple Upon where it allows you to enter things that interest you — giving you something to look at later, or when you’re bored. It’s safe to assume that Google will probably display relevant ads related to your Sparks queries on top of bringing videos, articles, and other things to check out.

Huddle takes on the same concept as what Facebook’s messaging system is capable of now. You can talk to one specific person, or create groups with several people. The mobile app for Google+ is already available so we know this could be a great replacement for SMS. I’m interested to know if my already established buddies in Gtalk could be ported over, or if they just appear. If anyone knows add a comment.

Here is a great article of someone who actually used the new service. I’m very eager to try it out and will report back with any new news. I don’t use Facebook like most people do anyway; so I’d say I’m more willing to give it a try.


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