The Google+ project, with participation initially by invitation only, brings together a number of different Google tools that allow people to form groups, upload photos and chat very much in the same way Facebook does.
The biggest change it offers is that it accepts that people often do not want to share every photo or status update with all of their friends at the same time. Instead, it recognises that sometimes people want to share with smaller, more discreet groups, be it family members, football clubs or university friends.
The problem Google says is that existing online services turn “friendship into fast food wrapping” and everyone becomes a “friend” – rather than an acquaintance or a friend of a friend. It argues that because of this universal sharing, sharing as a whole suffers. It is calling this part of Google+, Circles.
Google says: “From close family to foodies, we found that people already use real-life circles to express themselves, and to share with precisely the right folks. So we did the only thing that made sense: we brought Circles to software. Just make a circle, add your people, and share what’s new – just like any other day.”
The other main parts of the Google+ project are Google Sparks, which deals with finding content to share; Google+ Hangouts, which offers video chat; Google+ Mobile, for instant uploading of photos, and Google+ Huddle, which brings group chat to social networking. This final part also includes an Android mobile app.
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