(The article below contains the opinions of the author and does not necessary represent those of PXL)
Since the beginning of the social network phenomenon, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter have been constantly get one over on their rivals in the battle for social domination. Despite owning YouTube and Android, Google (for whatever unknown reason) never seemed to fancy taking a dip in the social networking pool.
Well now they’re rippling the waters, and they’re not just dipping a toe in, they’ve taken a running jump and power-bombed their way in and are already threatening the big fish.
Google+ aims to make sharing and socialising make sense in ways that it never has before. For example, the Circles feature. Google says:
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.
Wait- haven’t we heard that before? Sounds a bit like Facebook’s Groups feature. However, it’s not the same. With Facebook Groups, you are often lumbered into a group against your will with people you don’t know, and, usually, don’t want to know. Then there are the endless spamming, “special offers” and VOTE FOR MY DOG posts. Not any longer. Circles works like a real circle of friends. If your mates Johnny and Max know each other, but your mate Steve doesn’t know them, you can share things with all of them, but as soon as you’re done, that’s it. They aren’t forever crammed into a room being subjected to that one dizzy blonde who rams her lifestyle choices down everyone’s neck. They’re free to continue with their day and go on as they please.
Then there are the Hangouts. Now, this isn’t quite what Google advertised it to be, but it’s still pretty cool. It’s basically Skype but for up to 10 people. You start with 2 people and you can either invite people from your Circles or allow people to pop in and out as they please. Of course as this eventually dominates Android smartphones, this will become a video calling craze like never before, although, 10 faces on the smaller screens may not be so easy to see.
Instant Upload is what I’ve been waiting for for a long, long time. Every photo you take on your phone is instantly uploaded to a private album and then you just decide whether or not to share them and who with, bringing the Circles into play again.
The Sparks feature is basically a less-glorified StumbleUpon widget; you type in what you like and it continually loads up stuff it thinks you’ll like so that when you’re doing nothing, there’s always something to look at.
Last, but not least, is the Huddle feature, which is basically a group chat feature, similar to those on most IM clients, which, again, incorporates the Circles feature, to have conversations with like-minded friends; for example, trying to text 8 people to decide what you’re doing that night isn’t always the best idea. Google+ Huddles may well be the answer. Everyone is involved in the conversation, saving the endless and unenviable task of relaying everyone’s messages to one-another.
So it seems Google have actually looked at social networking and seen what it actually needs, rather than a new photo viewer ever 6 months.
Are you listening, Facebook?
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