Launch of Google Plus

Brooke Lonegan, Marion Chomse and Ilina Kuriashkina

BACKGROUND

Last week Google launched its long awaited answer to Facebook. Google+ is a new social network platform that it believes will make sharing and connecting easier for consumers. Google’s view is that “online sharing is awkward” due to the virtual worlds inability to emulate the real world’s social norms, particularly our ability to intuitively manage privacy and sharing. Google+ solves this by integrating a number of new social features, including allowing consumers greater control over whether their shared content is public or private. A year in the making, the platform is currently only available to a limited invitation-only “Field Trial” audience across 44 languages.

DETAILS

New Google+ features include: Circles: the foundation of Google+. It allows you to easily drag-and-drop your friends into manageable groups called Circles, e.g., family, friends from college, a running group. At first glance, a much more attractive and user-friendly version of creating a Facebook Group. Hangouts: a tool that lets users broadcast their location, like Foursquare or Facebook Places. What makes it unique is it allows you to broadcast your location to a select group, or Circle. Instant Upload – a photo-sharing feature. Again, the difference from Facebook Photos being that you can select specific Circles or individuals to share specific images. Sparks – a cross between Search and Google Reader, which allows a user to add interests and topics that Google then uses to feed users content in which they may be interested. Capitalizing on the increasing relevancy of social search, Google+ will likely integrate the Google+ social graph to rank and recommend content, services and products. Huddle – a way to send group messages, similar to Facebook’s existing Messages.