Google announced a new social project, but this time they’re serious. Google+ will be the social network that Google expects to catch on this time, and it’s the service that they’re been rumored to be developing for over a year. It takes all your Google contacts and adds a level of sharing and organization that makes the Google experience more social than ever.
The basic sharing mechanism is Circles. Circles is a nifty drag and drop interface for organizing friends into groups, and from the interactive tour on the site, seems to understand that this should be smooth, quick and painless ordeal, instead of a chore. Hangout is an area where you can digitally “hang out” with your contacts that are online, via, chat, voice or video and you can join other groups of people that are hanging out as well (if they want you to, of course). Huddle seems to be a more structured and tectual version of Hangout, allowing you to consolidate multiple chat sessions into one shared session. Instant Upload is going to drive the mobile side of this new network, whereby every picture and video you take from your Android phone will automatically sync with your Google+ account, and will be shared to whomever you specify. Last (for now) is Sparks, which is basically an extension of Google Reader, which allows the service to find things for you that align with your inputted interests.
Here’s a video that describes some of the features:
So, what is Google+? Is it an overhauled iGoogle? Is it the reincarnation of Google Buzz? Is Orkut going to be involved in this? How will all my other Google services align with this one? What about the Google +1 project? These are all questions that Google will have to answer eventually. As of now, the project is invite only, and there’s no link to ask for an invitation. You can only be notified by email for another expansion of membership.
This isn’t Google’s first attempt at a social network, not by a long shot, and the tech world is understandably skeptical any time Google tries doing one. This one could be different, but it could go down in flames. You really never know with Google.