Google+ Steps In to Challenge Facebook

by Jeff Wiener on July 6, 2011

Google+ is, for the time being, only open to testing with a “small number of people.” Google’s social networking project, branded as “Real-life sharing, rethought for the web,” is designed to take on Facebook and to “simplify” sharing.

Believe it or not, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is among the “small number of people” allowed on Google+ currently and, believe it or not, he’s the most followed personality on the site – ranking higher than Google CEO Larry Page. Zuckerberg was apparently one of the first to create an account, which is interesting stuff when you consider the history that Facebook and Google have with each other. To call it contentious would be kind.

Google staffers and tech journalists round out the top list of the most popular Google+ users, but that could all change once the project gets opened to the general public.

As with most of these sorts of things, details are somewhat vague. The company has been hammering around with the project for the past year, keeping the details in secret. Google says that the project is an “extension of Google itself,” which, while somewhat creepy, could reveal the basic idea behind it. Taking a search engine to the next level by integrating it with sharing could fly, but it could also fall flat on its face. It’s probably no surprise that Google’s purposely mum on the subject, given their past record.

Google advertises Google+ with all sorts of cutesy tags, referencing “Circles,” “Sparks” and “Hangouts.”

Circles, in the world of Google+, refer to ways that users can choose who to share certain types of information with. This appears to be akin to Facebook’s weird “groups” feature. Sparks searches for videos, images and content that “it” thinks you may like and then sends it to you. And Hangouts is a sort of meet-up situation where users can “randomly” bump in to each other online.

The intention here is, as usual, to make sharing “easier.” That seems the aim of virtually every single social networking and search “project” that comes out as of late. With security concerns and hacker attacks on the rise, you’ll forgive me if I don’t jump for joy at the prospect of putting more of my personal information out there.

But still, Google+ will have its fans as it tries to dethrone Facebook. And along the way, it appears that one of their most prominent fans is the man himself. Go figure.

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Written by: Jeff Wiener. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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