Now who was expecting this? Everyone! Techcrunch have been talking about circles, rumors, Google’s internal super secret Facebook killer project for months… ages? And it has finally arrived… “Google +”. Nothing to do with all their previous social attempts (Orkut, buzz which never really took off, or +1 which will definitely match in this new experiment besides already being a sharing & search-help positioning tool).
Let’s see if we can summarize what Google + is without needing a 30min post….
In essence Google+ is the Google approach to how on-line social interaction should be done on-line (not only sharing)…. Google is still first amongst the most visited places on planet earth… but Facebook is just behind so what can they do? Add a social layer that truly covers ALL of its on-line services. And how can we do that? With an omnipresent bar that reminds EVERY Google visitor (not necessarily a user) on earth of the presence of this product / sharing tool. Breaking Google+ into 3 main subtools:
Circles is the core functionality allowing users select, organize & filter contacts for “optimal sharing” (nothing new here) from their Gmail & Google contact list (we imagine you can import facebook + twitter contacts too?).
Then lets say you’re searching for a trending topic on Google, once you get the result you can instantly share it with those people circles which you can access from that famous black bar. No need to click on the search result itself… and the same applies if you happen to be using/visiting any other Google product and be logged-in… think of youtube, maps, picassa, blogger, docs, sites….
Then come the “Sparks” which is some sort of a contacts-universal “interests search box”, when searching for one of your favorite topics Google will propose what they think is purely related to your “Interests”, how? We assume using +1, your contact’s +1 hits, your navigation history (kept by Google when you’re logged on obviously), your personal and your close “circle’s” interests will have something to do with those results. “For nerding out together”….
And finally come the “Hangouts”… some sort of “I wanna chat” alerting feature (and a redesigned video chat tool) for those circles you chose to constantly keep in touch with (imagine video chat with up to 10 people).
Many other things have been announced … “Instant upload”, “Huddle”… so for more info, pics and a fully comprehensible description go for their interactive tour, or read patiently Techcrunch’s post. Unfortunately G+ is on beta mode, so you’ll probably need to sign-up for an early access.
Seems like Google have also understood that their minimalistic… nearly rudimentary design approach to all their services needed a strong user interface redesign, just like Microsoft with Windows Phone 7 or Windows 8. Let’s see how successful G+ is.