Well Google’s first half decent effort at a first shot across the bow of Facebook has finally appeared in the form of Google+! http://plus.google.com/
I believe the most apt description of the service offered by Google was given by Natalie Messer over at Messer Motorsport “Like Facebook, Twiter and Windows Live all got smashed together!” Google has made no effort to hide its intentions of taking on Facebook as it is clear to see right from the outset that there are many similarities to the worlds most popular social network, they’ve taken all of the key elements of the service without taking any of the applications or baggage many have become accustomed to.
It has all the key features you’d expect, a live news feed or stream about all of your friends latest updates, Photos, Profiles, Friends, Friend Groups (although a unique take on it with “Circles”). In addition it has several new features that go beyond the current offerings by Facebook and the like, these include Hangouts (The ability to have a live video conference-call type meet with your friends), Sparks (These are Google giving you a live news stream about topics of your choice, kind of like a custom RSS feed right in your live stream.), Integration with other Google services as we’d expect such as pictures from Picasa, Videos from YouTube, Google Talk, Google Buzz and of course Google Search.
The worlds newest Social Network is currently set to invite only, invites available here (http://bit.ly/o9cAbw) as the run through the rollout of key features such as the recent new addition “Games” and other Beta testing but I am sure eventually they’ll make it public for anyone to sign up!
The integration with other Google services is both good and quite worrying at the same time, as it really highlights how deeply these networks integrate with our daily lives without us even realizing it.