Today’s Wednesday will be temporarily renamed Google+ day. Both inside the office and outside in the grand world of the Twittersphere, complaints have ranged from ‘it’s just another Google Wave’, to ’500million users on Facebook? Why are they bothering to compete’, to ‘When will they learn that we don’t see Google as a social site?’ Today it’s revealed that Google + is more sociable and potentially a lot more interesting. Following a lot of press about a flock of users leaving Facebook, their timing’s almost impeccable.
Let’s ignore the previous Wave and Buzz projects that have led to a speedy panning of the new service. We found the video a bit waffly, so here’s a summary of what’s offered, with as many quick comparisons to Facebook as we can cram in.
The three main points are:
Circles: similar to Facebook lists: “share some things with college buddies, others with your parents and almost nothing with your boss.” Luckily everyone at (untitled) loves the boss and so this is in no way true. Unlike Facebook and Twitter’s previous offerings in this vein, this isn’t a tack-on service. You can drag & drop users with some sexy HTML5.Hangouts: not just a step closer to never seeing your friends face-to-face. Whilst sounding like an always-on Skype-esque program (“Let friends know that you’re free for a video hangout, any time, anywhere. Then catch up, watch YouTube or… just hangout.”), this is a multimedia station. See all your videos and photos you’ve been tagged in, and holds chats. Our favourite feature is the way that the group chat video displays only the face of who’s talking, rather than a screen for everyone. We can’t wait to have a group chat and all talk at once. There’s also an image editor and they may have hit the nail on the head here: there’s an editor with results that look a bit like Instagram. Sparks:is Google’s magical feed that shows you only what you’re interested in. Using their somewhat useful knowledge of algorithms and search this aims to create “a feed of only the things that you’re really into, so when you’re free, there’s always something waiting to be watched, read or shared.” This pulls info from their offering back in March – the suspiciously similarly titled ‘Google +1′ which has been dubbed ‘a great idea by Google engineers for Google engineers.’
This all comes on your computer and on mobile. A feature we like of the app is that any media taken using the app is automatically uploaded. It’s not made public (phew) but it is instantly accessible. ‘Is this the new Android BBM?’ ask people on YouTube. Well, if this takes off, it’s likely to be something a bit more.It’s all coming in stages, and we’ll be keeping a keen eye out for the next new bits. Don’t tell anyone, but we think it’s a little bit cool. We’re just waiting to see if our friends do too..