Google takes direct aim at Facebook with Google+

Google, the world biggest internet search company, has introduced a new attempt at social networking and a new attempt to compete with Facebook. The new service, called Google+, looks similar to Facebook and has features such as photos, messages, comments, and other content from a select group of friends.

According to Google’s Vite President of Product Management, Bradley Horowitz, the service will integrate with Google’s maps and images to help people organize social contacts easily within groups of friends.

“Instead of coming directly at Facebook, which would be suicidal, I think they’ve recognized that they have to grow out from a niche — and the niche here is people who want to be connected with a specific circle or a specific group. In that context this has a chance to be a small success.” said analyst Josh Bernoff.

One of the features of Google+ is called “Sparks” and acts as a search engine for hobbies. Powered by the +1 button, users are find particular items they search for. Another feature, called “Hangouts”, allows a user to launch a special screen that alerts friends and invites them to join a group video chat session. Another neat feature, called “Huddle”, allows users to utilize group messaging via their mobile phone as well as an auto-upload feature that uploads any photo of video to a private folder in the cloud.

Google Chief Executive Officer Larry Page is starting Google+ after some issues came up last year when the company introduced a social aspect of Gmail, called Buzz.

Google is currently in an invite-only “Field Trial” period and has a mobile app available in the Android market with an Apple app coming soon. Google is planning on going live with Google+ “soon.”

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