Google goes social with Facebook rival (Update)

Jun 28, 2011 by Chris Lefkow
Internet search giant Google launched its rival to Facebook, a new social networking service called Google+

Google, the king of Internet search but a bust on the social front, launched its rival to Facebook on Tuesday, a social networking service called Google+.

"Online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it," Google's senior vice president for engineering Vic Gundotra said in a blog post about the long-awaited social networking initiative from the Internet giant.

Unveiling Google+, Gundotra stressed the ability it gives users to separate online friends and family into different "Circles," or networks, and to share information only with members of a particular circle.

"We'd like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software," he said. "We want to make Google better by including you, your relationships and your interests."

One of the criticisms of Facebook is that updates are shared with all of one's friends unless a user has gone through a relatively complicated process to create separate Facebook Groups.

"Not all relationships are created equal," Gundotra said. "So in life we share one thing with college buddies, another with parents, and almost nothing with our boss.

"The problem is that today's online services turn friendship into fast food -- wrapping everyone in 'friend' paper -- and sharing really suffers," he said.

Google+, located at plus.google.com, is currently being tested by a small number of people or is available by invitation only.

But Google said in a message on the site that it "won't be long before the Google+ project is ready for everyone."

Google unveiled several new tools integrated into Google+, including "Hangouts," which allows for video chatting among friends, "Mobile" for location-sharing and "Huddle" for group text messaging.

Photos and video can be uploaded and shared among Circles using a feature known as "Instant Upload," while an online sharing engine called "Sparks" delivers content from the Web into a user's feed.

Google dominates Internet search but the Mountain View, California, company has failed to make inroads on the social networking front, where Facebook has accumulated nearly 700 million users and Twitter around 200 million.

Former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, speaking at the AllThingsD technology conference last month, took responsibility for the company missing the wave when it came to making services social, saying "I screwed up."

Google's last major foray into social networking -- Google Buzz, launched in February 2010 -- spawned a slew of privacy complaints and led to a slap on the wrist from the US Federal Trade Commission.

Under a settlement between the US regulator and Google announced in March, Google is required to implement a comprehensive privacy program and will be subject to independent privacy audits every two years for the next 20 years.

Google+ makes its debut as Google and Facebook wage a fierce battle over online advertising dollars and how people navigate the Internet.

Google does not send people to Facebook and vice versa, and both companies are seeking to become the chief gateway to the Internet.

In May, Facebook was left red-faced after acknowledging it had hired a prominent public relations firm to draw attention to privacy practices at Google.

Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of technology blog SearchEngineLand.com, said in a blog post it was "anyone's guess" as to whether Google+ would be successful.

"If you're happy using Facebook, there seems relatively little to make you want to switch over to Google Plus, at the moment," said Sullivan, who received an early glimpse of the new service from Google.

"Perhaps if there are people who want a Facebook alternative, Google's now got a core to build on for them."

Explore further: Google Baseline Study aims to define what a healthy human looks like

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User comments : 13

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gmurphy
5 / 5 (3) Jun 28, 2011
Google should stop trying to be Facebook. Google Plus is going to go the way of Google Wave, i betcha.
Mayday
1 / 5 (1) Jun 28, 2011
I applaud this. I like social networks, but dislike that there us only one meaningful channel. There should be at least a dozen mature and functioning "facebooks" by now. Monopolies always end up being oppressive, IMO.

I can not understand why more competition hasn't developed. By now, this sphere should be charged with dynamic competitors building better mousetraps. For me, the big question is: where are the developers?
LariAnn
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 28, 2011
A bit late to the party, Google is, aren't they?
Tiocfaidh
not rated yet Jun 28, 2011
I can not understand why more competition hasn't developed. By now, this sphere should be charged with dynamic competitors building better mousetraps. For me, the big question is: where are the developers?


There are a lot of networks, try any of these:

researchgate.net
linkedin.com
twitter.com

all depends on your need
wealthychef
not rated yet Jun 28, 2011
Google is notorious for getting the user experience wrong. They have a terrible culture around that. If they can make a better Facebook, I'm interested. Facebook is notorious for getting privacy wrong, and I'm more concerned with that. Some of these ideas appear to address my concerns.
Telekinetic
3.9 / 5 (11) Jun 28, 2011
I was on facebook and was bored to tears. I find it much more gratifying to be here on PhysOrg where , instead of accumulating friends like it was a contest, I get to make new enemies at my leisure.
epsi00
not rated yet Jun 28, 2011
Google is becoming a giant octopus.
Nikola
5 / 5 (1) Jun 29, 2011
Great, another mega-corporation with a terrible privacy record that will be holding your personal info.
kaasinees
1 / 5 (1) Jun 29, 2011
I signed up for google plus i hope i get an invitation.
If i understand correctly you can video chat with your friends which is an added bonus.
With gmail you can video chat also, but not many people that i know have gmail...

http://imgs.xkcd....plus.png

for the ppls below/above me, google has much better security than 99% of the internet, and are you kidding me not user friendly? trolls be trollin..
Royale
not rated yet Jun 29, 2011
I agree with you Nikola, but they have it anyway right? Whether it's wormed out of your searches and linked to your IP, or you use a service like gmail they have your info. Perhaps not as much, but with just some it can be cross-checked with sites like facebook anyway... I see it as simply be prepared for some leaks to occur when you use something as vast as the internet.
Royale
not rated yet Jun 29, 2011
kaas, It's great to see a fellow fan of xkcd. And you do have a valid point. While the company itself can amass a great wealth of knowledge it's not necessarily released easily.
kaasinees
1 / 5 (1) Jun 29, 2011
I agree with you Nikola, but they have it anyway right? Whether it's wormed out of your searches and linked to your IP, or you use a service like gmail they have your info. Perhaps not as much, but with just some it can be cross-checked with sites like facebook anyway... I see it as simply be prepared for some leaks to occur when you use something as vast as the internet.

facebook also has a terrible track of privacy concerns.
i have never heard about google leaking any sensitive user data, while facebook has leaked all info you can possibly get to third parties.
Royale
not rated yet Jun 29, 2011
I'd go as far as to say facebook has a much worse track record. The potential is there for google, they've just been smarter about their operations. Look at google's staff, I mean it's a pretty constant thing that you get what you pay for. And in google's case more often than not, they get great things out of their employees. Perhaps I've digressed from the article a bit now....