Google Gets Serious About Social

Google has finally gotten serious in its efforts to take on Facebook in the Social Network market. While Google’s previous efforts, Wave, and Buzz, have failed to impress, it’s latest effort, Google+, appears to have tremendous potential. The credit goes in part to Google cofounder and new CEO Larry Page who has implemented some major changes in the companies priorities. The Google+ Project begins with a foundation of services similar to Facebook’s including User Profiles and News Feed conversations. In addition to basic Social Networking features, Google adds several unique features. A feature Google calls “Circles” allows users to classify friends in one or more categories so that sharing can be directed to specific groups of friends. “Hangouts,” allows friends to easily meet up at locations around town. “Instant Upload” makes it effortless to upload photos and video from cell phones to Google+. “Sparks” allows users to easily find items of interest posted from friends and volunteered by Google based on user interests. “Huddle” allows circles of friends to participate in group cell phone text messaging.

As you might guess, Google+ is designed to work seamlessly on Google Android phones. Its popularity will depend on Android user and gmail user adoption. If Google+ become popular, it will likely assist Google in gaining even more market share in the smartphone market. Google+ has four facts in its favour: 1) Google already has 200 million users with gmail accounts ready to try Google+, 2) Facebook does not own any piece of the Smartphone market, while Google is currently THE dominant player, 3) Google’s nearest rival in smartphones, Apple, has no serious involvement in the social networking business…yet, 4) Google has played it smart and learned from Facebook’s mistakes. Google+, with its attractive new features, has a good chance of winning over Facebook users that are ready for a change. But with 700 million Facebook users and a huge head start, Google+ plus has to really impress if it wants to get users to leave their hundreds of Facebook friends and start over.

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