Despite the insistent – but ultimately incorrect – predictions by some, it no longer appears that Google has given up on its social networking ambitions by any stretch of the imagination.
Called the Google+ project, the Internet search giant has raised the curtain on a beta version of a social networking platform that makes it possible for users to be more selective in their social networking.
Google+ is a hybrid social network that incorporates many familiar features, including connecting with friends and contacts, a stream of updates, live video chatting, mobile group messaging and photo sharing. And all of it is very Google with names for the apps like Circles, Huddle, Sparks and Hangouts.
According to Google, the concept of “social circles” is critical to the nature of scope of the new platform, as users can pick and choose which social networking content is shared with particular individuals within designated “circles.”
+Circles, Google says in one example, lets users share what matters most with the people who matter most, Google admitted in its announcement of the platform.
The project, according to the New York Post, has been internally code-named Emerald Sea, indicating Google will either sink or sail on the social tide.
“Not all relationships are created equal, the company acknowledges on its official blog. “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.”
For now, Google is only allowing a select few Google users to try out the service until all the bugs are worked out of the beta phase.
“We realize that today people are increasingly connecting with one another on the web. But the ways in which we connect online are limited and don’t mimic our real-life relationships. The Google+ project is our attempt to make online sharing even better. We aren’t trying to replace what’s currently available, we just want to introduce a new way to connect online with the people that matter to you,” said Vic Gundotra, senior vice president of social at Google.