is Google+ just a different Facebook?

The new Google+ Project is in full swing, kind of. Why does Google always have to introduce its new ventures via an invitation process? Eventually, you will get an invitation from a friend, or you will wait for it to go public, or you will get tired of waiting and ignore it.

If you aren’t on it, though, you may not even be aware of what it is. Google+ (sometimes the symbol is written out as Plus) is another web-based social network, much like Facebook with a stream of posts (like Facebook’s newsfeed), profile pages, photos, groups of friends–it really is very similar.

Why do we need another Facebook? Well, maybe we don’t, but it seems to have hit a chord with people who have been disappointed with Facebook’s advertising, catering to business, and privacy issues. So what else does it have to offer besides its own versions of Facebook components? Integration of all things Google–and that’s nothing to scoff at.

If you haven’t noticed the redesign of Google’s pages into the crisp, clean, lots of white space style, do visit Google Calendar or Gmail–and if you don’t have accounts there, I have to ask why not?

The first thing I would point out is the black toolbar at the top of each Google screen that shows how your one Google identity connects you to Google Docs, Google Calendar, Gmail, Picasa (soon to be Google) Photos, Google Reader–well, you get the idea. It’s a system of all your stuff, or could be. How these components might interact may be yet to come. I’d like to see calendar updates on my G+ profile, and maybe email notifications. I’d like to be able to integrate or share a document from Google Docs with one or more circles in my Plus stream.

Anyway, the meaning of the + is clear; how it all ends up working is becoming more clear, but not yet complete. If you know someone already using Google+, ask them for an invitation and find out for yourself what’s going on there.

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Categories: cloud computing, social network, technology

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