Google has introduced its long-expected rival to Facebook, called Google+. It has also released an Android app that can connect to this nascent social-networking service.
It is going to offer a number of different areas, each of which can be accessed with the smartphone version:
- Circles is the Google+ equivalent of Facebook Friends. It’s been designed to let users communicate with specific groups, depending on the topic being discussed.
- Stream is where users get updates from their circles, or see what people are saying about things nearby.
- Instant Upload automatically uploads videos and photos to a private album in the cloud.
- Huddle is group messaging for everyone in the user’s circles.
Google vs. Facebook
Google has been widely expected to introduce a rival to Facebook because that social-networking service is a threat to its entire business model. Facebook pages are not open to Google’s search engine, and neither can it put its ads on them. Therefore, it needs to lure customers to Google+.
The company has dipped its toe into this area before with Google Buzz, but has clearly learned from mistakes with this location-oriented social-networking service. With Buzz, this company went ahead and signed up everyone who had a Gmail account, whether users actually wanted this service it not.
The app is available now, for free, in the Android Market but the Google+ service itself is still in closed beta. Those wishing to receive an invite can request one. A version for the iPhone is in development.
Google has out together a video showing off the smartphone version of this social-networking service: