On Tuesday, Google unveiled its highly anticipated new social network, Google+. (Watch an introduction here.) This product follows two disastrous social networking attempts: Google Buzz, which provoked several privacy-related lawsuits, and Google Wave, an image and media sharing service launched in 2009 and killed within a year. Can Google+, which organizes friends into "Circles" (like "The Fam," "Work People," and "Epic Bros") for micro-targeted sharing, possibly compete with Facebook?
No way. Facebook is too dominant: Google+ "has a snowball's chance in hell against a service with 750 million users," says Adam Turner at The Sydney Morning Herald. Everyone's on Facebook, so it seems unlikely that people would want to switch to Google+. Sure, Facebook has privacy issues, and it's not easy to manage settings to avoid oversharing with certain people. Google+'s simpler privacy defaults and targeted sharing capabilities are assets, but hardly enough to promise success.
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Well, maybe some day: Google+ "has some interesting twists on the social networking model, but is far from a Facebook-killer," says Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land. Yes, "the drag-and-drop interface of Circles looks appealing." (Watch a video on the Circles feature here.) The "Hangout" group video chat is "compelling." But if you're happy enough using Facebook, there's little reason to switch... yet. Still, Google is sure to integrate Google+ into its many other products, and it's already got a strong "core to build on."
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And Google won't give up this time: "Finally, it's game on for Google's social effort," says Steven Levy at Ars Technica. Google+ is a "key focus for new CEO Larry Page." With Circles, "Google has accomplished something that Facebook should have done first" — easily allowing users to micro-target sharing. While "no one expects an instant success" here, Google seems committed to getting this one right; "Google+ is not a product like Buzz or Wave where the company's leaders can chalk off a failure to laudable ambition and then move on."
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