Google+ or what?

Remember Google Buzz? Or Google Wave?

Well, Google has tried several times to take on Facebook to conquer and master social networking – without much success. Now it is making its biggest effort yet.

(c) Google Inc

Google introduced its social networking service called the Google+ project.  Similarities to existing Social Network are pure coincidence ;-). Google’s service, which is initially available to selected Google users, who will soon be able to invite others, will let people share and discuss status updates, photos and links, much as they do on Facebook.

Google+ is meant for sharing with groups – whether colleagues, family or sports friends – not with all of your friends or even the entire Web. Features include group text messaging and video chat.

Bradley Horowitz, a vice president for product management at Google says: “In real life, we have walls and windows and I can speak to you knowing who’s in the room, but in the online world, you get to a ‘Share’ box and you share with the whole world – we have a different model.”

“Instead of coming directly at Facebook, which would be suicidal, I think they’ve recognized that they have to grow out from a niche — and the niche here is people who want to be connected with a specific circle or a specific group,” Josh Bernoff, an analyst with Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Forrester Research Inc. “In that context this has a chance to be a small success.”

Google reacts, as Internet users spend more time on social-networking sites. New social features should drag Web surfers to Google’s services and expand advertising sales. Facebook, the most popular social network, captured 13 percent of total hours people spent online in May, while Google attracted 10 percent, according to ComScore Inc.

But Google+ may already be too late: According to ComScore, 180 million people visited Google sites in May 2011, including YouTube, compared with 157.2 million on Facebook. But Facebook users looked at 103 billion pages and spent an average of 375 minutes on the site, while Google users viewed 46.3 billion pages and spent 231 minutes.

What do you think of Google’s efforts? Are you already using Google+ and what’s your first impression?

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