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Image of Google+ Gets a Leg Up on Facebook - [Google Plus G+]

I Google+ Gets a Leg Up on Facebook - [Google Plus G+]

Google Plus. Google, the most popular Web site on earth, is worried about the second-most popular site. That, of course, would be Facebook.

Why else would Google keep trying, over and over again, to create a social network of the same type? Orkut, Jaiku, Wave, Buzz — Google has lobbed forth one fizzled flop after another.

And now there’s Google+. It’s the latest Google “we wanna be Facebook” project. The difference is, this one’s got a real shot.

Instead of throwing open its doors with a big splash, as it did with the hopelessly confusing Wave and the privacy-challenged Buzz, Google is letting Google+ seep into the world virally. You can’t yet just go sign up; you have to be invited by someone who’s already a member.

Even so, Google+ already has millions of members. That’s not quite 750 million (Facebook’s current tally), but watch out for the network effect.

At first, Google+ looks like a shameless Facebook duplicate. There’s a place for you to make Posts (your thoughts and news, like Facebook’s Wall); there’s a Stream (an endless scrolling page of your friends’ posts, like Facebook’s News Feed); and even a little +1 button (a clone of Facebook’s Like button), which may be where Google+ gets its peculiar name.

But there’s one towering, brilliant difference: Circles.

On Google+, you put the people of your life’s different social circles into — well, into Circles. That is, groups. Categories. Google starts you off with empty circles called Friends, Acquaintances, Family and Following (people you don’t know, but want to follow, as you would on Twitter). It’s a piece of cake to add new ones. They can be tiny circles (“Granny and Gramps”) or big ones (“Family Tree”), organization-based (“Fantasy League Buddies”) or arbitrary (“Annoying People”).

Read the full article on: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/14/technology/personaltech/google-gets-a-leg-up-on-facebook.html?_r=2
 

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