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Keeping it Real – Social Networking gets personal again with Google +

Google has unveiled Google +, its unique take on the way we view social networking. Beginning with You and reaching out to your Circles of friends in a much more personalised sharing experience than anything currently available.

Online socialising has never been more popular, but as a result many of our true friendships are becoming devalued with the impersonalilty of some of these social networks. Online socialising just isn’t that social. Most of us have a “Friends List” and it’s just that – a list. It may be comprised of people we know in “real-life” or people we know through the internet only and through mutual interests – but they all line up the same.  With this in mind Google’s social platform will allow us to create +Circles – Importance-based friend lists.

“Not all relationships are created equal” claims Google. We’ve all read things on Facebook (and we’re all guilty of posting things) that not everyone in our vast list will care about. Some of our friends are closer and more important to us than others. Some are trusted, some are more like aquantences. So the Google+ empasis is on separating our mates into categories, or +Circles.

Got pals you only game with but wouldn’t share details of your day with? You can drag those pals into a customised circle so you can partake in specific gaming chat with that group. Or, if you only want your pub mates to read about your weekend anecdotes, that’s another circle. Got family news? There’s another circle. Google+ will make it simple to “drag” certain someones into relevant connections, so we only share with “certain people at certain times” as Google says.

Sharing interests with the unique +Sparks engine will add to the widespread social networking on Google+. More personal than a “Like” – this will throw up your interests to the social domain and “spark” free-flowing conversation amongst anyone with the same interest. If you’re interested in a specific football team or maybe comic book movies for example, you’ll be united with the fanboy community online to pick faults and plot-holes or talk about your favourites to your heart’s content. These are the things you want to talk about, when you want to talk about them. Instead of throwing up something very few of your friends might like (and getting that disappointing “no likes/comments”) this will target like-minded folk within the Google+ community and help you to make new friends with mutual interests.

+Hangouts will undoubtedly bring with it Skype comparisons, but works in a similar way to Facebook chat. An open forum community which Google refer to as being on your “front porch” – open to live video chat with anyone in a specific circle – “face-to-face” in a casual, unplanned and breezy way with one other or multiple friends. Google say you can “drop in” and “drop out” of an ongoing +Hangout throughout the day – it won’t stop when you leave.

+Location is a “Places” like feature which gives you the opportunity to let your friends know where you are at any time by tagging a post with a place. This one’s been widely discussed regarding other social networks in privacy debates, but Google+ will let you take or leave this option. Tell people where you are, or keep it private – It’s up to you.

Photo sharing gets simpler with the addition of +Instant Upload. This doesn’t, as the title may suggest, instantly upload any photo you take with your smartphone to the Google+ network. It means that your image will instantly go to cloud storage, so that any time you do wish to share with your +Circles, the photo or video is readily available.

For arranging a group event there’s +Huddle – which is pretty much that – on a 21st century social network level. Bring all your buds together for a brainstorming sesh about where to go, and when to meet, change or rearrange plans. Google+ makes it easy to include a select group of friends and keep everyone in the loop.

Google+ has been in progress for “over a decade” and is now in its trial form (by invitation only). We like what we’ve seen and heard so far, so can’t wait to try it for ourselves when the Google social experience arrives. We’d love your opinions on this, so be sure to leave your tweets and comments on this or any of our articles on the official Gadget Helpline Twitter – as well as our official Facebook page! (And no doubt, we’ll see you on Google+ soon!)

Source: Google Blog