The new Google Plus network, which has currently been under testing by a limited number of users for the past 12 weeks, has been opened up for everyone to join and test as of today.
Although initially invitation only, as in the past with Gmail / Google Mail, in recent weeks it has become much easier to get an invitation to join the site.
Google Plus is Googles attempt to make their search engine ‘social’. On some levels it is attempting to compete with Facebook and many of its features are similar to features in other popular social networking sites. For example friends can be added to different circles (much like lists in Facebook) and content can then be either completely open or restricted to certain ‘circles’ of friends. You can also set statuses, upload photos and many other things you can do on other social networks.
The key difference with Google Plus being that it integrates fully into the Google search engine and can be used, for example, to recommend links / sites found with the search engine to your friends. Also the new Google Hangouts feature, which enables people to have a video call with multiple people at the same time, is likely to be a feature that wins over users. Although many features are similar the unique selling point seems to be the integration with the Google search engine, which is undoubtedly the worlds most popular search engine.
Due to the size of the company and also the popularity of the search engine (along with Googles other products) Google Plus looks set for success. The only question that remains is quite how successful it can become. One thing that is for certain is that there is still a long way for Google to go with its new social tool if it is to compete with the likes of Facebook and MySpace.
Our very own DPS David said: “I have been personally checking out Google Plus over the past few weeks and have found that it is a very promising tool. However, as it currently stands, there is still a long way for it to become a competitor in this market but if Google carries on with the same effort and determination that has seen Google Plus come to life I’m sure they can make a challenge ultimately to become one of the “Big 3″ social networks.”