Google on Tuesday take another increase into the social space with Google+, which aims to connect people via particular friendship circles, interests, location, and more.
Google+, which is currently working via a “field trial,” has four main components: Circles, Sparks, Hangouts, and Mobile.
“We’d like to take the hint and wealth of real-life sharing to software. We want to make Google better by including you, your relationships, and your interests. And so begins the Google+ project,” Google said in a blog post.
Google+ begins with Circles, which helps group all the people in your life. Google took a take at Facebook, in conflict that putting everyone under the “friends” label hurts the ability to share. It becomes poor, frightening, and not sensitive, the search huge said.
“From close family to foodies, we found that people already use real-life circles to convey themselves, and to share with correctly the right people. So we did the only thing that made sense: we brought Circles to software,” Google said. “Just make a circle, add your people, and share what’s new—just like any other day.”
Now that you have your friends sorted into Circles, what are you going to talk about? With Sparks, the idea is to connect with people on topics that interest you both. “It’s still too hard to find and share the things we care about—not without lots of work, and lots of noise,” Google said.
The company promised a “feed of well catching content from across the Internet” so you’ll always have something to watch, read, or share “with just the right circle of friends.”
What if you’re not sure what you want to chat about? Hangouts, a video-chat option, basically lets people know that you’re available and ready to talk. Google argued that traditional instant message or chat services are annoying and uncomfortable: you’re certainly interrupting someone and if they don’t respond, are they not there or just ignoring you?
“By combining the informal meetup with live multi-person video, Hangouts lets you stop by when you’re free, and spend time with your Circles. Face-to-face-to-face,” Google said.
Meanwhile, Google+ also includes a group messaging option known as Huddle.
Google is currently testing the project with a small number of people, but you can sign up to be notified when it opens to a larger group. The company said Google+ is also available today on the Android Market and mobile Web, and is coming to the Apple App Store soon.
The announcement comes the same week that Google opened up its +1 sharing button globally. The feature lets you recommend certain Web sites with the click of a button, much like you might “like” something on Facebook.
In recent months, Google has insisted that it will not launch a separate social network to fight with the likes of Facebook, but instead combine social components into existing products.