It’s hard not to notice the slow and gradual way Google has either consumed or become a part of various reaches of the internet. Like a Symbiote, Google has slowly merged or replaced some of our favorite things, most of the time for the better. Now the internet giant plans to take on Facebook with a social network all its own.
Google+, only searchable under Google Plus for now, is Google’s answer to a big problem. Facebook is more than a little famous for its seedy security breaches and leaked information about its users. Google+, above all things, promises a more secure social networking experience. Privacy options won’t be a confusing mess of having to find another new sharing option to “un-click” every time Facebook updates and decides to publicly share a new aspect of users’ profiles. Moreover, users can actively pick and choose which social circles and groups of people they share certain information with. This is called Circles, and any person the user wants can be added to a set group of friend, whether they too have Google+ or not. The user’s friends and family need not make an account to be added and interacted with.
Sparks already seems like a much better version of the Facebook feed. It will allow users to share things they are interested in and generate discussion in a sleek and organized way. It almost seems like a combination of Tumblr with a smarter version of the Youtube comment option attached. Posts can be tagged for anyone else that may want to search the same interest and an algorithm in part generated by people’s use will keep users in the know of new things concerning the topic.
Hangouts, like Skype or Tinychat, allows users to meet online via webcam and chat. Up to ten users can join, coming and going as they please. Mobile, another on-the-go way to keep communication going, lets users tell friends their location (or not). Users can also send messages to a chosen group of people at once from their phone. Uploading pictures online from the user’s phone, still a hassle on most sites, can be done instantly. The photos automatically turn up in a private album on the user’s Google+ account, where they can pick and choose who to share them with.
However, all of these features are just a fraction of the options Google is looking to make available to Plus. This is actually one of their biggest endeavors yet and hundreds of engineers have been working on “Emerald Sea”, the code name for Google+ chosen to keep the project under wraps for the last year. There are over 100 launches in store for Google+, an amount that’s almost overwhelming. It already seems like it will be much more than Facebook, but with over 100 more announcements on their way, it’s hard to imagine just how many bells and whistles can be added.