After dabbling with Wave and going halfway with Buzz, Google has come forward with a concerted, complete solution in the social space. It’s called Google+–the culmination of the not-so-secret project, Emerald Sea. And it covers so many aspects of online social networking that it appears to be destined for widespread use. Google’s first big advantage is in the number of people already using Google. For this reason, + is poised to see adoption more rapid than virtually any other social network. Organizing friends on the network is as easy as naming a group and dragging people into it, as seen in the video above. These groups are called circles. But here’s something new: a person doesn’t have to be a member of + to be included in a group; you only need their email address. Hassle-free, non-nagging invites/ad links could make for an effective recruiting method.
Here’s where Google intends to spice up the social networking package: with video conferencing. But don’t worry about everyone getting there on time. Google Hangouts essentially let you set up a room that people can virtually wander in and out of. Sure, some of your buddies will choose to hit the bar on Saturday night, but if you want to hang out with your Iowan friend Stanley while playing PS3, a Google Hangout will provide the venue. Seems like a great solution for off-hour business meetings as well.
So, what about news and other information? Enter Sparks. Sparks is much like Facebook’s news feed, except that, with Google’s indexing and search capabilities behind the curtain, content could be laser focused on your hobbies. The content is interest-based and tied with your friends. You see that little “+1″ button at the top of this post? ” You’ll be seeing a lot more of them very soon.
Google has changed the way we search the web, manage email, (indirectly) share video, schedule our lives, utilize our phones, view cloud computing, navigate the globe, choose a restaurant, and so many other daily tasks. Perhaps the reason they’ve waited to really dive into the social realm is that they just wanted to get it right. Google+ is currently available in the Android Market, but only for a pilot demographic. Invites required.