At a time when social networking rules the roost in the online space, Google takes a serious leap in this direction with the release of Google+ Project. With much-needed tweaks and enhancements Google hopes that its current attempt will be better received than its past networking failures, but only time will tell if this web search giant has finally mastered the challenges that online socializing presents.

What is Google+

Built on a platform that looks eerily similar to Facebook, Google comes up with a concept that allows sharing of news and updates to specific user groups unlike other networking sites where stories are posted to everyone on the friends list. These pre-defined networks allow users to post updates or private message friends selectively, granting enhanced control to the user with regard to who they share information with. This could be the most significant selling point for Google+, since people are very wary of sharing views and opinions online, and privacy is of the essence. Google Plus also makes impromptu meet-up possible on the web, with ‘hangouts’ that allow networking enthusiasts to choose who to socialize and catch up with.

Google’s Networking History

The first few networking releases from Google were an epic fail, primarily because Google blundered in terms of understanding how people networked online. While business networking is one thing, when it comes to socializing with friends the online space is particularly prone to ‘eavesdropping’. When Google first released Buzz, every e-mail user’s list of contacts were automatically added to their network for easy sharing, but this created widespread criticism simply because users did not necessarily socialize with everyone on their contacts list. Privacy is paramount on the web, and by the time Google recognized this, Buzz had already lost its appeal. Then came Orkut, another Google offering that simply did not take off. Orkut was destined to crash and when a range of networking alternatives such as Facebook and Twitter offered exciting prospects, people simply switched.

Will Google+ Deliver

The fact that Google terms this a project is in many ways clear evidence that this is more of a work in progress, a beta release that will allow room for enhancements to enhance user experience and present a product that will actually appeal to a wider audience. With the ‘strictly by invitation’ marketing ploy proving to be extremely effective, access is currently limited to a select few making it too enticing to resist. Google+ is certainly a milestone release for the Tech giant and marks its most intuitive foray into the networking niche yet.

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