Google tried its hand at social networking with Buzz, but ultimately failed at what seemed like an honest effort. It tried to buy Twitter and Facebook in the past, but couldn’t manage that, either. So, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Again. That’s what the search giant is hoping to do with Google+.
At first glance, it looks a lot like a watered-down version of Facebook. However, instead of just passively sharing messages, updates and media online, you can also organize your friends, family and colleagues into groups so you can control who sees what content you share. Being a Google product, you can also chat and video chat with friends via Google+ in the “Hang out” section.
While the new social networking service will see a slow, gradual roll-out (which just might hurt it in the end), perhaps the most important key to its success is mobile adoption and execution. Much of our social networking is conducted on mobile devices these days, whether it’s a smartphone or a tablet, and the features that are key to Google+ have to be just as smooth and seamless on mobile devices.
An Android app for Google+ already exists, and the video demo shows what you can do with the mobile application. Aside from location-based search and sharing, along with what your friends are sharing on their streams, you can also instantly upload photos as you shoot them and choose which photos to share with whom later. But since Google+ is still invite-only, you’ll need an invitation in order to log into the app. An iOS version is coming for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users soon.
While the desktop client looks pretty good from the screenshots and video demos we’ve seen so far, smartphone is where this new service will be made or broken. In order to compete with the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare, the folks in Mountain View really need to focus their efforts into making sure this isn’t just another reactive, copycat service that no one will care about after a year or so.
See the video demo to see what the hype is all about.