The quest for a Google social network has been a long one for the famed website. Although Google can do many things, it hasn’t mastered social networking quite yet, at least not to the extent of Facebook and Twitter. Therefore, it hopes that the tide can be turned with the debut of Google+, even though there are some early hiccups.
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Very few users have had a chance to navigate the system since Google sent a limited number of invitations. For everyone else, they can only request a new account by sending their first name email address to the Google Project home page.
According to the Huffington Post, the new platform is supposed to be different from Facebook and Twitter, letting users share with “special groups within their personal network.” This will presumably help users maintain some privacy, which is harder on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, there are more traditional elements like video chatting and content sharing.
Since very few people can see Google+ right now, and the site admits it is still “ironing out a few kinks,” it is hard to judge if the network will pan out right now. When it is fully ready to launch, it will have a hard road ahead considering the tough competition in Facebook and Twitter. But these two social networking giants were once underdogs themselves, and they managed to take over the Internet anyway.
Having the Google name would seem to benefit this latest challenger, since the search engine giant is one of the other big websites in the world. However, one of the few things the site hasn’t succeeded in yet is creating a social network for itself. Orkut failed to make it big after its 2004 debut, and Gmail’s new Buzz option was accused of violating privacy policies.
That may be why Google+ is making privacy a big draw, as users can decide for themselves who to share their social connections with. The Internet isn’t the most ideal place for secure and personal contact, which is a consequence of being able to easily communicate with the world. Yet it seems only a minority mind it too much, given that Facebook has half a billion friends. The pope even just sent his first tweet.
Time will tell whether the Google+ is the next big thing online, and whether it can change the way people communicate on the Web. Although the search engine has the resources to do so, it doesn’t guarantee success. For now, only a few people can see if the site is on the right track, yet more will presumably get the chance in the months ahead.