Thursday, June 30, 2011

Google+ Targets Taking Over Facebook as the GenNext Social Network

Social Media is a dynamic quantity. It has seen so many changes since it's inception at the birth of web 2.0, that there hardly exists any chance that one can accurately predict the time period it would take the sociosphere to reach an equilibrium. This could be clearly seen with Google's steps towards taking over the sociosphere. Google, the largest search and internet enterprise had multiple attempts towards acquiring the social market with projects like Orkut followed by Buzz and then Google Wave. Though some of them saw some success at birth, they finally failed to "conquer" the sociosphere due to some prominent features they lagged in. The web 2.0 era saw many start-ups that quickly took off and acquired the social capital with their out of the box thinking and understanding of the web audience. One such prominent start-up was facebook which was started up in 2003. It took off fairly well and has till date seen enormous success as compared to any other social networking site on the web.

Google, with it's declining number of unique page visits on it's first social network, Orkut, has been thinking over time as to what is it that the social network primarily demands. Google realized it's analytics with Google+, it's long since undercover social networking project. With Google+, Google plans to take over the current market lead in the arena, facebook. Sounds to be a herculean task, aye? But Google is not one of those who accept defeat that easily. We've till date seen Google as an underdog in the social media grounds with Orkut and Buzz being living examples of it's deprivation, but this time it seems to be making every move very carefully. This could be cited with Google launching the Google +1 button a few days back, then changing that global navigation bar above the Google Search home page from gray to black, specifically to suit Google+ theme (See Video above).

Instead of being ill-integrated like Google Buzz, which seemed like a slammed on fake twitter page integrated into one's Gmail account and amputated from the rest of the web, Google+ seems to be well planned and integrated into every Google application through the global navigation bar so as to notify you with updates wherever on the Google web you may be.

Google, though unlike facebook, has tried to visualize the social graph not as a group of interconnected people but instead as a group of individuals belonging to different circles. The concept is referred to as Circles by Google. Other than that, there's a Stream that's similar to facebook's Wall with everyone's status updates showing up as soon as you log in. There's a Sparks page that's like Stumble Upon where people post their recommendations. There is Chat and group chats named Huddles neatly integrated into the page and all those bells and whistles.

One thing that I found interesting though was Hangouts which is like a video chat room among friends or people belonging to a particular circle with a maximum of 10 people capable of joining the vid conf at a particular time. The interesting part is that you initiate a Hangout and it gets updated to every person in the circles and they can voluntarily join in. Sounds interesting right?

The design team seems to have worked out hard enough to polish every part of the web app to achieve the most out of it. There is neat use of HTML5 aiding to manage circles with a pinch of appealing looks adding up the pleasure of it. Also the promo pages seem to look delicious, integrated into a Google Maps like interface with freaking awesome looks.

For further details on the project visit the Google+ overview page or check out this sexy interactive tour by Google for a Google+ demo. The sign up is on an invite basis just like it was for Gmail, yet you can join in for a request here.

What do you think of the Google+ project? Will it be a jaw-dropping success or will it be another disappointment for Google to go through following the tracks of Orkut and Buzz? Let your comments flow. Cheers! Stay connected. :)

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