Did I say big? This seems big. While Google’s last attempt at social, Orkut, might have been a flop everywhere except Brazil, the Google+ Project is making Facebook look old and stale. Web 2.0 gave us the database-driven webpage and the launch of the social web. Sure, we had AIM, IRC, and tons of other social interactions on the web each day but Web 2.0 made it even larger. Web 3.0, on the other hand, is taking the web to the real world and our real social web.
Announced today on The Official Google Blog, Google+ is a project that bridges people together by enabling communication online and on the go with mobile features. It’s smarter than your flat list of “all the people I know” and allows you to share and interact by your customizable social circles. Taking advantage of Google’s presence in the mobile realm with Android, Google+ is really able to start Web 3.0. We’ve had our fill of “social” and “sharing” experiences that dead-end and even location-based apps like Foursquare seem to have had their hay-days when you question the point of the tedious check-ins. Combine all of these elements together on the web and mobile with a social structure that mirrors our cliques in real life, centered around each of us, and I conject that we have Web 3.0 on our hands with The Google+ Project.
Google’s announcement today went into the details of the different components that make up Google+ and they used plenty of YouTube videos to help explain and promote the new project.
Circles – Define your groups of friends with Circles. From your acquaintances to co-workers to the people that have your back when the zombie apocalypse happens, define a circle and add people to it. Then selectively share to the circle what means something to them.
Sparks – Trim the web down to specific topics that interest you and find people that share similar interests.
Hangouts – Meet up online with live video. It’s a bit like the recently-launched AIM project, AV, but with the rest of Google+’s features to round out the experience and capabilities.
Location – Optionally add your location to your posts to shape your conversations or provide context.
Instant Upload – Your photos go to the cloud instantly after you take them to preserve them and share them with those that matter, if you permit it.
Huddle – Group chat in real-time to make coordinating IRL meetups more natural and get everybody into the same room.
To find out more about Google+, you should start out by checking out the official site: www.google.com/+/ and its Learn More page. You can also view an interactive tour to learn all about the service hands-on.
The Google+ Project isn’t in the usual private Beta, it’s in “limited field testing”. You can request an invite for access to the limited field trial but it’s currently exceeded capacity. As this is a social project, I imagine invites are going to spread like Google Wave since you really have to have other people in Google+ to make the most of it. If your friends get invited, they might later get some invites to bring friends on board.
Even right now, you can download and install the Google+ Android app that includes the Stream, Huddle, Photos, Circles, and Profile components. As expected though, you won’t be able to do anything with it without an invite.
What are your thoughts on Google+? Does this excite you more than current social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn? Do you think this successfully defines Web 3.0? Do you think Google will branch out to include iOS versions of the app or if they’ll hold onto it as a bargaining chip for the Android system?