Hands on: Google+ review

Our early verdict on Google's big social push

As a fully fledged social networking service, Google+ isn't there yet. But then it's not meant to be – this is an early version and there will be a lot more to come. Geotagging, for example, is an area currently underdeveloped but that Google will surely spin its Latitude service into.

However, there is a harsh truth here. If Google thinks it has reinvented the social wheel with Google+, it is extremely mistaken. Google+ doesn't go that far into the territory of reinvention – this is a competent rehash of social networking - and of Facebook for that matter - but it's still social networking as we know it. Google+ does precious little that people can't get on Facebook - with the honourable exception of Circles.


The Circles feature is cool, but it's not a reason to swap out your Facebook profile. Twitter is another headache for Google – there is nothing here to rival it, but that probably isn't its intention. After all, while Twitter itself knows relatively little about people, Facebook knows a lot about each and every one of us that has a profile – it's this strength in being able to tailor ads, services, searches and more that Google wants to replicate.


Google+ is a compelling way of sharing content with specific groups of people (expect Facebook to intro such a feature as soon as it can be done). And since we joined on Friday, we've found a lot of tech types have joined the service and started sharing stuff. Maybe it could well have a groundswell of support from the early adopter community. But is that enough?


It could be. But the success of Google+ will depend on one thing – how many friends you have on it and what contact you make with people. If your friends all leave Facebook, so will you. But is that likely now that Facebook has become such an integral part of many of our lives?

Some people have growing privacy concerns over Facebook sharing, but despite those behind Google+ saying that security and privacy is of utmost concern, people just don't want to put all their eggs in one basket.

As people aren't that enthused to have all their services run by Microsoft or Facebook, the same goes for Google.


Google will hope that Google+'s deep integration into the Google nav bar and other services (not Google Apps as yet we notice) will encourage takeup and we wouldn't bet against Google becoming a third large social player behind Facebook and Twitter. But it needs to have some more compelling features to add to Circles before it can think about having that level of strength.


Liked this? Then check out Google+: everything you need to know

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