The wait is over. Google finally came out with their plans for a social product called Google+ (pronounced Google Plus). This is the same social network project that Google has been denying repeatedly for quite some time.
Interestingly, this launch occurs nearly one year to the day since Kevin Rose tweeted about the impending arrival of Google Me, a Facebook social network competitor (later backed up by former Facebook CTO Adam D'Angelo) and follows months of leaked code names (remember Emerald Sea?) and screenshots.
Technically, according to Google, Google+ isn't a social network. It is an ongoing social project that combines numerous social services into a convenient collection.
Similar to what has been shown when Google Profiles were released, Google+ will have sections for profile information (About), photos, videos, and the equivalent of the Facebook wall, known as the "Stream."
One of the biggest features Google is touting is what they're calling +Circles. Originally thought to be the name of the social network, itself. The Circles feature is Google's way of differentiating themselves from Facebook. It allows you to group your online connections, so as not to share everything with everyone. You may choose with whom you wish to share your posts.
Calling the concept of posting to all of your online friends "sloppy," Google wants to showcase your ability to choose your circles of friends. This is similar to Facebook's lists feature, yet distinctively different and more robust.
+Sparks are a feature that Google hopes will act as an icebreaker of sorts to inspire people to share with others. You select a set of interests and get a feed of content based by Google's new Sparks "sharing engine."
+Hangouts will become an online set of live communications tools for real-time chatting. It will incorporate live, multi-person video chatting for up to 10 people, as well as traditional instant messages.
+Mobile is a set of features for mobile sharing. Along with the announcement of this social project, Google also released a native app into the Android Market and has a mobile Web version of the service for iPhone. Integrating GPS, cameras, messaging and location, Google's mobile features will allow you – if you desire – to add your location to every post. Google also has another optional feature to instantly upload your photos as you snap them.
Google is testing the service with "a small number of people." If you want an invite, you sign up here.
11 Videos About Google+
The Google+ project is so large that Google has released 11 videos on how to use it: