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Google+ vs. FacebookPosted Friday, July 1, 2011, at 1:54 PM
Google+ is coming with its illustrious new features, and it's telling Facebook to move over.
Should Facebook be concerned that its 750 million users will abandon a favorite time-wasting pastime?
Google's blog compared "online friendship services" to fast food, where everyone is wrapped in "friend" paper, and described sharing content online as "awkward."
So here's the non-awkward shiny Google+ toys that aspire to distract you from the familiar blue and white fast-food friendships.
Circles is one of its features. Users can put friends into circles and control who sees what. Think of it like custom Facebook security - not all of your friends have the option to see everything that you post.
A plus for Facebook users who lack common sense to control what they post.
But don't worry, friends won't be able to see what circle you've put them in. Or what you've inappropriately named the circle.
You can also add "sparks" or interests, and get updated on latest news about them. Sparks are kept private unless you want to "+1" them and make them viewable to friends.
As you take photos or videos with your phone, Google+ will instantly upload them to a private folder. You can then choose which ones you want friends to see.
There's also voice and video chatting, and "hangouts," where multiple friends can video chat together.
"Huddles" offer Google+ users to have a group chat on a smart phone, instead of having to text multiple people at once.
Profiles are similar to Facebook - you can control privacy settings about who sees what.
The overall impression is that Google+ is not for tweens or teens; it's for a more mature audience, which means no Facebook drama, i.e., arguments that probably would have never happened in real life.
While some of Google+ seems neat, like huddles and hangouts, it's a poor copy. Somewhere, Mark Zuckerberg is laughing at its pitiful attempts to usurp his social networking empire and plotting a lawsuit.
Remember Google's social networking wannabe apps like Buzz and Wave? Probably not since they ended up being an embarrassing flop.
Right now Google+ is not yet fully public, and you can only use it if you get an invitation as it is in field trial mode. However, you can sign up to get updates of when it will be available.
As a Google user who didn't get an invite, I'm not very disappointed. I signed up to receive an invitation just so I can try it out.
But for now, I'll be sticking with the blue and white.
Take a tour and request an invitation: plus.google.com
* Ashley Miller is a member of the Pilot-Tribune news staff. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.