Earlier this week Google did a soft launch (limited invite only) of Google+ (plus.google.com) a social networking tool done the Google way. Google’s new Gadget sits in your Google tool bar as “+You” right next to your Gmail and Calendar tabs.
Upon clicking your fancy new button you are introduced to the likes of:
For mobile devices there is now Huddle and Instant Upload.
Circles: takes your list of, er, friends and allows you to break them down based on parameters of your choosing. This means that a user can share what she wants with whom she wants, and eliminates the problem of grandmothers becoming the unfortunate recipients of the link that was intended for the frat bros.
Sparks: assumes the role of news and video aggregator. All you have to do is tell Sparks what you enjoy doing when your boss isn’t looking and bam: more time to spend wasting time without wasting your time looking how to waste time. Got it?
Hangout: attempts to recreate the magic of chance encounters that come with, say, a visit to the mall on a Saturday. The only difference here is that now it all happens online through video messaging and you get to choose who you bump into.
Finally, Huddle streamlines group text messaging on smartphones, and Instant Upload automatically takes those pictures and videos on your smartphone and stores them in the cloud for retrieval on another device.
In short, Google+ seems to offer an amalgamation of tools that are, to some extent, already available on the web—except this time its Google flavored. The big question is how adept will Google+ be at guessing exactly what I want to buy and when? My hopes are high as long as I’ve never heard of Google Wave or Buzz.