Google announces social network Google+, should Facebook worry?

Google has finally taken the wraps off their long awaited, highly-anticipated (what?) social network, Google+ and it looks like a really clever take on the age-old problem of mapping personal relationships to a virtual space. It will eventually roll out across Google's web properties, but rather than one monolithic service, it's comprised of several parts:

  • Circles, which let you define your relationships and how much you want to share with who and when. These are usually annoying to set up so no one uses them. Google aims to change that.
  • Sparks, which brings you content based on your interests and hopes to strike up conversations
  • Hangouts, which is multi-person video chat. FaceTime is currently only one-to-one...
  • Mobile, which lets you share and upload from your devices (iOS app in the works?)
  • Huddle, a group messaging platform now in competition with the mature BBM on BlackBerry and nascent iMessage on iOS

Google hasn't had much luck with previous projects like [http://www.imore.com/tag/wave/) and Buzz, but this feels both more ambitious and far better considered. Whether it will be enough to put a dent in Facebook's 750 million member and growing dominance of the social space remains to be seen. (See how I snuck them into the post? I thought you did.)

One thing is clear, with Apple integrating Twitter into iOS and introducing Game Center, Ping (no snickering), and replacing MobileMe with iCloud, they're getting more serious (if not yet more adapt) at Social. And Google's just re-entered, once again, that game in a big way. Are you going to switch?

Videos after the break.

[Google blog via Android Central]

Google +

Sparks

Circles

Hangouts

Mobile (Instant upload)

Huddle