If you spend time on Google or any of its services, then you may have seen the new black menu bar. Many wondered if this was just some new design from Google. As it turns out, that black bar is a sign from Google that something big is coming. That something is Google+.
Google+ is the newest of Google’s projects to go into invitation beta. While its not Google’s first run at building a social network, Google+ is probably the most extensive. That doesn’t mean that Google is making a big deal of it yet, however. They are trying to keep it quiet, lest it get the build up to a fail that Wave had. You can take a look at the introductory video here.
From the official blog post, Google+ is really designed around Google itself. Their hope is to redesign the way we share online. They will group people into “Circles”, which you get to organize as you see fit. As of now, it pulls contacts from Gmail or Google Contacts.
Once you have circles set up, you get the ability to interact with those people. You can share images, links, or articles. You can even take advantage of “Sparks”, which will allow you to strike up conversations with people in your Circles. Google + also has a video chat service built in that is called “Hangouts” and a mobile application available for Android devices.
This mobile aspect of Google+ seems vital to the service. Google promises the easiest media uploading of any social media service. They are also advertising the “Huddle” feature, which is similar to texting. unlike traditional text messaging, you use data, similar to BlackBerry Messenger or Beluga.
From what I can tell, the potential for Google+ to be big is there. What remains to be seen is whether or not Google+ will actually be successful. As of now, it is in an invitation only beta. In order to check out any of these features, you need to be invited to that beta. I know i have signed up for it and hope to get in soon. If you want to check it out, you can sign up here.