Google goes social with Facebook rival

Published: June 30, 2011
We'd like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software: Google's senior vice president.

We'd like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software: Google's senior vice president.

WASHINGTON: Google, the king of Internet search but a bust on the social front, launched its rival to Facebook on Tuesday, a social networking service called Google+.

“Online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it,” Google’s senior vice president for engineering Vic Gundotra said in a blog post about the long-awaited social networking initiative from the Internet giant.

Unveiling Google+, Gundotra stressed the ability it gives users to separate online friends and family into different “Circles,” or networks, and to share information only with members of a particular circle.

“We’d like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software,” he said. “We want to make Google better by including you, your relationships and your interests.”

One of the criticisms of Facebook is that updates are shared with all of one’s friends unless a user has gone through a relatively complicated process to create separate Facebook Groups.

“Not all relationships are created equal,” Gundotra said. “So in life we share one thing with college buddies, another with parents, and almost nothing with our boss.

“The problem is that today’s online services turn friendship into fast food – wrapping everyone in ‘friend’ paper – and sharing really suffers,” he said.

Google+, located at, is currently being tested by a small number of people or is available by invitation only.

But Google said in a message on the site that it “won’t be long before the Google+ project is ready for everyone.”

Google unveiled several new tools integrated into Google+, including “Hangouts,” which allows for video chatting among friends, “Mobile” for location-sharing and “Huddle” for group text messaging.

Photos and video can be uploaded and shared among Circles using a feature known as “Instant Upload,” while an online sharing engine called “Sparks” delivers content from the Web into a user’s feed.

Google dominates Internet search but the Mountain View, California, company has failed to make inroads on the social networking front, where Facebook has accumulated nearly 700 million users and Twitter around 200 million.

Former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, speaking at the AllThingsD technology conference last month, took responsibility for the company missing the wave when it came to making services social, saying “I screwed up.”

Google’s last major foray into social networking – Google Buzz, launched in February 2010 – spawned a slew of privacy complaints and led to a slap on the wrist from the US Federal Trade Commission.

Under a settlement between the US regulator and Google announced in March, Google is required to implement a comprehensive privacy program and will be subject to independent privacy audits every two years for the next 20 years.

Google+ makes its debut as Google and Facebook wage a fierce battle over online advertising dollars and how people navigate the Internet.

Google does not send people to Facebook and vice versa, and both companies are seeking to become the chief gateway to the Internet.

In May, Facebook was left red-faced after acknowledging it had hired a prominent public relations firm to draw attention to privacy practices at Google.

Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of technology blog, said in a blog post it was “anyone’s guess” as to whether Google+ would be successful.

“If you’re happy using Facebook, there seems relatively little to make you want to switch over to Google Plus, at the moment,” said Sullivan, who received an early glimpse of the new service from Google.

“Perhaps if there are people who want a Facebook alternative, Google’s now got a core to build on for them.”

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Reader Comments (10)

  • psihokiller4
    Jun 30, 2011 - 11:13AM

    well my opinion is to get peolpe search as netlog has it so not only that you’re able to search for friends but even out of friend network to find somekind of relationship

    witch I think many people seek trough internet including me

    some people prefer games on facebook (don’t know why)

    that’s reason I’m on netlog and not facebookRecommend

  • Bilal
    Jun 30, 2011 - 11:13AM

    Google+ is surely going to be a fierce competitor of Mark Zuckerberg’s facebook!Recommend

  • sidrah.moiz
    Jun 30, 2011 - 12:09PM

    Awww I love the colourssss!Recommend

  • Imran
    Jun 30, 2011 - 12:14PM

    Man i am going to love it!Recommend

  • Jun 30, 2011 - 12:19PM

    I think it is good to have a rival to facebook, it will bring innovation and improvement in social networking. I have a big network of friends on facebook but I am a google family member too, using gmail, blogger and android. So I will be happy to move to google plus even if I have to face a period of transition finding friends over there.Recommend

  • Ali
    Jun 30, 2011 - 12:22PM

    Now FB will face a real challange.Recommend

  • Jun 30, 2011 - 1:06PM

    i hate face book annoying all the time saying abt invitation and not joining etc etccRecommend

  • Ali
    Jun 30, 2011 - 2:25PM

    this is good, i dont use facebook, as everyone knows everything about you, and sometimes ppl tag you in a photo etc. Recommend

  • Paras Vikmani
    Jun 30, 2011 - 2:55PM

    Orkut was a flop.
    Even Google + would be a flop.Recommend

  • Haider Hussain
    Jul 7, 2011 - 12:29PM

    I dont like Facebook at all… I don’t know why people are so crazy about it!!! Goolge’s idea of keeping everyone in different circles seems excellent.Recommend

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