June 29, 2011
Google+, the tech giant’s answer to Facebook, arrived yesterday with a lot of hype and promise. And while Google has not yet released a native iOS app for the service just yet, the service’s Apple ties along makes it worth discussing here. What Is Google+? With My Space largely forgotten, Facebook pretty much controls the entire social networking landscape. With that in mind, Google has released its “Facebook killer” service, appropriately named Google+. Of course, this isn’t Google’s first foray into Facebook’s turf. Remember Google Buzz? How about Orkut, or Google Wave? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Google+, which is currently in a closed beta, lets users share and discuss status updates, photos and links, much like Facebook does. Google+’s top selling point, however, is that it is meant for sharing with groups of people and not with everyone you’ve ever meet online or in real life. In other words, Google is hoping there is a market for people that only want to discuss details about their life with a select group of friends, not everyone. For example, with business associates, roommates, or those couples you and your significant other vacation with each year. The Apple Pedigree Even though Google has yet to release a native Google+ app for iPhone/iPod touch, it comes with an Apple pedigree. Andy Hertzfeld, who was one of the lead developers of the Mac’s original graphic user interface, is the lead designer behind Google+ In fact, Hertzfeld is said to have had “free rein” on the project, according to Apple Insider. "With colorful animations, drag-and-drop magic and whimsical interface touches, Circles looks more like a classic Apple program than the typically bland Google app," said Levy, author of the book "In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works And Shapes Our Lives." Therefore, I’d expect quite a few Apple customers will tryout Google+ due to Hertzfeld’s involvement alone. About That iOS Availability Not surprisingly, Google chose to launch Google+ on its Android devices first. However, that doesn’t mean the service won’t work on iDevices, even today. Pointing to plus.google.com through Mobile Safari will give users a nice HTML5 interface and most of the Google+ tools. Meanwhile, the native iOS app is coming soon. In fact, TechCrunch reports it is Apple, not Google, which has delayed the app’s launch. Apparently the app remains “in review” in Apple’s app approval process. When Can I Get It Google+ is in closed beta. In other words, Google must invite you to join and so far you can’t even request one of those invitations. However, we are told that existing Google+ customers will soon be able to email invitations to others and thereafter, full membership availability will follow. Summary It will be interesting to see if Google has learned from its past social networking mistake and is really onto something with Google+. Still, it won’t be easy. Facebook currently has 500 million users worldwide, and I wonder how many of those will use two social networking sites or decide to switch to Google+ exclusively. Perhaps, not that many. Yet, as someone who craves competition, I hope Google+ becomes a success. For more information on Google+ visit the official site or view this video: What do you think? Ready to tryout Google+? Let us know by using the comments below.