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I got my invitation to Google’s latest effort to take on the world of Social Media, Google+

I always love trying out new things, it’s like getting a new toy that is so full of promise and something you feel might just be everything you hope.

I love Google+.

It’s most talked about feature is “circles”.  Using circles makes it a cinch to put friends into groups – family, colleagues, friends, whatever.  People can be in multiple circles.  And controlling which people see your posts is really easy.  It is a great feature and one that trumps Facebook.  Facebook’s managing of lists has always been clumsy with far too much effort.  So Google+ scores big with that one.

A feature of circles I love is the ability to quickly and easily see only feeds from selected circles.  If you don’t want to see everyones updates simply select the circle you want to see. A great way to keep the newsfeed (sorry, stream) clean.

Other new features:

Sparks:  Following topics of interest is a breeze.  Simply search for a topic that interests you and then add it to your Sparks and you’re now following that topic.

Hangout:  Start a group video chat with up to 10 friends.  Hangouts can also be used to watch a YouTube video as a group.

Many other features are very similar to Facebook – adding links, video and pictures to post is easy.  And of course the “like” button is now the “+1′ button.

The look and feel is clean and minimalistic as is Google’s wont.  In all other respects it’s like a new look Facebook and does many things that Facebook has pioneered.

So it looks good, feels good and will probably do the job.  But the questions is:  Will people sign up?  Coming up against Facebook with its 665 million users is not easy.

Why change?  Anyone with an established community on Facebook will need a very good reason to change.  Is the social web big enough for two massive social media platforms?

But perhaps this is the reason:  Google has a huge advantage over Facebook with its existing services.  Last year Facebook introduced a mail system that hasn’t really gone anywhere.  Google already has a firmly established mail system in Gmail.  On top of that there’s Picassa for photos, YouTube for videos and the ability to fully integrate the “+1” feature into its search.

Interestingly Google+ just received an endorsement from the co-founder of MySpace, Tom Anderson.

Because of Google’s many excellent existing products I believe strongly that Google+ will gain traction.  I further predict that an interconnectivity between Facebook and Google+ will be inevitable.  This will be a case of “mutually assured survival” as the world is not big enough to have two giant social media platforms in isolation.  To draw a poor analogy, you can’t have two massive cell phone networks that don’t allow you to call the others network.

I imagine there are going to be a few tense meetings at Facebook’s Palo Alto offices.

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