Like Me? Follow Me.
It's been a busy week for Google, first all the kerfuffle about Google Wallet and now the global roll out of the search giant's brand new (for most anyway) social network, Google+.
But how exactly does Google+ differ from Facebook, and why should you be using it?
Circles let you organise your friends into groups like 'Friends', 'Acquaintances' and 'Work', and then select who you broadcast content to. For example, if you're sharing a work related article online, you might only want to share it with work friends rather than subjecting your friends to boring industry-related content.
Unfortunately for Google, Facebook has already trumped that functionality by improving it's list offering and sharing options (Google+ has been available on an invite basis for months, giving Facebook just enough time to steal all its ideas, which Google apparently stole from Diaspora in the first place...).
However, I prefer the simpler look and feel of Google+, as opposed to the unholy mess that is Facebook, so I'd be happy to switch networks assuming all my friends are also tempted.
Oh, and don't worry, your friends and connections won't know what circle you've put them in!
Hang outs are a kind of video chatroom - the idea is that friends can stop by and say 'hi' whenever they like, rather than scheduling formal chats in advance. I haven't actually tried this feature out yet, as it's been pretty much 100% online marketing bods on there during the run up to the global launch.
The Google+ mobile app is excellent. It looks great, is easy to use and has some interesting features, such as 'Instant Upload', which instantly uploads (the clue's in the name I guess) photos you take on your phone's camera to a private gallery on your Google+ profile. You can then choose whether to share them with your circles or not.
So are you going to use Google+?
There are plenty more interesting aspects of the Google+ experience, such as Huddles, but I won't go in to it all here - you can try it out for yourself now!
Over the next few weeks we'll find out if Google+ really does have the chops to challenge Facebook's dominance of the social media market - my guess is that they'll have a pretty good stab at it.
All we're waiting for now is the network's business pages, which might just clinch the deal in G+'s favour - although, if they're going to attract businesses they have to attract the market first.
Check out Google+ here.