Google has unveiled the firm's long awaited entry into social networking with Google+ project, describing the service as and rethought for the web.
The project consists of a number of individual components prefixed with the + moniker including +Circles, +Sparks, +Hangouts, +Mobile and +Huddle. The goal of Google+ project is to "bring nuance and richness of real-life sharing," wrote Google engineering boss Vic Gundotra on the Google Blog.
"Today, the connections between people increasingly happen online. Yet the subtlety and substance of real-world interactions are lost in the rigidness of our online tools," said Gundotra.
At the heart of +Circles is the idea that individuals often share information within their own social circles rather than a blanket share/not share decision. Google's big idea is allowing the categorisation of contacts into customised circles with different levels of settings such as work, parents, boy friends, girl friends and so on.
Other Google+ services appear to be boring lessons from previous Google projects such as Wave and Buzz with +Sparks aimed at helping users find and discuss matters of common interest and +Hangouts as a collaborative real-time chat with video.
The internet giant described the Google+ project as a 'field trial' and as with many previous Google launches requires an invitation to gain access. Gundotra also warned in crimson italics that users "may find some rough edges" but insisted that "online sharing needs a serious re-think, so it’s time we got started."
Google has oft been criticised for lacklustre efforts in social networking at a time when Facebook threatens to become an all-conquering force in social. Google's marketing of Google+ is quite telling, specifically targeting areas as privacy and 'data liberation', the latter the subject of an ongoing dispute between Facebook and Google.
"You and over a billion others trust Google, and we don’t take this lightly," said Gundotra betraying a renewed focus on avoiding the privacy controversy that have continuously embroiled Facebook and Google's own Buzz service.
Gundotra concluded by saying the firm is "giving you more ways to stay private or go public", linking a video representing the settings features of Google+ in which the narrator concludes that Google+ "makes it easier to choose how you represent yourself and who you share with on the web."
In addition to the new Google+ website, the Google Blog has a string of small videos embedded in the announcement, beginning with the video introduction to Google+ which you can see below: