Last month, on June 28th, Google announced the launch of their new social networking site “Google +”(Google Plus), and I have to say – I’m intrigued.  First and most importantly, I love the idea of circles – “friends” grouped together based on my relationship with them so I can share things with just my work colleges or my family or my old buddies from school without having to share with EVERYBODY (a great, practical idea that makes you wonder why someone didn’t come up with it sooner).  There are four Circles that are standard, which include “Friends,” “Family,” “Acquaintances,” and “Following.”  You can also create new circles for yourself with any label you choose.   Also, being able to chat with up to ten friends in real-time video is pretty darn cool – for me this would be great for getting together with family members from across the country.  Though this feature is already available on Skype, you have to pay for a premium subscription to access it.  I’ve heard that facebook is all over this and possibly teaming up with Skype to add this to facebook’s features.And then there’s the Huddle – being able to turn multiple conversations into one giant group chat – inspired!  How many times have you found yourself having a bunch of “chat” conversations and trying to keep up with them all and keep them all straight? For me, it seems to happen on a near daily basis, so I’m all over this Huddle function.   Oh, and another cool feature is you can choose NOT to allow comments on updates that you post.  Sometimes those pesky comments on my every move can be quite annoying!  On the flipside, though, re-sharing – the ability for your contacts to re-post your updates at will is also available – don’t know how I feel about that yet.  And one other thing I definitely don’t like is if you already have Picasa, you HAVE to sign-up to share your Picasa photos on Google Plus from the get-go.  Of course, you can adjust your privacy settings to limit who can view your photos but still – reminds me of the Google Buzz disaster when all your Google contacts became a part of your Google Buzz “friends” automatically.  When will Google learn that we want as much control as possible?  Of course, some of this current functionality may change as Google gets feedback from early users.And finally, the last reason why  I’m itching to try Google Plus is that, according to various reports, the security features are better than facebook – yes!  I’ve had so many security issues with facebook that this would be a welcome change – and so tired of all the endless changes facebook makes to their site in the name of increased security.  Not to mention that PC World editors, Megan Geuss and Mark Sullivan,  wrote that this new social networking offering will push Google ahead of Facebook – now that would be something to see.   All I can say is, “Let the networking wars begin!”    

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