Google Announces the Google+ Project

Not to be confused with Google +1, Google+ is the search engine’s newest attempt at improving the social media networking experience. Google isn’t branding it as a social network, per say, but rather as a project.

According to Google:

“Among the most basic of human needs is the need to connect with others. With a smile, a laugh, a whisper or a cheer, we connect with others every single day.
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.
In this basic, human way, online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it.”

The Google+ project includes four components. The first of which is called +Circles. Sound familiar? Probably because there were rumors going around a few months ago that Google was launching a new social service called Google Circles. Turns out the rumor was true (partially). +Circles allows users to “share what matters, with the people who matter most” because “not all relationships are created equal”. +Circles allows users to share selectively and choose who sees what. +Sparks is an online sharing engine that delivers content from across the Internet on any topic that the user wants that is easy to share with friends. +Hangouts combines a casual meetup with live multi-person video. It lets users stop by when they’re free to hang out with their Circles face-to-face. +Mobile focuses on making your mobile device even more personal.

Of course, some of the features of the Google+ project look more promising than others. Now we’re left to think about a few things. First, will people use it? Google has attempted to be more “social” in the past with Buzz and Wave and neither one really took off. For now, people seem content with the social networking site that they have come to know and trust (Facebook and Twitter) but that could certainly change.

Second – will this effect SEO? Since it’s Google’s own product (excuse me, project) you have to wonder if a link shared in +Sparks will carry more weight? Google has confirmed that it uses social signals as a part of its ranking algorithm. Will this result in an even bigger shift towards concentrating on social media in the world of SEO?

For now the Google+ project is by invitation only. However, you can sign up to be notified when Google is ready to invite more people.

Do you like (+1?) the idea of the Google+ project? Do you think it will change the social media or SEO game?

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