Google’s Very Own Facebook Is Out

If you’ve gotten an invitation, you can now start using Google+, which is Google’s still-in-development, but quite nifty, version of Facebook. It promises to give you one more place to make status updates, share last night’s scrumptious dinner pictures, see what your friends are up to, and let your boyfriend know that the two of you are definitely no longer an item. As a bonus, Google is throwing in some services like group video chatting and texting.

As things stand, Google+ is the search giant’s most pointed rebuttal to Facebook. It’s also Google’s most polished social networking service. Given the adverse fallout of its previous social networking belly dives — Buzz and Orkut, which engendered a punitive settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and zilch popularity, respectively — Google is being scrupulous about its new network’s sharing mechanisms. As the Official Google Blog takes pains to explain, sharing will not be done wholesale, but piecemeal through designated groups.

The New York Times was not alone in highlighting the following facts:

In May, 180 million people visited Google sites, including YouTube, versus 157.2 million on Facebook, according to comScore. But Facebook users looked at 103 billion pages and spent an average of 375 minutes on the site, while Google users viewed 46.3 billion pages and spent 231 minutes.

Google knows it’s losing its once firm grip on the web’s information because a great deal of online data remains cloistered inside Facebook. Clearly in an attempt at differentiation, Google has left out Facebook’s infamous Friend moniker for the people you add to your groups. Other than that, it seems an awfully lot like Facebook and it can’t be too long before you get an invitation to try it out and compare.

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