There was an immeasurable distance between the quick and the dead: they did not seem to belong to the same species; and it was strange to think that but a little while before they had spoken and moved and eaten and laughed - W. Somerset Maugham
MOBILE SOCIAL NOTWORKERS rejoice, you have another vapid gas pipe through which to discuss Justin Bieber and your weekend, as in a move that has surprised no one Google has announced Google+.
Google announced Google+ late last night and it's available now through the Android app store and online - however both are currently closed for new users.
Unless you count the ill-fated Buzz, the internet search and advertising company's foray into social notworking has been a long time coming.
Fitting then that it includes a lot of gewgaws. "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," wrote Vic Gundotra, SVP for engineering at Google.
"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."
Fixing online sharing, according to Google, means throwing a lot of applications at it, and the firm's social notworking roster is full of plus-signs.
Current options, the like of which we can't imagine, are "sloppy" according to Gundotra, and "scary" because they are too open.
"It's sloppy. We only want to connect with certain people at certain times, but online we hear from everyone all the time," he added, "It's scary. Every online conversation (with over 100 'friends') is a public performance, so we often share less because of stage fright. It's insensitive. We all define 'friend' and 'family' differently - in our own way, on our own terms - but we lose this nuance online."
Because of this the firm has asked how people use their social networking applications, and decided that they do this within circles. So, for example, with just their work colleagues or with their friends. At Google+ these, we learn, are called "+Circles".
Another facet of the Google+ social notworking approach are "+Sparks", which are designed for sharing things that you find on the web. Although this sort of thing already exists, Google presumably thinks that adding its name to the act, and giving it a dot-commy name, will be enough to make people adopt it.
"The web, of course, is filled with great content-from timely articles to vibrant photos to funny videos. And great content can lead to great conversations. We noticed, however, that it's still too hard to find and share the things we care about-not without lots of work, and lots of noise. So, we built an online sharing engine called Sparks," Gundotra added.
"Thanks to Google's web expertise, Sparks delivers a feed of highly contagious content from across the Internet. On any topic you want, in over 40 languages. Simply add your interests, and you'll always have something to watch, read and share-with just the right circle of friends."
That's not the only plus though, Google also announced "+Hangouts", which are places for hanging out and saying things like 'LOL', 'ROFL', and "I'm wasting my life". Then there's "+Location, location, location", which is an annoyingly named location tracker, and "+Instant upload", which is for uploading photos from a phone.
The beta of Google+ is closed for now. µ
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