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As We See It

A glimpse at Google+

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Google+: complete with Circles, Hangouts and Sparks.

Before we start our discussion of what Google+ is or isn’t and what it will or will not do to our current stable of social networks, I’ve got some bad news: It’s full.

“Full” isn’t a word we hear much online, but while it’s still in its infancy (or “field trial”), Google has decided to limit its new social networking/world domination platform to a strict number of users. Whether you’re getting to know its features or jonesing for the chance, here’s a glimpse at what all the fuss is about:

Circles: Google’s answer to Facebook’s privacy issues—you want to share a witty thought, but not with your grandma, your boss and your ex-girlfriend’s mom’s first husband. Circles let you group your friends easily and share posts with only the groups you want to see each one.

Hangouts: If anything can make video chatting less of a pain, it’s this: an informal video chat room that lets you see when your friends are available, engage in group talks with up to 10 people or invite a particular Circle into a Hangout for a business meeting or a fantasy baseball draft.

Sparks Where Facebook allows you to tag interests in your profile, Google+ generates an auto feed of news and web pages related to them. Add a “travel” Spark and you’ll get links to stories on airfare sales, travel essentials and deadly Hawaiian swimming holes.

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