Google Announces Its Own Social Network, 'Google+'
Google today announced a brand new social networking service called Google+, which aims to tie together a number of ways for users to share with small circles of family and/or friends. Google+ includes online elements such as "Circles", "Sparks", and "Hangouts", and other ways to stay in touch. On the mobile side, Google+ offers some key components to make connecting via phone easier. Google concentrated on making it simple to add GPS/location data to every post (if desired, location data can remain private, too) and upload photos instantly in the background to public/private online albums. The mobile component also includes Huddle, a new group messaging tool that is meant to help small groups coordinate with one another. Google+ is available in the Android Market and will work with Android devices running OS 1.6 and up. Google is also looking to offer an iOS application soon. iPhone users will be able to access a limited version of Google+ via the Safari mobile browser. Google+ is being launched in a limited, invite-only trial. Google hasn't said when the service will expand to more users.
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Here are some videos that Google posted to help demonstrate how the mobile components of Google+ will all work.
Google Further Automates Photos' Creative Powers
Google is improving its Google Photos service by boosting the product's ability to automatically create and annotate albums. Google says Photos will suggest new albums, featuring the best shots, after events/trips are synced online.
Google Folds Google Wallet and Android Pay Into Google Pay
Google today took steps to simplify its mobile and online payment products by combining them into a single service called Google Pay. Moving forward, Google Pay will encompass the features of Google Wallet and Android Pay.
Google's More Social Photos App Now Rolling Out
Google today made its new Google Photos app available to Android and iOS devices, as well as on the web. The revised photo management application adds several hallmark features, including suggested sharing and shared libraries.
Google Voice Gains New Lease On Life with Massive Overhaul
Google today introduced a wholly new version of Google Voice for Android, iOS, and the web. The calling, voicemail, and messaging platform has been overhauled from the ground up with a new design, new features, and a fresh commitment from Google to keep the service updated.
old recipes, same old result?
Until they bundle some slick new technologies that create new social behaviors while integrating better with users' daily lives, Google stands to be left behind, again, and risk becoming the next RIM.
Time to partner up, Google, and leverage your considerable muscle by getting you and your search users inside the thought bubbles of everyone you can see.