Firstly, for those that have no idea what Google+ is basically it is what Facebook might have been if Facebook was re-designed and implemented based on a plan rather than having grown up organically (bit by bit) from a university project.
The image at left links you over to the Google+ sign up page.
If you can believe what Google are indicating then they have looked into all the technologies and requirements of a designed and planned social networking Web site, and then they have built it fresh and sparkling new from the ground up. They also had an extensive ‘invitation’ only period where they tested and refined how the site would function.
I have not created a Google+ account so I can’t give you any first hand thoughts or comments about what it is or what it does. Even though I am informed (by SCN) that I have a Facebook account—that I do vaguely recall setting up about two years ago—I have not logged into it for at least 18 months and I seriously doubt I could even remember the password. So my Facebook account is in that group of about 35 million ‘stale’ (i.e., unused) Facebook accounts; and I suspect the number is much higher than 35 million but that is the number Facebook are owning up to.
Google+ apparently has these ‘cool’ new capabilities such as Circles, Hangouts, and Sparks. Not having used them I don’t really know what these are or what they do but it seems Circles are collections of people you want to group into different groupings; errr, Circles. Circles can overlap which means there can be people you communicate with in multiple Circles, and different Circles have different levels of access to your ‘stuff’. You can drop stuff into a Circle to share it but it only shares based on the sharing rules for that Circle.
I think Hangouts are probably pretty self explanatory (says he who has never used one). I would suspect that they are communal areas in Google+ where you can ‘chat’ and share other stuff in real time.
And I have no idea what a Spark is.
One of the features of Google+ that is generating interest is the way it handles pictures. Again, I have not used it myself, but the word is that Google+ is much better at handling, tagging, sharing, and grouping pictures than Facebook is. If this is true then this could be a huge draw-card for Google+.
The other somewhat interesting thing about Google+ is that IT people seem to like it. Whereas IT people generally hate Facebook and I don’t know a single IT person who uses Facebook (and I have actually asked all that I know where I work), IT people are getting into Google+.
According to The Week (here) 50 million people have signed up with Google+ in the last 88 days. This is over twelve times faster than Facebook getting to 50 million.