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Google+ introduced as Facebook competitor

by Kelly MacNeil on June 29, 2011

After several unsuccessful tries, Google introduced on Tuesday what it hopes will be its answer to the social networking craze. Dubbed Google+, the project is expected to compete with Facebook by appealing to smaller circles of friends while offering greater privacy protection.

In addition to paring things down from the larger scope of Facebook, Google+ will also offer users a number of features the company hopes will make it a go-to networking site. Among the tools it provides users are group text messaging and video chatting. It will also make use of the company's other platforms including Google Buzz and Google Profiles.

Bradley Horowitz told The New York Times that the ability to limit who users disseminate their info to will set it apart from other options.

"In real life, we have walls and windows and I can speak to you knowing who’s in the room, but in the online world, you get to a 'share' box and you share with the whole world," he told the Times. "We have a different model."

Although it is an ambitious move, some industry analysts believe that it may be too little, too late, as Google was slow to adapt after Facebook and Twitter cornered the market on social networking.

According to Bloomberg, Facebook outperformed Google in terms of total hours spent online in May. Users spent 13 percent of total hours on Facebook, compared to just 10 percent on Google and its other sites, including YouTube.

Still, there are some insiders who believe that Google+ has a chance for at least some success due to its niche appeal.

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