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Is GooglePlus about to become the new social network?

Published: Thursday, June 30 2011 4:51 p.m. MDT

The famous search engine, Google.com, is branching out to include a social networking site.

The new GooglePlus Social Network was unveiled for the first time on Tuesday, and people began to be use it, by invitation only, on Wednesday night.

Google had to shut down the invitation feature after hundreds of people flooded the new social scene, because of the "insane demand," said Vic Gundotra, Google's head of social. "We need to do this carefully and in a controlled way."

According to VentureBeat.com, the high demand for the new service is "telling."

Although the new project is still in beta testing, it is already producing a lot of hype that previous Google social projects have not had. Some people are even claiming it to be the next big thing in social networking, even pulling users away from popular networking sites like Facebook and FourSquare.

On the project introduction page it outlines the features that may put GooglePlus a step ahead of other social networking sites.

First of all, instead of updating your feed to everyone, GooglePlus gives a user the option of only updating to certain circles. A user can have a friend circle, a family circle and whatever other circles he or she wants. A person only posts information to the circles he or she wants to see the information.

Another feature is Sparks, which pulls articles, videos and other media it thinks a user would like.

There is also a Skype-like feature called Hangouts, which allows users to video chat with friends any time they are available without actually calling them. It is the "unplanned meet-up," according to Google.

For now the invites are still limited, and people are not being added to the project. But people who want to know when GooglePlus opens its doors for all users can go to its website and add their names and email addresses to a waiting list.

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