Google Circles: A Major New Social Network

By on March 13, 2011

ReadWriteWeb has confirmed details of Google’s development of a major new social network called Circles. The service will offer photo and video sharing along with status updates that can be sent to specific, customizable social circles.

Google is expected to be in the final stages of development and may be showing off a preview at the SXSW conference today. Update: Google has said they will not announce anything. ReadWriteWeb learned from those suspected to be working on the project that it may not be under development currently after-all.

Update Jun 29: Google Circles is now in private beta testing and has been dubbed Google+ (Google Plus). The team was working in stealth mode afterall. Well played. You can view this Google+ demo to get an early look.

[Image: Michael Chen, Circles, February 26, 2006 via Flickr Creative Commons]

Social circles are how our real lives are structured; close friends, family, co-workers, and dozens of special groups and interests.

Where Facebook groups and Twitter lists have failed, Google Circles may be able to rope-in a massive audience of users seeking a more personal, organized network with more freedom of expression.

I originally published this story on my personal website when rumors of Google’s interest in a social network product came about last year. The project name has had several iterations from Google Me to Loop and now I believe it may be finalized as Google Circles.

The lead user experience researcher for Google, Paul Adams published a very interesting presentation (embedded below) that points out the fundamental flaws of Facebook’s social network experience.

Instead of one mass list of friends, our true social networks are segmented into various groups of people. Social groups sound like an excellent idea that would be widely adopted. A little competition will do the social industry good and spur innovation that much faster.

There isn’t anyone better suited to take on Facebook than Google. However, I don’t see what is to stop Facebook from implementing similar grouping features.

I can’t help but cheer on Google Circles as Facebook’s tactics for world domination are continually shown as less than honorable. I also can’t wait to be empowered to share unique and relevant content to many diverse social circles.

Google Circles should prove to be a great communication medium for personal and business networking and marketing. The question is, will you be in or out of the circle? Please leave a comment below with your thoughts.


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About Mark Fulton

Mark is the Founder of DotSauce Magazine and a full time web developer, domain investor, SEO and online marketing professional residing in North Carolina, USA. Visit MarkFulton.com for information on freelance website development, SEO and consultation services.