Sunday, 10 July 2011

Google Plus Wiki | Google Plus Impact, Censorship and number of users

Google+ is a social networking service operated by Google Inc. The service launched on June 28, 2011 in an invite-only testing phase. The following day, existing users were allowed to invite friends, who are above 18 years of age, to the service to create their own accounts. However, this was quickly suspended in a day after there was "insane demand" for accounts.Google+ will be built as a layer that not only integrates different Google social services, such as Google Profiles and Google Buzz, but also introduces many new features including Circles, Hangouts, Sparks and Huddles. Google+ will also be available as a desktop application and as an application on Android and iOS operating systems. Sources such as The New York Times have declared it Google's biggest attempt to rival the social network Facebook, which had over 750 million users in 2011.Recent survey shows that about 100 Million users are registered in Google  Plus.


  • "Circles" enables users to organize contacts into groups for sharing, across various Google products and services. Although other users can view a list of people in a user's collection of circles, they cannot view the names of those circles. The privacy settings also allows users to hide the users in their circles as well as who has them in their circle. Organization is done through a drag-and-drop interface. This system replaces the typical friends list function used by sites such as Facebook.
  • "Huddle" is a feature available to Android, iPhone, and SMS devices for communicating through instant messaging within circles.
  • "Hangouts" are places used to facilitate group video chat (with a maximum of 10 people participating in a single Hangout at any point of time). However, anyone on the web could potentially join the 'Hangout' if they happen to possess the unique URL of the Hangout.
  • "Instant Upload" is specific to Android mobile devices; it stores photos or video in a private album for sharing later.
  • "Sparks" is a front-end to Google Search, enabling user to identify topics they might be interested in sharing with others; "featured interests" sparks are also available, based on topics others globally are finding interesting.
  • Through "Streams," users see updates from those in their circles, updates similar to Facebook's news feed. The input box allows users to enter a status update or use icons to upload and share photo and videos.
The introduction of Google+ has had an impact on the design of Google's web search service, due to the graphical redesign (mistakenly attributed to Andy Hertzfeld). There have been refinements alongside speculation of a much wider impact once Google+ is fully rolled-out,including some redesign of Google Maps, Google Mail and Google Calendar. Initial consumer reaction to Google plus has been positive.
In particular, there are changes to Picasa Web Albums:

  • After tagging someone, they receive a notification and can see the photo and the related album.
  • For new albums, anyone an album is shared with can see who else it is shared with.
  • Albums someone shared can be tagged and re-shared by others.
  • Photos up to 2048×2048 pixels and videos up to 15 minutes won't count towards the 1 GB storage quota for Google+ users (it's 800×800 pixels for non-Google+ users), creating "virtually unlimited" storage for mobile users

Within a day of the website's launch, various news agencies reported that Google+ was blocked by People's Republic of China. This is part of a wider policy of censorship in Mainland China.

Required information at subscription:
Subscription to the service requires mandatory name and gender disclosure, which are publicly shared. The gender selector has options for "Male," "Female" and "Other." This requirement has been criticized for causing lack of privacy and, together with Facebook and other social networks, for forcing the user to choose among limited categories that describe preconceived gender descriptors. The mandatory public gender exposure led to criticism for making older Google profiles public.

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