After several prior failed attempts to challenge social media behemoth Facebook, Google introduced a new service on Tuesday that it hopes will finally do the trick.
Called the Google+ project, it’s currently only available to a select group of Google users — they’ll soon be able to invite others — and it will let people share and discuss status updates, photos and links, just like they do on Facebook.
But there’s one key difference: Google+ allows you to share with select groups — like co-workers, friends or the moms in your child’s playgroup — instead of with everyone. It features what it calls “circles,” which are small groups of friends based on how you know them. Google+ also offers group text messaging and video chat.
Bradley Horowitz, a vice president for product management at Google, explains. “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. We have a different model.”
Will it succeed? No way to know right now, of course. It already has its detractors, but it certainly holds promise.
Check out an overview below, and several more detailed videos on Google’s YouTube channel.