Google PlusReviews on Google+ have not been so kind. Since its public launching on June 28th, 2011, it appears that reception remains lukewarm. As a social networking channel, Google+ fails to impress and is said to be just an imitation of Facebook. The reviews further go on to say that Google was not thinking “out of the box” when it conceived the idea, as Facebook had already hatched the idea five – six years ago.

Although one has to admit that Google+ does have networking features not available in Facebook and Twitter. However, it’s so new people are wondering what it is really all about. Google+ is a social network operated by Google. On the Google home page you will see the +You tab, which opens your world to this social network. It was launched as “by invitation only” platform (similar to how Gmail and Facebook were launched – through invitations), but eventually went public.

Google+ slogan reads “real-life sharing, rethought for the web.” Google creators think that Facebook is still lacking on its sharing features, so it came out with features that enable sharing within subsets called “Circles.” It’s your clique of 5 people in a group of 25 people. These small groups of people whom you can share with are identified as family, friends, co-workers and classmates.

Hangouts take your group of 9 people, from any part of the world, to video chat at the same time. It’s a chat room with exclusivity features. Users click “start a hangout” which takes them in the video chat room. Friends within the Circle can join the hangout.

Photo sharing is also taken a step further with an image editor that enables photo effects. Photos and other media can be viewed, managed and edited through this feature. This tab opens to photos shared and those which you have been tagged in. Privacy options are included. Also signing up for Google+ automatically signs you up for Picasa Web Albums which instantly uploads all your photos to Picasa.

The Search feature gives you updates from your circles, the web and public posts.

It’s hard to say at this point if Google+ will climb up in popularity, attract users and obtain their loyalty. Facebook and Twitter remain as market leaders in social networking, and both were not a bit shaken when Google+ came out. Until its success as a social networking platform is measured by credible third parties, businesses are advised to stick to social networking channels that have proven to bring results to business. However, it wouldn’t hurt to start exploring its possibilities either.