(M2 BespokeNews) – The string of past flops has apparently failed to weaken Google´s resolve to crack the social networking nut and the search engine champion is going for Facebook´s jugular with a platform dubbed Google+.

Google´s most recent dud was Google Buzz, which not only failed spectacularly to live up to its name but also landed its creator in legal trouble over privacy issues.

However, Google believes it has now concocted the right mix of features to secure a permanent place among social media players.

Google+ is organised around four features.: Circles; Hangouts; Huddle; and Sparks. Circles is a tool designed to help users manage their contacts by placing them in different groups and allocating specific content rights to each. Google claims that other social media sites make it difficult to share information with selected groups – a thinly veiled poke at Facebook and its grouping function.

A novelty in the genre is Hangouts, which brings video chats to social networking. Users can get together for some breeze-shooting, joining and leaving the conversation as the fancy takes them. Huddle enables group instant messaging, while Sparks helps people find others that share their interests.

For the time being, Google+ is open only to a select group of users but Google hopes it will not be long before the network is ready to welcome the millions of people who use the company´s services.

It remains to be seen whether Google+ will make a serious dent in Facebook´s armour. The social networking juggernaut has hooked over 500m people and few would probably go to all the trouble of starting from scratch.

Ben Hollom

June 29, 2011