Google launches Google+, a quasi-Facebook competitor
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Google on Tuesday unveiled Google+, yet another attempt by the search giant to overcome its past miscues in the social networking space.
More people visit Google's network of websites than Facebook each month, but Facebook is killing the search company in categories that advertisers care most about: Time spent and pages viewed. Users spent 62% more time on Facebook than on Google last month, and viewed more than twice the number of pages on Facebook as they did on Google, according to comScore.
Google's latest solution to this growing trend is Google+, a new social network that tries to out-Facebook Facebook. On Facebook, people are either "friends" or not. Google+ makes that distinction more fluid, letting users group their contacts into smaller categories, such as relatives, co-workers, or members of a yoga class. Information can be shared selectively with each group.
"The subtlety and substance of real-world interactions are lost in the rigidness of our online tools," said Vic Gundotra, Google's senior vice president of social, in a blog post. "In this basic, human way, online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it."
Though Google often denies that Facebook is the company's primary competitor, sources with knowledge of the project say that Google+ was known internally as "Googbook." Google devoted 300 people to the team.
Unlike Google's previous social attempts, such Orkut and Buzz -- which had big, bold launches and are largely considered failures -- Google is moving slowly and cautiously with Google+. It has only been launched for a small group of users, and others need to be invited to the service to use it.