Here's Our Top To Bottom Tour Of Google's Answer To Facebook

google plus

Photo: Screenshot

The result is Google+ is the social network that launched yesterday.It’s a lot of the same stuff we’re already used to with Facebook, but given a Google-fied design twist. In fact, Google+ looks and functions a lot like Facebook, almost embarrassingly so.

Want to see Google+ for yourself? CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT >

We’ve been warned that Google+ is only the first step in Google’s social strategy, but at first blush, it’s hard to imagine how it can win over Facebook users.

There’s almost nothing original with Google+: Groups, video chat, news feed, link-sharing, and group texting. And while it looks pretty, we don’t think it’s a big enough change for anyone to abandon Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. (Unless they really hate those networks.)

We’ve been using Google+ for a day now. Until you get an invite, click below to see what it’s like for yourself.

Link to Picasa so you can store your photos online

Now fill out your profile information. It's basically the same stuff as Facebook: Name, occupation, relationship status, interests, etc.

After your profile is set, you're taken to the welcome screen. Now let's explore...

Here's what the personal profile looks like. It's almost exactly like Facebook's layout.

For some reason, there's a Google Buzz tab, too. Why would you need Google Buzz if you already post your status updates to Google+? Seems redundant.

You can go back and edit your profile at any time.

You have to add personal links to your profile in a separate box on the right

This is the Sparks feature. It's a lot like Google News, letting you find articles, photos, or videos by topic.

Here's an example of the Sparks page for Android news. The stories automatically populate in your stream.

This is Circles, Google's version of Facebook Groups. You'll see your Google contacts pop up here. Drag the people you want to group into a circle below. You can also create a new circle if you want.

We decided to make a new Circle for our college friends.

Now we'll start dragging our college friends into the new Circle.

Sharing updates, links, photos, etc. looks a lot like Facebook too. You post the status, link, photo, or video to the box at the top of your stream.

When you share something, you can choose to only share with one of your Circles or make it public

Whenever someone adds you to a Circle or starts following you, you get a notification like this in the upper right hand corner.

Jay Yarow was nice enough to visit our Hangout. The video chat is almost exactly the same as it is in Gmail, but Google+ lets you chat with multiple people if you want.

If video isn't your thing, you can chat with your Google Talk buddies within Google+. It's exactly the same as Gmail.

Under settings, there are options to choose when you want to be notified about certain Google+ activities. We decided to uncheck all of these.

We like this: Google+ lets you download all your profile information if you want to back it up.

And don't forget to adjust your privacy settings. Our profile is public, but you can keep it limited to your Google contacts and Circles if you want.

If you have an Android phone, you can download the Google+ app. It gives you the option to automatically upload photos you take with your phone to Google+. We took this photo on our Nexus S and it was in our Stream almost immediately.

But at the end of the day, can Google+ replace Facebook?

Our answer: No.

As you just saw, Google+ is essentially a Facebook clone. With the exception of group video chat, there's pretty much nothing you can't do in Google+ that you're already doing in Facebook. We don't see how Google+ 'fixes' Facebook's problems either. The sharing mechanics are almost identical.

Want to know more about Google+?

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