Just received this from OMD Europe. Nice summary of Google+.
"After giving Facebook a long enough head start, Google has again rolled the dice in social networking, a Google+, Google’s latest attempt in the Social Media space, having failed with Orkut, Buzz and Google Wave. This time the focus is on a smarter, intuitive interface with the ability to segment your “friends,” followers and any other group you want to create. The feature is called "Circles".
What made Facebook so popular has been the draw of voyeurism. Facebook is very much a consumption medium where users get more value from reading the updates of their peers than from updating their own status which they do less frequently.
With Google+, as you start to bucket those messages, the volume of chatter and entertainment value could potentially diminish. If people are willing to spend the time to patiently create their Circles, these will be very strong features as the network grows.
There are other features like "Hangouts" (group video chat), and “Huddles” (a mix between Google Talk and Apple’s iMessage) that are generating positive feedback as more and more users try them out.
The jewel in Google+ seems to be "Sparks" – the discovery engine that brings you content based on your interests. You choose and select your interests in order to help the engine bring you content that is most relevant to you.
Another distinction is the Google+ ability to follow a more comprehensive “stream” from followers that are not part of your social circle. In this way, Google+ might very well have struck the right balance between Twitter and Facebook.
Don’t forget how important apps are to Facebook, which are not currently a component of the Google+ experience. Apps like Farmville, Cityville, Empires & Allies or RockYou’s SuperWall drive volumes of usage, which is part of the allure that keeps users coming back to Facebook.
Because Google has expertise in search, Google knows what you want. Facebook knows who you are, and that difference could be a major advantage when it comes to advertising. Facebook has interest data, but Google has intent data.
Google+ may not (yet) be the next big thing, but it will impact the way we locate and share content that we find interesting. Given the growing power of the Android mobile platform, marketers thinking of content development will likely end up using Google+ as the next distribution channel.
While it is too early to give an accurate psychographic and demographic profile, the earliest adopters tended to be heavily skewed male (initial reports at 85%), but as the roll-out has continued, the latest reports put the skew closer to 65% male – and very early-adopter.
Google+ seems to be gaining more momentum than any previous Google social effort, and while many consumers will sign up for and use Google+, it is unlikely that there will be an instantaneous abandonment of Facebook for Google+."
If you haven’t ventured (or been invited yet), follow this link: http://www.google.com/intl/en/+/learnmore/