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Google+ for social media geeks... for now

Take the groups, lengthy posts and privacy controls of Facebook, blend it with the information overload and new-user discovery benefit of Twitter, and voilà: Google+ is born.

Google is trying its hand again at social networking with Google+ (also called “Google Plus,” or if you want to sound like a techie, just write it as G+). It operates on putting people in “circles” like acquaintances, best buds, swim team, work colleagues. Those users will never know which “circle” you threw them into — but they do know you are interested in following their public posts.

What makes it more evolved than Twitter is that you can separate which group, er, I mean “circle,” can see that message. So both people don’t have to agree to be friends to see a feed of activity, but there’s more control over who sees a post than on Twitter.

There’s a little bit more to Google+ than circles. For example, a handy feature called “Hangout” lets you instantly create a video chat room with friends. The “Sparks” area compiles news relating to different keywords. It’s also a very visually attractive site with a clean, animated design. For example, you can drag people’s heads into these donut-shaped circles, and hovering a mouse over a name is a quick, painless way to follow that person within a circle.

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