Today, Google announced their new attempt at a social network, which they're calling "The Google+ Project." It's not open to the public yet, but they issued a series of videos explaining the idea behind the whole thing. Here's the first:
Basically, it allows you to put your friends in different "circles" (coworkers, family, girl friends, guy friends) and keep communication tied to that one circle, so your family won't find out you're into puppy bondage or what the fuck ever else you're into, you pervert. There are also things called "sparks" that allow you to find other hobby enthusiasts, and group text messaging and video chat features. It also ties in with the previously unveiled Google +1 feature, which is basically just like a Facebook "Like."
This directly confronts some problems that have been developing with Facebook lately (Facebook's groups are unwieldy and obnoxious, and every bit of information basically goes everywhere, unless you wrestle with awkward privacy controls) and also opens up some huge privacy issues (Google will no doubt be including Google+ in their searches, and the social network includes some location-based features that basically mean Google will know where you are all the time). Only time will tell if this will be another Gmail or another Wave, but we can peek into the future with the magic that is a legally binding Blogtown poll: