Google has unveiled a new social networking service. Although it is still in its early stages Google have explained that it is an add-on feature that works with existing Google features.

As of June 2011 this is Google’s biggest attempt to rival Facebook and gets its foot firmly planted in the social networking world. According to some analysts it is just a simplified version of Facebook with an addition video chat function, but it does claim to have a lot more privacy.

So far Google Plus is showing off four main features that they believe will help them establish themselves in the social networking world. These are;

Circles – Here you can put different friends into different groups eg, best friends, family, co-workers, and then share different information within those groups. 

Hangouts – This gives friends the possibility to use live multi-user video conferencing. Here they can drop in and out of live group chats.

Huddle – Instant messaging to groups.

Sparks – This feature links you to other individuals on the network who share the same common interests as yourself. 

So far it can already be seen that one of the fundamental differences between Google Plus and their main opposition such as Facebook and Twitter is the matter of privacy. With Google Plus you can share the information to the only the groups you want to see it, whereas some of the other social networks display information for everyone to see.

Currently, the version which has just been released has been released to a limited number of people so that Google can get feedback and make tweaks if need be. But hopefully it should start to meet a wider audience soon.

If you have already had the privilege to join Google Plus and have had a bit of a play a-round, please let us know how you got on, we would love to hear from you!