Lots of buzz swirling around about Google+, Google's Facebook-like social networking site.  Much of the buzz surrounds trying to get invited into the test trial, especially as many have received "invites" but not been able to get in anyway.

So I received my first invite June 29th but it wasn't until a week later that I managed to actually get into Google+.  However, I can't send you an invite, as that opportunity has not (yet) presented itself to me.  Rather than giving people the opportunity to send invites that they may or may not send to people who may or may not use them, when Google is ready to add more people they open up an invitation period during which invites can be sent and only people who jump on in that time slice get in.  This ensures that they get an immediate, active bunch of new subcribers when they want them.  Read more here: http://blog.seanbonner.com/2011/07/07/google-invites/

Smart folk at Google.

Also, I notice that the look and feel of Google+ meshes cleanly with the new GMail (preview) theme, the new Calendar look and feel, Picasa and other Google apps such that moving from one to the other becomes less noticable - it's more of a continuous flow.  As the entire Google suite is starting to look like an integrated environment, Google is finally achieving for the net what Microsoft and Apple did for the Desktop.

One sour (Apple) note: Google submitted the Google+ app to the Apple Store several days ago.  Expect Apple to sit on it until sufficient crowd pressure comes along to get them to approve it, as Google+ has features that could threaten iOS features, which is against the App Store terms of use.  Meanwhile, the G+ app exists on Android, which has an open App Marketplace.  Another reason why Free and Open Source software rules.  I can't wait until I make the switch to Android, but I think it'll be another year before my old iPhone gives out...

Anyway, I'm liking what I'm seeing in Google+.  Circles (how you group contacts) are very cool, though it would be nice to be able to nest them.  (I'd also like other operations on Circles, like creating intersecting groups or temporary subsets, useful for planning a party for someone in your Circle.)  The privacy options are very clear, too, though there are still some kinks being worked out.  I'm generally not much for social networking sites, but as Google+ integrates so well into the other Google Apps I use online, I could see myself using it more than I do other social networking tools.  Just need that iPhone app...

Fen Labalme joined CivicActions as an Engineer in 2005.