Impressions: Google+ Is Everything Facebook Should Be

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Oooh, things might start getting interesting around here. That’s because for the first time, Google’s thrown down a real social networking contender with Google+. Facebook finally might have gotten its first real rival.

Forget Buzz. Forget Wave. I almost even forgot what Google Wave was called. While my first impressions of Google+ initially reminded me of Facebook, it quickly distinguished itself from its competitor. In reality, Google+ feels like everything that Facebook should be.

(MORE: Google Faces Up to Facebook with ‘Plus’ Social Sharing Site)

The user interface is slick, clean, and most of all blazingly fast. Compared to Facebook, which is often sluggish, convoluted and cumbersome these days, using Google+ is like zipping on by with a jet plane. To Google+’s credit, the interface is intuitive, thereby making the learning curve low.

Let me make myself clear: You don’t “add friends” with Google+. Rather, you can add anyone, and anyone can add you. Multiple people can be part of different circles, just as in real life. There’s my geeky early-adopting friends, Grandma Joe, Ms. Jackson, Angelina Jolie, my boss and the guy who checks me out at the supermarket.

But if you and a friend have added each other to your Circles, a new option pops up to send them a message. Instead of “messaging” them, you will be able to send them an email – straight through Gmail. If you’re like Doug, who refuses to add me, I can’t email him. It’s a simple system and, even better, it eliminates all social awkwardness that comes when you decide to defriend your ex or your filthy roommate. [Editor’s note: You added me in the middle of the night! We’re all square now, though — Doug]

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