Fifteen years ago nobody knew who Google was and today you'd be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't. Google are the search people, right? Exactly but Google has gone far beyond just search. Today they are a technology company and are highly focused on communications. More specifically, how to make communications smart and easy.
The perception many have is that Google wants to compete with Facebook and become a social networking provider. This is true to some extent and Google has experimented a great deal with social networking in the past.
The actual direction I think Google+ is headed in is more about making information and communication easy and accessible (not just social networking). Just as a stream of consciousness bring to mind certain information and related content, Google+ gets you connected via circles or boxes of information. Anyone who is familiar with mind maps will be all too familiar with this concept.
So Google+ begins with your profile and that profile becomes your home base, so to speak. You will decide how these circles evolve but they only evolve based on who and what you're connected to. If you start a circle based on your family, it can grow as you connect to more and more people who are members of your family or are (as designated by you) affiliated with your family. This could include relatives, family friends, family doctors, businesses your friends own, a page dedicated to your friends dog. The possibilities are whatever you can think of.
Another example, which could be very powerful, has to do with businesses. Once you are connected to a particular merchant, they may add a map to help consumers get to their physical location. You could connect to this map on your Google+ and share with others how to get there or navigate to other proximity locations based on that map coordinate. You could create a circle just on content related to that merchant.
In this stream of 'connected circles' type of navigation you can access endless amounts of information to almost whatever ends you deem necessary. Google+ has the potential to innovate the ways we do business and gain access to goods and services. It even has the potential to reshape the ways we seek out others for collabortion innovation on new concepts and ideas. Essentially it is information networking and you get to choose who and who doesn't share or get shared with.
Google CEO Larry Page Comments:
"Our goal with Google+ is to make sharing on the web like sharing in real life, as well as to improve the overall Google experience."
"Circles let you choose with precision who you are sharing with. Not surprisingly this has been very well received, because in real life, we share different things with different people."
"Hangouts allow for serendipitous interactions. Like in real life when you run into a few friends. It gives you seamless and fun multi user video and it’s really amazing!"
I just discovered Google+ but I think it's with checking out. It definitely puts information right at your fingertips and if you spend some time to customize it, it could be a true time saver and source of valuable information!