Google Goes + with Social Networking, iPhone App Coming

Apple unveiled its Google+ social networking service on Tuesday in what looks like a move to take on Facebook. The service is currently in beta, like so many of Google’s projects, and it’s invite-only, so don’t expect to start playing with it right away.

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Google+ works like a group social networking with Circles, Hangouts and Sparks. Circles lets users categorize friends in groups, Hangouts is a video chat feature, and Sparks is a social sharing feature that learns the type of online content you’re interested in.

Google has already released an Android OS-based app for Google+, and for now iPhone users can access the service through a special Web interface. Google says an iOS-native app is on the way, but didn’t say how long it will be before it is available on Apple’s App Store.

Google+ is only hours old, so there’s no way to tell yet just how successful it will be. Considering the abysmal failure Google Buzz turned out to be, however, the Internet search giant will most likely play it safe and roll out Google+ slowly in hopes of a better chance for success.