To set its service apart from Facebook, Google is betting on what it says is a better approach to privacy -- a hot-button issue that has burned Facebook, as well as Google, in the past.
Central to Google+ are the "circles" of friends and acquaintances. Users can organize contacts into different customized circles -- family members, coworkers, college friends -- and share photos, videos or other information only within those groups.
"In the online world there's this 'share box' and you type into it and you have no idea who is going to get that, or where it's going to land, or how it's going to embarrass you six months from now," said Google Vice President of Product Management Bradley Horowitz.
"For us, privacy isn't buried six panels deep," he added.