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Posted at 11:08 AM ET, 06/29/2011

Google+: Can this social network succeed? (#googleplusorminus)

A screen shot of the Google Plus social network. REUTERS/Google/Handout (HO)
My particular corner of the newsroom often feels like some sort of social media crash-test dummy area. This means that while my colleagues and I could probably sign up for and participate in a beta launch during our deepest REM cycle, we’re also quick to move on if a new product isn’t working out. (Ahem, Rockmelt.)

So on Tuesday, when Google unleased Google+, its newest attempt at social networking, I reacted to the news with what I think is a healthy degree of skepticism.

First of all, Google’s invite-style beta launches drive me batty. Let’s jog our collective memory back to 2009, when people were selling Google Wave invites for $70 on eBay — the mad scramble led those chosen ones to a platform that was largely confusing, pretty buggy and, well, mostly empty. (In the end, we saw how well that venture worked out.) The Wave’s problem was that it was just too antisocial, the next-door neighbor that couldn’t quite figure out how to join the party.

While Google Wave felt like an island, it’s invite-free cousin, Google Buzz, was too chatty, spamming our mailboxes with friend-approved posts on everything from kitten photos to hard news. In my world, pruning your Gmail inbox to be free of spam-like e-mails can feel dangerously close to a competitive sport. With Buzz, the din was overwhelming.

There’s no sweet spot with Google, no Goldilocks product that has made us turn our collective eyeballs away from Facebook. Although initial reviews border on the positive, and I’m intrigued by the fact that an Apple alum designed it, I think I’ll take a few seconds before declaring Google+ The Next Facebook. And, from the looks of it, my fellow denizens on Twitter are also reacting with a raised eyebrow:

Can't wait to try Google+, because if anything Wave, Latitude, Buzz, Orkut, Jaiku & Dodgeball proves Google knows how to run social networksless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

This Google+ thing is totally going to make Buzz look like Waveless than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

Not sure about this Google+ thing. Reminds me of the attempt at Wave (which I loved). It's just so...Google. TOO mathematical?less than a minute ago via HootSuite Favorite Retweet Reply

So far it looks rather like Google-1 to me... Who invites me to Google+1?less than a minute ago via Twitter for Android Favorite Retweet Reply

But even amongst all that eye-rolling, people are still cruising for invites.

Sooo.... any Google+ invites around? :)less than a minute ago via Twitter for Mac Favorite Retweet Reply

What do you think of Google’s newest foray into social networking? Tell us what you like about it and what you don’t. Give it a #GooglePlusorMinus on Twitter and we’ll post your replies back here.

By  |  11:08 AM ET, 06/29/2011

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