Google has started another social network venture, called Google+, which it hopes will become a viable alternative to Facebook as it continues to battle the firm for web dominance.
Google+ is available on an invitation-only basis at present and is similar to Facebook in look and feel, offering the same basic functionality to share status updates, photos and video.
The key difference is that, rather than posting to everyone, users group their friends into Circles and interact with those specific people.
"Not all relationships are created equal. So in life we share one thing with college buddies, another with parents, and almost nothing with our boss," said Vic Gundotra, senior vice president of engineering, in a blog post.
"The problem is that today's online services turn friendship into fast food - wrapping everyone in 'friend' paper - and sharing really suffers."
In an effort to unite people with similar interests, Google+ will have a Sparks feature which sets up discussion forums around particular topics.
A Hangout area, meanwhile, is designed to allow users to hold impromptu video chats on an online forum.
Google said that Mobile allows smartphone users to augment their feeds with location data from Google Latitude, and upload photos taken on their handsets.
Finally, a group mobile messaging service known as Huddle allows groups to set up instant messaging forums on the fly.
This is Google's third attempt at social networking after the company set up Orkut in 2004 after failing to buy Friendster, and despite some success, particularly in South American, the site failed to gain much interest.
Then, in 2010, Google launched Buzz, a social network designed to appeal to Gmail users but Buzz caused a storm among privacy groups, and prompted a class action suit which the company settled for $8.5m, before it fell into disuse.
Google has not said whether will transition customers to Google+.
Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told V3.co.uk the new service is interesting but is unlikely to succeed. The issue is a matter of corporate culture and the skills needed to run a successful social network.
"I have some doubts that Google can pull this off since it requires social engineering, which requires a skill set that Google doesn't have," he said.
"You have to understand people and how they interact, and successful social networks use ethnographers, social scientists and inter-personal specialists to do this.
"Google is made up of engineers, and if you want to deal with human relationships you don't go to a computer engineer."
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