My first thought about Google Plus: "Here we go again." After Google's earlier attempts at social networking failed spectacularly, it was easy to scoff at this seeming Facebook wannabe.
Its "Picasa ultimatum" didn't help much either. If you have an account with Picasa, Google's photo-sharing service, the first thing Google asks is whether you'd want to share your Picasa photos. Say no, and you're not allowed to sign up at all. That seemed unnecessarily harsh.
But I quickly became addicted to Google Plus, a free service that the company is testing with a small group of users for now. It has smart and thoughtful solutions to some irksome limits entrenched in other social-media sites, mainly related to privacy settings and how to share links and posts with groups.
Google Plus seems aimed at people who are more interested in sharing things with people or groups with similar interests rather than simply amassing the biggest number of online "friends." Its seamless integration with other Google services you may use, from search to online documents, makes it easier to share things online.