I've spent a bit of time on Google's new social network, Google+. My profile page is linked here. It's currently in a limited beta with a few participants, but so far the suite of features offered is very impressive.
The network is structured around groups of people, or circles. Any time you add someone as a contact, you can put them in one or more circles. This can be done by dragging names into these circles, which is very intuitive. For example, I have circles for close family and friends, tech pundits, forum buddies, etc.
Any status updates that I push out - whether photos, quick one liners, or essays - have to be sent out on a circle basis. There is an option to send things out publicly to anyone on the site, but the main focus is that you can easily control who you are communicating with.
It's still in beta, but I'm looking forward to seeing how Google ties this network in with other services such as Google Docs, Google Alerts, and Google Trends. Imagine if I can search on certain terms that people are talking about (I would only see results that are within my circles or public), and can view how that topic trends over time. It's the perfect mashup of Facebook's relationships and Twitter's topic search capabilities.
The possibilities are endless if Google really puts everything behind this and implements it will. And why won't they. Reportedly, everyone's bonus at the company is tied into the success of Google's social efforts. If that won't motivate some of the greatest minds in the industry to innovate, what will?