There is an old saying about living in a small town: “The good news is that everyone knows you, and the bad news is that everyone knows you.”  Facebook has become that small town where, good or bad, everybody knows you and, quite often, everything about you. Google seems to have taken a look at the open book view of life and decided that maybe sharing everything with everyone calls for some discretion. The newly unveiled Google+ helps its members privatize and compartmentalize just who has access to their chats, likes, photos and more.

Growing by 350% in less than a week, Paul Allen points out that 7.3 million people are already participating in the Google+ social experiment.

The five major aspects of Google+ that people are exploring are Circles, Hangouts, Instant Uploads, Sparks, and Huddles.

“Circles” lets users segment people into common groups such as family, friends, co-workers, or fellow book clubs members. This allows the user to share with only those who would find relevance in their posts.

“Hangouts” allows users to instant chat with select friends, or entire circles.

“Instant Upload” automatically stores videos and photos to a private album in which the user manages who has viewing access.

“Sparks” is an opportunity to share interests, or even have Google+ keep users informed of the newest information and trends related to the user’s individual interests.

“Huddle” simplifies the task of texting by combing individual conversations in to a single group chat.

While Google+ is currently by invitation only, and not initially intended for corporate brands, the opportunities this new social media outlet presents should be exciting.