Of particular interest is their attempt to allow you to segment your acquaintances and share certain information with certain people via the ‘circles’ feature:
This makes sense – I’m often a bit uncomfortable with my mix of friends, colleagues and my Mum on Facebook and it’s not easy to share stuff with only certain groups. One issue with Google’s approach would appear to be that you can only put people into one ‘circle’ – not terribly realistic, my acquaintances are actually a messy Venn Diagram of circles! Perhaps this is possible – time will tell.
What I am excited about is the opportunity to use it with staff at school. We’ve been looking at a way of improving communication and sharing best practice. As we use Google Apps for all of our electronic communication this might mesh in quite nicely.