Google Circles, a social media service run by search giant Google, is rumored to be announced at this year's SXSW Interactive festival. ReadWriteWeb is reporting that the announcement could take place as soon as today.
Google Circles will aim to take on Facebook, complete with status messages and photo and video sharing. Where Google Circles diverges slightly from Facebook is that Circles updates will be shared with "the most appropriate circle" of contacts -- not just all of your friends. While Facebook offers that functionality through custom lists and privacy settings, a built-in feature that doesn't require manual tweaking would be a boon to those who juggle personal and professional relationships online.
ReadWriteWeb writer Marshall Kirkpatrick writes that Google Circles may address some of the privacy issues critics identify in social networking, "...allow[ing] our online communication to respect the same boundaries that our offline social lives do."
Tech sites such as TechCrunch have reported on Google Circles using names such as Google +1 and Google Me. The gallery above features a screenshot leaked to TechCrunch in December that shows a social media avatar on the top right portion of the Google toolbar. While final details on Google Circles won't be available until the launch, this teaser holds great promise for Google in the social networking sphere.
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