Google+ integrates social services such as Google Profile and Google Buzz, and introduces new services such as Circles, Hangouts, Sparks, and Huddles. Google+ will also be available with various desktop applications and mobile applications, but only on Android and iOS operating systems. Mass media such as The New York Times have stated that Google+ is Google's biggest effort to rival Facebook's social network, which has more than 750 million users in 2011.
Many features from Google+ are similar to social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. The way Google+ displays notifications, unread notifications, and links to posts is also similar to "Notifications" on Facebook.
The introduction of Google+ has had an impact on the design of Google's web search services, because of graphic redesign (wrongly associated with Andy Hertzfeld). There was a broader improvement in speculation about the wider impact after Google+ fully rolled-out, including some redesigns namely Google Maps, Google Mail and Google Calendar. The public reaction to Google+ has been positive.
Joining this service requires disclosure of the real name and gender to the public. Users have the option to choose "Male," "Female," and "Other". This requirement was criticized by SlashGear's weblog because it caused a lack of privacy and, along with Facebook and social networks, to force users to choose among limited categories that describe gender descriptor prejudices. Mandatory gender exposure to the public caused criticism for making older public profiles of Google. Google has suspended accounts because users do not use their real names.