By AMIR EFRATI
Google Inc. launched its most ambitious social-networking effort yet, broadening a battle with Facebook Inc. to grab the attention of Web users and future advertising dollars.
The new Google product, Google , is aimed at exploiting what has been considered a weakness of Facebook—that by default people using the social network share all their information with a large group of friends, including their work colleagues and acquaintances, rather than only their close personal friends. Numerous social-networking companies such as Path Inc. have sprung up to attract people who only wish to share information with smaller groups.
The Google project is in a "field trial period" meaning it is an invitation-only product and is expected to be made available more broadly in the future.
The effort to create what became Google started in earnest last February after Google's social-networking service Google Buzz flopped with users, in large part after backlash that resulted from when it made email address books visible to other people. Last summer The Wall Street Journal reported that Google was developing a new Facebook rival.