Google Plus is a social network that works similarly to Facebook, but it has a number of unique features. Some key differences are the use of Circles and Hangouts.
As with Facebook, users of Google Plus sign up with an email address, and can then enter personal information and upload pictures in order to create a profile and network with others. A key difference between the two services is Google's use of Circles, which allow a user to divide the people they have relationships with into different groups that are not necessarily accessible to each other. Circle groups are generally divided by interests. Circle Share Communities also allow members to share content directly to all members of the Circle. Google Plus also allows the use of Twitter-esque hashtags to help users more efficiently search for Circle Shares. Users can also create or join Communities, which are larger groups that can be either public or private. Profiles contain streams of updates from users that are being followed, in a similar manner to Facebook's wall.
Google Plus users can also create brand pages that are separate and different from their personal profile. These can be used for businesses, products, organizations, institutions or web sites among other uses. There are a multitude of unique templates to start with for many of these page types.