Google’s high-profile Google+ social networking service – billed as a potential rival to Facebook’s dominance in this space – has received mixed reviews this week amid huge global interest. In its daily Technology Report, Reuters posted the following roundup: “Reviews of [beta-based] Google+ are starting to filter in from those who’ve been lucky enough to get an invite. The general consensus seems to be that it’s a lot like Facebook and that it is an improvement over Google’s past social media efforts, Buzz and Wave.” Reuters cited an article from ZDNet that covered ‘five things it loves’ about the new service, while it pointed to a review in The Guardian that pans the desktop version, but gives the mobile platform a thumbs up. 

This was a theme picked up by Light Reading Mobile, which noted that Google+ has an Android app in beta and an iPhone app in the works, and is available to all mobile Internet devices via an HTML5 site. “What makes it compelling for mobile sharing is that Google has made it easy to tap into the phone’s GPS to share location on every post you want to, to use the camera to instantly upload pictures and to take advantage of group messaging to share information only with selected users in your social circle,” noted the LR Mobile report. 

Meanwhile PCWorld labelled it a poor cousin of Facebook. Wired called its approach to privacy a “pretty good start”. And Reuters added that CNN was impressed with one of its most distinctive features: video conferencing. With initial select invites being sent out last Tuesday to access the service, Google then decided to temporarily stop inviting users to join its new social networking service less than two days after it launched the service. In a blog post Wednesday night, a Google engineering executive claimed the decision was taken on the basis of “insane demand. We want to do this carefully, and in a controlled way.”

Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters yesterday his company is planning to unveil an “awesome” new feature next week. Details were scant, but tech blogs have speculated in recent weeks about new mobile products in development at Facebook, including a long-awaited iPad app or a dedicated photo-sharing app. Tech blog GigaOm’s founder Om Malik joked on Twitter that Zuckerberg’s comments could just be an attempt to divert attention away from Google+.