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Shopgirl: Google+ hits the streets

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Google+ offers many of the benefits of Twitter, but without its 140-character limit. You can follow anyone without being accepted, whereas Facebook requires the consent of both sides. The user can customize ''circles'' in anonymity.   Associated Press
Associated Press
Google+ offers many of the benefits of Twitter, but without its 140-character limit. You can follow anyone without being accepted, whereas Facebook requires the consent of both sides. The user can customize ''circles'' in anonymity.

Google unveiled the beta version of its new social network, Google+, the last week of June, and already there are an estimated 10 million people on board. There would be even more, but Google is keeping it invitation-only.

The big question everyone is asking about Google+ is what makes it different from every other social networking site they already have to keep up with.

The answer? It's complicated. I'll be posting a more in-depth review sometime in the next few weeks, but here's a short one for now.

At first glance, Google+ seems like a redesign of an iGoogle page, hashed with Google's controversial Buzz feature. Very much like your Facebook wall, the Google+ homepage is a feed of your friends' (or "circle members" in Google+ lingo) updates, photos, links, et cetera.

What sets Google+ apart, in my mind and in most reviews I've read so far, is this "circles" concept. With Google+, you don't have friends or followers. The user interaction is based off of different circles, such as friends, family and acquaintances. You're the only one who can see who you put in what circle, and you can create custom circles such as "work friends" or "AP World History study group."

The interface leaves a lot to be desired, I think, but I'll take a boring appearance if it means no tacky ads or Farmville-esque games.

WHAT'S TRENDY

Prince William and his wife, Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge, recently wrapped up their visit to North America. While they filled their visit with lots of goodwill outreach and even a polo match in Santa Barbara (which Prince William's team happened to win), what everyone really wanted to read about was what Kate wore to these functions.

The Duchess wore a lot of flowy neutrals, mostly dresses, but with a few zaps of color here and there.

H&M has a beautiful belted chiffon dress or a draped jersey dress for only $34.95 each. They look a lot like pieces Kate would have worn on this trip.

If you want to get "the Kate look," go for neutrals in your color palette and sparingly accessorize with muted metallics. When you need a pop of color, keep it simple and solid.

WHAT'S AFFORDABLE

It's getting to be that time of year where it's almost too hot to go outside, even to just sit in the pool. If you have kids around the house, they're probably watching a lot of movies.

While sitting in front of the television isn't the best way to spend a summer afternoon, you may as well save money while you're doing it.

Blockbuster is offering its Camp Wannawatchamovie, a four-week unlimited pass for a selection of its kids and family video selection. For only $4.95, you can check out an unlimited number of movies (one at a time) from their summer selection. The movies listed include 101 Dalmations, Toy Story 2 and other favorites. Go to http://www.blockbuster.com/campwannawatchamovie for more information.

Regal Cinemas' Summer Movie Express is still going on, too. On Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m., moviegoers of all ages can enjoy G and PG-rated films for only $1.

This summer, they've shown movies such as How To Train Your Dragon and Despicable Me . The last Summer Movie Express movie will be Aug. 4.

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