social networks, google plus, google+, facebook, social mediaAlthough Google’s ‘Circles’ has been recognized for modeling more selective sharing practices than those facilitated, at least initially, by Facebook, the company is abandoning the term and introducing a friend-discovery interface that is more like Facebook’s.

Users who click the just-launched ‘Find People’ icon at the bottom of the left-hand menu will be directed to a list of suggested contacts with their profile pictures in a grid format. To the right of the list, Google has introduced filters for the contacts that include the user’s places of work and educational institutions.

Facebook includes similar functionality.

A tab called ‘Your circles’ at the top of the page allows the user to  sort social contacts into appropriate circles using the same drag-and-drop graphical interface Google+ has long featured.

The format seems to mark a move away from Google’s fairly aggressive efforts within the Google+ workflow to get users to recruit their Gmail interlocutors to Google+. Google has lately been requiring new Gmail users to create Google+ profiles as they set up their email address.

“With so many new people signing up for Google+ every day, it’s easy to miss friends and colleagues who’ve recently joined,” said Google staffer Sean Purcell in a Google+ post.