Google's Spaces lets you share web stuff with small groups: Built-in search, YouTube, Chrome

Google has launched Spaces, an app designed to avoid the hassle of switching between apps to copy and paste links when sharing content from the web.

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Google thinks Spaces could be useful for groups such as book clubs and conferences where people want to share ideas.

Image: Google

Google has introduced a new app called Spaces that's meant to make it easier to share stuff from the web among small groups.

The group-sharing app is available for iOS, Android, and the web, and arrives just ahead of Google's I/O 2016 developer conference this week, where attendees are being encouraged to join Spaces that Google has created for each session.

Spaces is straightforward. Users create a space for a particular topic, and then invite friends or colleagues to join. The invite can be sent by sharing a link in an email, a messaging app, or a social network. Facebook is a built-in option for inviting others.

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In a blogpost, Spaces product director Luke Wroblewski said the tool is meant to cut out the hassle of switching between apps to copy and paste links when sharing content from the web. Hence, Spaces comes with Google search, YouTube, and Chrome built-in so that users don't have to leave the app when grabbing videos or articles to share.

It's not an attempt to create a social network, and not a chat app. However, the conversation view does give the app some messenger capabilities and ensures users don't miss new comments from other members of a topic.

And there's a built-in search function to find previously-shared articles, videos, comments, and, using the same techniques for search in Google Photos, images too.

"Group conversations often don't stay on topic, and things get lost in endless threads that you can't easily get back to when you need them," Wroblewski said of Google's motivation for creating Spaces.

Google thinks the app could be useful for book clubs, house-hunting for a weekend trip, and of course conferences where people want to share ideas.

At I/O 2016 Google will be inviting attendees to join each session on Spaces with a beacon notification, which will work if they've got the latest version of Chrome and Bluetooth enabled on their device.

It will also allow attendees to connect with each other and Google teams on topics ranging from what's new in Android, to machine learning, virtual reality, and Project Tango.

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