By now you've heard the news and more than likely snagged an invite: Google+ is the hot new kid on the social networking block. It's big news, mostly because we all know who runs that corner of the interweb—they didn't call it THE Social Network for nothing. And yet for most of us, on some level, to know Facebook is to hate Facebook. Because of its open disregard for the wishes of its users, its increasing status as a den for parents and other old people, and the constant threat of your most private moments being made exquisitely public, the hunger for a viable Facebook alternative has built steadily for years.

What the Googlers are offering is a fresh start. Here is a chance to build a social network that works for you, using a whole new set of idiot-proof tools that mirror your actual social behavior in the real world. Because it comes from Google, maker of the almighty Gmail and groundskeeper to the Web, Google+ actually stands a chance at surviving the competition and attracting the people you really care about. And it just looks really nice.

Google+ has a (very) long way to go before it could ever replace Facebook and its gorge of 750 million simulated souls. But the upstart social network has already got the jump on the old tyrant in a few key areas that have gotten people talking. Here are five things about Google+ that will make you reconsider your allegiances.