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Google+ takes on Pinterest with Collections, a new sharing feature

Google+ is having a bit of an identity crisis while its Mountain View owner works out exactly what it wants to do with it. Until recently, the most significant news about the struggling social network was that its excellent Photos component was going to get spun out into a standalone project. It turns out Google+ now has a new sharing feature called Collections, and it looks a lot like Pinterest.

Updated on 05-04-2015 by Kyle Wiggers: Changed wording and added new details reflecting the official launch.

First uncovered by DroidLife tipster, the new Collections feature, described as “part Pinterest, part blogging,” enables users to create groups of photos, videos, and links and then share them with other people in their Circles.

Related: Google Now could soon have more to show from Google+

Google+ officially began rolling out Collections today. It lets any user dedicate a Google+ page to the topic of their choosing, which others can then follow. You can check out some of Google’s favorite new Collections here. Google+ could certainly use a boost as it looks to make up ground on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and the various other social sharing apps. Although Google hasn’t shared any user numbers publicly, recent estimates suggest the network has between 4 million and 6 million active users.

Compare that to the 1.44 billion active monthly users that Facebook boasts, and you can see the problem. Still, Google is unlikely to abandon Google+ completely — It’s a useful way of giving every Gmail and YouTube user an identity on the Web, even if no one’s actually paying much attention to the stream of posts that go alongside the profiles.

A splash page indicates Collections will reach all corners of the social network in time, but users on Twitter have reported seeing a few public Collections. Now that it’s been released, it will be interesting to see whether the Pinterest-style feature brings users back to Google+.