Google+ opened up with a lot of mixed reviews. Some enthusiasts loved it and made the switchover from Facebook, but their dropping stats indicate that the average social networker isn't about to make the switchover to Google+ just yet. So in the countless Google+ versus Facebook opinions out there, it doesn't really matter what the “experts” prefer, when it comes to the numbers, in my opinion, all variables remaining constant, Facebook will still be number one.
The battle of the giants is a question of numbers
Take a look at what Google+ has to offer that's in a number of ways, not exactly what Facebook offers. Circles, Huddles and Hangouts and Sparks. Circles is a very visually friendly way of organizing contacts. Once you add someone to a circle, you automatically share your information with them. Huddles is a way to group text chat and Hangouts is a way to group video chat. Sparks is like a mini Zite within a social network where users can get the latest news and opinions on subjects they like. None of these are actual social networking tools. Think about it. Circles lets you organize contacts, however, doesn't allow you to share information with contacts in a new way. Add to that, Facebook has lists, which, agreed, is not as user friendly, but the same job gets done. Hangouts is a very cool feature that both Facebook and Skype are missing (you can only group video chat on Skype if you have a premium account) however, both Huddles and Hangouts are “stay in touch” tools, not really “sharing information tools”. Sparks, well, that's the obvious one. When Twitter came out, it launched a distinctly new way of sharing information, so much so, that it made Facebook go back to the drawing board and incorporate the “What's On Your Mind Feature”. As a sharing tool, Google+ really does not offer anything new. So why should your average user whose stuff is already on Facebook make the switch?
Take a look at other features of both the social networks. The big one is Privacy. Both networks have Privacy issues. I personally like the add as a friend feature on Facebook because that gives me the option of saying “no”. Additionally, when someone adds me on Google+, they automatically start sharing their stuff with me. What if I don't want to read their statuses? I'd like the option to say “no” from the get go. The two way street of sharing on Facebook when you confirm a friend, is a lot more protective of my privacy, in my opinion. With both the networks, you do have to sift through the Privacy settings and change everything around from what's set as default if you want more privacy. Facebook's method is a little clearer and here's the obvious part: most people already have their privacy settings set on Facebook. Going over to Google+ means round two of doing the same thing. What's the point?
Another common feature is Locations and Places. Sure, it's easier to geo-social network from Google because Locations is integrated into your status update, however, we're still talking about the average user. Your average user does not care to geo-tag their statuses, if anything they will still go to Places on Facebook because it's an interface they're more familiar with. This is just one of the many examples that indicate that just because Google+ offers most of the same features as Facebook but they do it slightly better, that's not enough for them to come out on top.
Finally, to add a little snarky-ness from someone who treats originality with a lot of respect. What was Facebook's motive when it first launched? To develop a new way of sharing information and staying in touch with friends. It wasn't to take down MySpace (and MySpace's Tom Anderson admits that the fall of MySpace wasn't because of Facebook). Even if Google+'s original intention was to create a new and better organized social network, that motive hasn't seemed to come to fruition. Ultimately people can use two different social networks if they're different enough. Most people already use both Facebook and Twitter simultaneously. Google+ might be uncomfortably similar to Facebook for most users.
Facebook is already ubiquitous. When it came out, it was new and exciting and it offered an innovative and easy way for people to stay in touch and share information. Friends were telling each other to get on Facebook. Everyone who wants their pictures up online has already put them up on Facebook. Google+ has already been out at least three weeks (for most of my contacts) and none of them have an actual photo album online. Maybe the odd mobile upload. Games are coming for Google+ but everyone already has their Farmville high scores up on Facebook. The UI of both the websites, to your average user is pretty much the same. So here's the million dollar question, what new information-sharing-and-staying-in-touch method does Google+ offer, that will make you transfer over? The answer is, nothing.
Publish date: July 29, 2011 5:07 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 8:15 pm
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