Google+ vs. Facebook.

Posted: July 15, 2011 in Internet, Software, Technology

I’ve been actively using Google+ for a week now, and I believe that I gained enough experience to be able to share some early thoughts on it.

So, as you, hopefully, already know, Google+ is a third attempt of the search giant to succeed on the market of social networks (with Orkut and Google Buzz being the first two). The concept is fairly similar to Facebook, with a few key differences, which, potentially, can make FB look like an underdeveloped parody on MySpace. In this posts, I just want to highlight a few reasons why Google+ might be better than Facebook (and vice versa).

Without further ado, here is my personal reasons why I might choose G+ over FB.

1. Circles. This is the feature that allows you to break your contacts into different categories and share information with each category accordingly. On Facebook, all your contacts are labeled as “friends”, and everything you post is visible to everyone (of course, you can dance around with the privacy settings and change that, but, very often, it is too inconvenient to be bothered with). On Google+, Circles flow more naturally, in this particular aspect. What that means is that you can upload pictures of yourself vomiting at a wild party, not worrying that your parents, teachers or employers will see them. Also, some of you, who have your parents on Facebook, have probably encountered this issue when your friends tag you in some pictures that you would rather prefer to keep unpublished. With Google+ Circles, this issue will be left in the past. It is also possible to post some personal cryouts and controversial rants, making sure that only a limited amount of trustworthy people will see them. Very convenient, I must say.

2. Practically unlimited post length. Yep, you heard me. Facebook only allows 420 characters per status update, and Twitter limits you to 140. On G+, you can post an entire essay as your status update (when I was testing this feature, I copy-pasted the first seven chapters of War and Peace, and it freaking worked!). Some might say that this would turn messy, as there are some people who like to flood and spam, so the news feed (Stream, as it is called on Google+) will become completely unreadable. Well, that wont happen. Google engineers/UI-designers have adopted “expand-collapse” technique, which works the same way as “See more” feature in long comments on Facebook. So, you only get to see a preview of the post (only the first few lines), and then you can click “expand” button to read the rest. That’s what I was waiting for since the time I first registered on Facebook.

3. You can edit your posts and comments, correcting your spelling and grammatical mistakes AFTER you post them. Nuff said.

4. Integration with other Google services. We all know that Google Inc has hundreds of cool products, such as Google Talk, Google Reader, Google Maps, etc. Their engineers have been working really hard to create APIs, which now allow all these integrations. Having all the Google depth attached to your G+ profile, makes your user experience truly a must have!

5. Hangouts. That’s something interesting. Hangouts is a service that allows you to have group video-calls with your contacts (so far, it is limited to 10 people per session, I think). That can be very fun. All the calls are powered by Google Talk, which is a primary competitor of Skype.

6. It’s developed by Google! I’ve always been a huge fan of Google and all their products. A social network developed by my favorite search giant is a pretty cool concept to begin with :)

Though I am very enthusiastic about Google+, there are still some things that I would miss about Facebook in case if it goes down.

These things include:

1. Facebook Groups. This, probably, has been one of my favorite features introduced by Zuckerberg’s team lately. You can create these specific groups, invite people to join them and then work cooperatively on some projects (like an assignment writing), or just do some study sessions, together, having all the access to a group chat, image uploading services, and all the other cool stuff. It’s been really fun for me to host some of these study groups I created during the first semester. I totally loved the sense of unity these groups were creating for our fellow psychology students. So far, I haven’t seen anything similar on Google+.

2. Trolling opportunities. Yes, my dear friends. I love Facebook for the tools it presents, which could be utilized to annoy the crap out of people. You can, for example, write a silly note and tag up to 30 people in it, everyone will see it and there is a high chance for the info to go viral and hit hundreds, if not thousands, of Facebook users all around the Network. Same could be done with pictures and Events. While it is considered by many as a great tool to assist spammers and crappy bands, who invite you to the events you’ll never go to, I see it as a great tool to stir people up a little, using a right approach, for the sake of LULz. At this very moment, I can hardly imagine how something like this could be done on Google+. Though, G+ has only been active for 2 weeks, and I’m pretty sure that we would be able to come up with some dirty ways to utilize their tools for Evil too, in a not so distant future :)

3. Stalking people. In contradiction with my love for G+ Circles, I would miss the opportunity to stalk an spy on people on Facebook :(. (and I do this quite often, FYI). Google+ privacy tools are thought-through just way too well…

***

Okay, those were my personal thoughts on Google+ vs. Facebook saga, that only has just began. Bare in mind that Google+ is still in beta, and that some new features are likelly to be added to the network in the next couple of months. Also, don’t forget that Facebook is still one of the World’s most powerful IT corporations, and that they employ some of the world’s best and most talented developers, so we can assume that FB still has some not-yet-introduced features up their sleeve.

Anyway, I’m observing this battle with a grate interest and a really big bag of popcorn!

Stay tuned!

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