|Google+ is Google's latest attempt to take some of the social network from Facebook.|
Now that I have Google+ I thought it would be interesting to do a short little comparison. It is fairly obvious that Google is trying their hand at social networking and hoping to dive into Facebook's market. It will be interesting to see if that can actually happen.
As an evaluation, I decided to list the features that people use on Facebook and compare them to Google+
- To see what their friends are doing
- To post what they are doing in life in hopes that someone will care and comment on it
- Stalking people
- Look at photos and videos
- General communication with others
- Planning and attending events
- Connecting with childhood friends/relatives/people we don't know etc
- Specify connections and settings. Privacy. Notifications.
Before I begin this comparison, I feel I should make a few statements:
I have nothing against Facebook; in fact, I think it is a wonderful tool and I use it every day. I don't think it is perfect, but I really don't care too much. It is powerful because everyone uses it. I should also note that while I am going to try to be completely realistic in my comparison, I AM heavily Google biased. Hopefully, I will be able to set my biases aside, but you should at least know that they are there.
Now; onto the comparison!
|Google+ Stream and Facebook News Feed are basically the same.|
Facebook has News Feed. Google+ has Stream
The News Feed is where most people go when they first log into Facebook. They see what their friends are doing. They see pictures and comments etc. Google+ Stream is nearly identical. Stream and News Feed are so identical that I am going to say that neither is better than the other. One thing I will mention though is that editing comments in Google+ is a bit nicer. If you misspell a word or need to change something in a post or comment, you can edit those things quite easily whereas in Facebook you must delete then recreate the post or comment if you mess up.
Winner = Tie
Sharing Your Status or Links
Again; Facebook and Google+ are nearly identical in this regard. Facebook wants to know "What's on your mind?" while Google+ wants you to "Share whats new." Sharing comments, photos, videos and links are essentially the same though. One thing that give Google+ a slight advantage though is how it makes it easy to share things with different "circles" of friends. Say for instance I have a link that only my family would understand, I can easily share with just my family. Cool beans.
Winner = Google+
Though we may not want to admit it, we have all done it. We use Facebook to stalk people. See pictures of people we have just met, check relationship statuses for people we want to date, find out where people are living etc...
Just for fun, I tried stalking Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Information in Google+ shows up the same way that it does in Facebook. The obvious difference and main advantage of Facebook is that the more people that use the product, the easier it will be to stalk.
Winner = Facebook
Viewing Photos and Videos
|Google+ has a fantastic way to upload, edit and view photos!|
I am going to ignore videos for now since I simply don't do much with video and just focus on photos.
This is something I can easily say is better in Google+. Don't even need to think about it. I was blown away with the comparison. It is just more fun and organized in Google+. More options for editing, tagging, viewing etc. Let me break it down:
Viewing Photos Winner = Google+ When you view a photo album, the thumbnails are larger, yet they are still able to show just as many thumbnails on the screen because of how they are organized. Hovering over a photo will increase the size.
Viewing Photo Information Winner = Google+ Not only is Google+ great at showing comments on photos, you can view actual photo information (such as what camera was used, exposure, ISO etc). Not a huge deal, but awesome if you are a photographer.
|Facebook seems super boring after spending just a minute with photos in Google+|
Editing Photos Winner = Google+ While Google+ does not offer a ton of options, it still offers more than Facebook.
Photo uploading Winner = Google+ Not really much of a difference, but I think it looks pretty cool in Google+
|View camera info|
Photo Storage Winner = Tie
I thought that Google+ would restrict the storage space of your photos, but it turns out they just changed their policy. Images of a certain size do not count toward your quota (which would explain how my Picasa magically said I was only using 64mb). If your image is too large and your quota is full, Google+ will just scale down the image for you and still add it!
|Easily edit photos.|
Photo viewing winner = Google+
Photo sharing winner = Tie
Overall Photo Winner = Google+
General Communication With Others
The way I see it, there are a few different methods of communication that I will break this down into:
Posting on a News Feed (or Stream). Winner = Tie. Basically the same.
|Surprisingly, email in Google+ is quite boring.|
Sending an Email. Winner = Facebook. It seems that Google+ just uses your existing Gmail address. This is fine and makes sense, but I noticed that all of my friends had an option to be emailed. Not quite sure why this is. The main gripe I have with this is that if I am in Google+ and want to access email, I don't want to have to go to Gmail for that. I just want to access everything right there. Maybe I am missing something here. Really Google? You couldn't have integrated something a little more with email? Weird.
Chatting. Winner = Google+ The only reason I am giving Google+ the win for this is because of the ability to do multi video chat. As for your standard chat, Google+ uses what you already have in Gmail. Facebook is nice because you can turn on and off different groups for chat. I love this feature. I am not big into chat and it is nice to be able to turn it off for almost everyone but a select few.
While Google+ and Facebook more or less allow you to use the same communication methods (Google+ one upped Facebook with their video chat), it comes down to preference. I think Google+ main advantage here is their video chat whereas Facebook does a pretty great job with email.
Overall Communication Winner = Tie
Planning and Attending Events
One of the main reasons I signed up for Facebook was to provide a way where I could get groups together to play Ultimate Frisbee. Most of my friends now getting married post it on Facebook before you would find out any other way. Facebook certainly is great for this sort of thing. So how does Google+ compare? Not well. Maybe I am missing something here, but I don't even see a way where this is possible in Google+. At any rate, if Google+ DOES have this ability, they should make it easier to find. Facebook is the clear winner here.
Winner = Facebook
Connecting With People
This was the other main reason I signed up for Facebook back in the day. I was getting ready to move and I wanted to keep in contact with the friends I currently had. There is virtually no difference with how that works in Facebook and with Google+ other than the obvious fact that Facebook has millions more people that you can connect with. Not a completely fair assessment because Google+ is so new, but realistically, this is going to be perhaps the biggest hurdle for Google+ to jump over. Facebook has a huge head start.
Winner = Facebook
Notifications, Privacy and Settings
Notifications are basically the same. On Facebook they are on the left; Google+ the right. Google+ does add a few more options that are nice. Privacy and settings are basically the same as well. You can specify privacy to whatever you want.
Winner = Tie
Facebook Friend Groups vs Google+ Circles
Both Facebook and Google+ allow you to organize your friends into groups (or circles). Google+ does this better. It is easier to do and there is more reason to do it. You can share or video chat with Circles. You can basically customize everything using your circles.
|Circles seems kind of odd at first, but is a fantastic feature of Google+|
Winner = Google+
Facebook = 3 wins
Google+ = 3 wins
My general overall impression is this: Google+ is awesome. Everything they have done, they have done very well. It is obvious they are copying Facebook, but in the process, they have made some great improvements. While this is the case, the reality remains that Facebook is king. I don't know if a few improvements will be able to put a dent into the Facebook market. Google+ will only become valuable if people start using it. This is the biggest obstacle that Google faces. There are a few things that I think are still perhaps a bit better in Facebook (
Photo storage, emails and chats and events), but overall, I think Google+ has a nice new polish with great features that most people will appreciate.
If you have not yet signed up for Google+ you should definitely give it a try!