Could Google beat Facebook: The newest social networking endeavor get people fascinated and make them switch from Facebook to Google+? YES we think it could be the case.
There are many good reasons to plan and make the switch when Google+ is publicly available, ranging from our own CV feature on Google+ over ease-of-use to respect for data privacy.
The discussion has often been when Google would start their own adventure within social networking; they have tried before with less than great success. But maybe these tries have not been wholeheartedly. Now it seems that with the new Google Plus they want go beyond Social Networking and actually offer the user something new and different.
I think Google+ should be seen as a new way of Google to tie together all their different services to one central hub – your Google+ profile. Google Plus should not only be seen as a stand-alone competitor to Facebook as it is more or less a complete repackaging of the Google Experience on the Internet. They have been pioneers before and might do it again.
If you only look on the basic Social Network features, Facebook have had a huge head start, and Facebook have a huge number of daily users that are used to use Facebook’s features. Google need to offer the Facebook users some serious new reasons to seriously consider dumping Facebook for Google+.
There will always be early adaptors, geeks and nerds, and Google also have their loyal following, sitting hours/days in a row to get the first glimpse of a new service or product from Google. After these people have tried it, it is up to the masses to decide whether Google+ will become the Social Network success that Google wants.
When looking at Google+ in its current version there are some things that meets the eye and that looks promising.
Below you can find a list of features which from our perspective could be that positive element that could be able to make people consider a switch – or using both…..
1. Integration with Google Services
The easiest thing for Google to do better than Facebook is of course the integration to all of Google’s other services. That is, Google will probably build Google+ social networking features into if not all then all the service where Google+ makes sense. Google+ is already integrated into the navigation bar at the top right of almost all Google products, Gmail, Photos (Picasa), Reader, Web and others. This feature gives you the ability to monitor all Google+ events and at the same time easily to share content without ever leaving the Google service you might be using right now. A lot of internet users use Google’s other free services (Gmail, Maps, Search, Translate etc.), and after Google have integrated Google+ so closely to all their services it may feel a bit stupid to exit this universe to share something with online friends. If Google+ succeeds in taking the “special social experience” and make it part of the overall Google experience, they have a brilliant leverage to get people to use Google+.
Google are spot-on with the “Circles” concept, it is more in line with the normal way we build and handle friendships in real life. You probably have several different kinds of friends, and you probably also want to share specific things with somebody or groups in numerous different ways. Facebook has there “Groups” feature which lets you form groups of friends, but frankly compared to the easy way Google’s Circles the Facebook method is more tedious . Google has taken the pain out of your online friendship “management” with the introduction of circles.
3. Sparks – Find interesting stuff to share
The Sparks feature of Google+ is another important factor that Facebook does not have. Sparks is a way for Google to use their search engine to generate interesting stuff to share for users of Google+. Using the advantages of the Google search engine is an important factor to renew the content that is shared on Google+. On Facebook it often seems as the same information is send around again and again. And remember on Facebook you need to leave your present site to find interesting information to share, unless it is already shared by others and you just re-share the information.
4. Super Android Application, although not available on IPhone “yet”
With the launch of Google+ the Google+ Android application was also made available. It is a very nice piece of software and getting data from your mobile phone has suddenly become a lot easier. The app is already great, but my best guess is that the integration with Google and the Android version will be one of the major accomplishments of Google to make Google+ a success. People are online 24-7 and are always on reachable on their mobile phone, and they want to have their social network with them all the time. The Facebook’s solution is although nice looking but a bit troublesome to use from our experience.
5. Privacy and the right to your data.
Facebook has been pounded numerous times for their behavior in safeguarding your personal data. You are forced to publicize parts of your personal data to use Facebook and it is still hard to permanently delete your Facebook profile. This is done differently in Google+ as they have a different approach , you can take all the data you have in Google+ and walk away. This is easily done on a Google+ site called www.dataliberation.org. With just a few clicks you can download data from your Picasa Web Albums, Google profile, Google+ stream, and other Google products and delete your profile. Also notice the Google Takeout feature on www.google.com/takeout.
6. Very strong Chat even with groups of people
Google has their Hangouts feature which is a very strong system for video chatting. Creating ad hoc group to make video chats can be done easily with this feature in Google+. The Android version calls them huddles and not hangouts, which makes it easy for Android users to start up a text chat with other Google+ users.
7. Content Sharing with focus on your privacy
It has been discussed many times but Privacy issues are here to stay, people advocating for stronger privacy on Social Networking sites wants us to able to have the user assigning the sharing level to each item they share. This has been heard by Google and they have built this capability into Google+. When you share an article or upload an image on Google+ you have to select which circles you want to share this with, this is somewhat different then the Facebook setup with preset lists of sharing practices.
8. (or +1) Our own Google+ “hack” using it as an interactive CV
It is easy and can be very useful to share your CV on Google+, even this feature has Google done better with the help of Comoto off course. You are able to control the images in the Photostrip and to create an interactive CV with no hassle at all. This is also possible in Facebook, but due to Facebook’s zooming algorithm it is not that good looking. Google centralizing function makes is easier to have a decent CV on your profile to be shared with other users of Google+. To see more about this feature please have a look at our post here.