Monday, July 11, 2011

Google+ vs Facebook [UPDATED]

Many don't see much of a difference in Google+ when compared to our beloved Facebook.  Some of the big differences may not be immediately obvious, so I've pointed out the main differences in the two below in a handy chart:

Friends GroupingFacebook doesn’t encourage the grouping of friends but you can still organize them as such using “lists”Google+ requires the grouping of friends (it calls this circles) and allows you to target each post toward any combination of your circles or even the public.  Each post is “opt-in” by default, not shared with everyone you know by default - meaning you select exactly which circles (or even a single person using the "@" symbol) see your posts.  
Sending a message (private/public)Facebook has direct messaging in place and also allows you to share a post on someones wall that others can see. Google+ allows you to write on someones stream by sharing a post with only that person instead of a whole circles (as described above).  Google+ resorts to email for personal messaging. The Google Talk chat and video chat mechanisms are built into the browser based version of Google+. This allows for another form of one-on-one messaging.
Video ChatFacebook just introduced a video chat feature powered by skype that allows one-on-one video chat.Hangout is the Google+ video chat feature. It allows video chat with up to 10 people at once. Who ever is speaking [the loudest] automatically gets focus - their video feed is enlarged and centered on the screen of everyone in the hangout.
Mobile Communication ExperienceFacebook has an official app that allows chatting with individual friends. (similar experience to SMS messaging)Google+ has huddle. Huddle is a feature that is only available on the Google+ app (on android only for the moment).  Huddle allows you to instantly start a chat with an entire circle.  Everybody sees every message.  There is no limit to the number of people that can be in a huddle.
Location SharingFacebook allows you to share your location by checking in at a given place in the mobile app.  This cannot be done from the facebook website on a desktop browser.Two clicks share your location from the web version of Google + or the app. Also Pictures taken with an android phone store geo-tagging information.  When you share a picture on Google+, the location where the picture was taken is automatically shared (when the feature is enabled).
Photo ExperienceFacebook uses the traditional gallery/caption/comment method we’re all familiar with.Google+ takes the photo experience to the next level.  When the feature is enabled, pictures taken with an android phone are automatically uploaded to a private album on Google +.  If you choose to share them there is zero upload time.  If not, You always have a web backup of your pictures that is seamless and automatic. Pictures in an album on Google+ are displayed in a very attractive gallery.  All pictures are uploaded in high resolution (where the source allows), and take up the whole browser window.  As mentioned above [automatic] geotagging is an option
PrivacyFacebook privacy has been an ongoing issue since its inception.  It seems like every time they update facebook, privacy settings are automatically defaulted (settings which are usually more permissive than you had previously set them). Lifehacker has a 2,379 word guide on how to keep your facebook privacy updated. They have to update the guide every time facebook updates their site.Google+ has a very simple profile setup page that allows you to specify each piece of information shared.  Google+’s method of “opt-in” sharing (of posts) is private by default and when you decide to post something, you have to determine right then who sees it.
Business/EnterpriseFacebook currently is one of the main “fan” pages that many businesses use. Business profiles are planned for Google+ in the near future. (Business profiles already exist in Google Places)
[Social] GamingFarmvilleIf you join a social website to play games then see the facebook column.
Many of the features involve the mobile app.  The iOS version of Google+ has already been submitted to the App store.  I would expect most of the same features to be available in all versions of the app.  The Android version is already live in the marketplace. As with any of Google's early creations, there is a lot of potential here. Imagine (for business use) a "hangout" where you could share your desktop and give a presentation... FOR FREE. Compare that to WebEX or other pay-to-use services that target the same use.  There are many features that can be elaborated extensively for attracting businesses. 

For more information and a great selection of demo videos, check out


Sparks is a feature of G+ that is not mentioned above.  Basically it lets you submit a subject you are interested in (ex. "Android Phones", "Rocks", "The Color, Red") and then provides you with new relevant articles in your feed.  You may also select from preexisting subjects.  Think of it as an RSS feed for subjects instead of a specific website.  The feature is ultimately powered by Google Search, providing the articles.

There's now a "manual" coming together thanks to the community.  120 people have come together to make this ultimate guide. Find it here:
(Don't forget, the document is instantly searchable by pressing [CTRL]+F in Google Chrome and other browsers.)

Here's a great resource for G+ settings and how to get the most from them:


And here's a G+ shortcut/tips cheat sheet (via mashable):


More good stuff by Lifehacker:

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