Google+ has been featured in social media and tech news since its launch a few weeks ago. Often writers will compare Google+’s features to its most obvious social media rival, Facebook. Even though Google+ is a young service (even by web standards), it still seems to be giving Facebook and other competitors a run for their money. What follows is a brief comparison of the two services on basic components that make a social media tool appealing: networking, sharing, and privacy.
Right off the bat, we can recognize that Facebook (as of now) vastly outshines Google+’s networking potential. Facebook users number in the hundreds of millions (over 950 million “active” users according to Facebook), and their number is growing rapidly. If you start a Facebook profile today, statistically you have a much greater chance of building a network among like-minded peers than you would on Google+. One could argue that Google+ has a superior system of networking because the service draws on a person’s contacts from a person’s other social media profiles (like Gmail) in order to start the user with core contacts. You may find familiar faces on Google+, but the number of potential connections is nothing compared with those possible on Facebook.
This component showcases Google+’s edge over Facebook. Google+’s circles feature allows the user to separate their contacts into group based on the user’s preference, and the user can then choose to share information with one group and withhold it from another. Jaded Facebook users will often complain of the uninteresting and annoying content that fills their walls, often from Facebook users whose activities they have no real interest in. While you can block information from certain profiles on Facebook, this must be done so on a case-by-case basis. With Google+ you can have contacts that you may be obligated to add, but you won’t be forced to share information with them unless you want to.
Both services have their merits, but it’s ultimately up to you to decide which works for you. Google+ has its flaws but it’s a new service with a lot of potential as a useful social networking tool (and backing by the biggest company in the industry). Facebook also has endless opportunity to innovate, growing in users every day. Which do you prefer?
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