Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Facebook vs Google+

Palak Singh

Social networking has given a whole new meaning to “stay connected”. Facebook, being the king of the market currently, Google’s smooth entry in June this year has given it some healthy competition.

Known to have a strong reputation in its field, Google+ played it smart by enticing people with its “invite only” marketing strategy. Soon the people on World Wide Web were abuzz of the new social networking site and eager to get an invitation. Most of the email users have an account on Gmail which made it easier to access it once you’ve logged in. The website which has taken well over two years to launch racked in over £900,000 from investors promising to make them all millionaires within a short period of time.

However, Facebook which was launched in 2006 has a collection of more than 750 million loyal users and consistent growth which makes it the leader of social networking sites and Google+ having 32 million users falls sixth in the ranking.

Google+ doesn’t seem to be much of a crowd puller. It is not shocking that people who have joined Google+ have not abandoned their Facebook accounts. As the latter is new in the market, most of people’s friends have not joined it yet. So one continues to poke, post, upload on Facebook itself. You cannot help but notice the striking similarity between both the sites. This has its own advantages i.e. making the people feel comfortable during the switch.

Google boasts about segregating people in your account which are known as Circles. They consist of friends, family acquaintances, following etc. You can choose which person has access to which circle. However, the downside to this feature is that most of the users do not like making the discrimination and drag all the people they know in ‘friends’ circle. Another major negative aspect of this feature is that people who you are unfamiliar to, can add you to their circles irrespective if you want to be in theirs or not. Even after blocking the person, you continue to be visible in each other’s profile.

Facebook on the other has segregation within friends you have already added. That’s just an added feature. One can choose their friends by simply accepting or ignoring a friend request. Now there is a new feature that allows you to completely stop receiving friend requests repeatedly from people you do not want to communicate with. It also has a block list which helps you eradicates your existence on Facebook from anyone whom you choose to.

Even though Google’s profit making machine- advertising is more powerful than Facebook (Facebook ads), Google+ still has to work its way up to gain the popularity that latter has. Facebook also gives power to a user to create fan pages for free, which can be for a person, organization, network, product/service etc. It is common for companies, celebrities, media houses etc. to ask its followers to “like” their page on Facebook. Google+ still needs to gain that recognition.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Picasa, Gmail, can all be merged on Google+ which is probably a relief for many active users. This is similar to Facebook, where one can merge Twitter, YouTube and Skype in their account.

Google+ seems to be hassle-free with all the extra white space. Currently, there isn’t much crowding of information such as applications and fan pages. However, the Google+ chat is a bit more confusing (most people do not know it exists) as compared to the Facebook chat but maybe people just need to get accustomed to it.

“I would rather choose Facebook over Google as I have been using it since 2007. All my photos and videos are already stored in my account. Google+ seems to be a copy of Facebook. Besides, only a few of my friends are on Google+”, said an 18-year-old BMM student Vishakha Tyagi. “Facebook is constantly upgrading its features fortnightly. However the pace at which Google+ is growing, neck-to-neck contest is possible”, said 26-year-old IT professional Puneet Singh.

There is still a long way to go for Google+ to gain a threshold in the market and before people start ignoring Facebook like Orkut and get their hands on the most happening website to socialize on.

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