Google + Has Some Plusses Over Facebook

 @ibtimes
on June 29 2011 9:32 PM
Google Plus Screen Shot
A look at Google Plus Google/Screen Shot IBTimes

On the surface, Facebook and Google+ are not too dissimilar.

In terms of aesthetics, they look like twins. Here's a description of a Google+ profile. Picture in the upper left hand corner, next to the user's name in bold face on the right with details of their occupation right below that. Their posts are the first thing that comes up when you click on their profile but tabs can take users to photos, an about me section, the +1 section (which is a dead ringer for a Facebook Like) and finally Buzz, which is a slight difference. On the stream page, there is a feed of everyone in the user's circle, which looks identical to Facebook's news feed.

All this sound familiar? A quick look at Google+ and you might believe the developers used the Zuckerberg handbook when creating it.

However, there are some definite differences between the two social networks. Obviously, since it's in the development project stage as Google says, it is nowhere near as comprehensive as Facebook. It does have some advantages over the establishment though.

One such advantage is a feature called Circles, which lets users share and communicate strictly with a specific group of friends or family. As a Google spokesperson said, with Circles you share the right things with the right people. Rather than treat all friends the same, Circles lets users share things with certain people.

One tech analyst, Charles King, from Pund-IT, says Google may have tapped into human nature better than Facebook ever has with this function.  

Circles is an interesting feature. While Facebook does support the group function, Google Circles is a more intuitive approach and seems to mimic the way people work in their lives. Most tend to associate themselves with a group of people and certain environments, King said.

The idea of sharing things with only a select amount of people leads to another possible advantage the company has over Facebook: privacy. It may be odd talking about Google social networks and privacy considering the company's transgressions with Buzz. However, the company seems to have gotten it right with Google+, mainly because of the Circles function.

Google+ makes it easy for users to share different things with different people, and understand how they appear to others, the spokesperson for Google said.

There are numerous privacy settings within Google+, but overall it just seems like its geared for privacy. King also sees Google+ as possibly being more private for users than Facebook.

It allows people to be more selective in the way they share information and share the details of their lives, King said. There's a generation of people that have gotten used to the way Facebook sees it, it will be interesting to see if they prefer having a greater degree of choice.

There is also the integration factor, which could give Google+ a leg up. Already, Google has built in many of its services to Google+ such as Picassa, Gmail and Google Apps into Google+. Integrations with Google's popular smartphone operating system, Android, make it have a leg-up in mobile. Undoubtedly, the company will continue to expand on this.

Google has a much richer ecosystem than Facebook or any other social networking company, King said.

The company could also integrate Google Search, its most powerful weapon in cyberspace. According to ComScore, the company has roughly two-thirds of the search market down pat.

Overall, Google admits its not trying to replace Facebook or any social network with its Google+ service. As analysts like King say, taking on the all-mighty Facebook (with its nearly 700 million users) would be suicide. However, the company basically said it's trying to fill gaps.

At first glance, it may have done a decent job.

Follow Gabriel Perna on Twitter at @GabrielSPerna

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