5 Ways Facebook Can Fight Back Against Google+
Compete With Circles
If the central innovation of Google+ (so far) is Circles, and the idea that your social graph doesn't boil down to a binary "friend" or "not friend," then Facebook could compete quite rapidly. Facebook already has a Lists feature, though not many people use it. From the Friends interface, you can click Manage Friend List, and start segregating your social graph. You can even put friends in multiple lists, just as you can sort them in multiple Circles on Google+. Right now, Lists are used only to control who can see which parts of your profile. You can message a list, but there's a limit of 20 recipients for any message.
Really, all Facebook needs to do is make the Lists feature more prominent and ubiquitous. If Facebook were to allow wall posts, photo/video sharing, event invitations, and all other instances of social sharing to be sent to specific lists, the company would essentially duplicate the functionality of Circles. Obviously, Facebook would want to prompt users to put their friends in a list each time they add a friend, and the entire Lists interface needs work, but those are problems that Facebook could solve in the short term. The underlying technology--the hard part--is already part of the platform.
Alternatively, Facebook could buy the startup Katango and deeply integrate its nifty friend-organizing technology.
--Jason Cross, Senior Editor
Trim Down Notifications
Facebook, you and I had a good thing going for a while. Unlike MySpace, you didn't have a lot of 13-year-old kids, you didn't allow glitter text or nasty-looking wallpaper on profiles, and you made it easy to get in touch with people from my childhood.
Then suddenly my news feed was filled with things I didn't care about.
I really don't want to know each and every time one of my friends becomes friends with someone I don't know. Although we can hide certain friends and apps to clean up the clutter, the options to do so on Facebook are limited. Either I can hide a single post, or completely mute an individual so that he or she never appears in my news feed again. Why not just give the option to hide notifications when someone changes their profile picture, or when they enter a relationship?
Right now Facebook has too much clutter, but I dare not mute anyone because I don't want them to drop off my social radar. Give us more control to filter out what we see in our news feed, and maybe, just maybe, I will come back--ready to poke people again (heck, I may even play a game of Tetris or two, just like in the old days). Until then, Facebook, it's over between us. I'm moving over to Google+, the sexy new social network on the block.
--Armando Rodriguez, Android phones and apps editor
Video: How to Set Google+ Privacy Settings