30 Days With Google+: Day 27
I have spent most of the 30 Days With Google+ series examining Google+ on its own merits as much as possible. When all is said and done, though, I can't ignore the fact that Google+ is a social network competing with other social networks. I dedicated Day 26 of the 30 Days With Google+ series to comparing Google+ and Twitter. Today, I will take a look at Google+ and its most direct competitor--Facebook.
Google+ and Facebook are different social networks, yet they are still alike in many ways. Google has managed to roll aspects of both a Twitter-style social network and a Facebook-style social network into one, but it is more than a little hard to ignore the direct similarities between Google+ and Facebook.
How They're Alike
Frankly, it might be easier to just focus on how they're not alike. With both Google+ and Facebook I have a network of people that I can share current events, status updates, photos, videos, and interesting links with. Google+ has me put them in Circles, while Facebook has me "Friend" them and separate them into Lists, but either way I am just connecting online with friends, family, and others.
The layout of the two social networks is virtually identical. On both Google+ and Facebook my profile picture appears as a thumbnail at the upper left next to a link that goes to my personal Profile page. At the top of the main window in the middle is a blank box for entering my updates to share with my social network, and beneath that is a stream of the most recent updates from those in my social network. The right pane presents suggested or recommended contacts to add to my social network.
If I took away the actual Facebook and Google+ logos and put the screens side by side, it would be difficult to tell them apart at a glance. The Profile pages are even more alike--with a larger profile pic thumbnail at the upper left and a string of five photos I have been tagged in displayed across the top.
Going beyond the look and feel, the similarities continue. In either Google+ or Facebook, I can click on the status entry box at the top of the page and type something witty, or talk about the jackass who cut in line at Starbucks, or whatever I feel like telling my social network. I can upload a photo (or take a new photo if posting from the mobile app). I can add a URL, and insert my GPS location information, choose who I want the information to be shared with, and post it.
On any given post from those in my social network, I can vote for it--with a +1 on Google+ or by "Liking" it on Facebook. I can comment on the post, and I can share the post--essentially reposting the same post to my own social network.
How They're Different
There are a few major ways that Google+ is unique from Facebook in my mind. The length of the updates, the ability to "Follow" people who aren't really in my social network, the lack of polls, and the Circles concept stand out.
• Post Length. Facebook is like Twitter in that it has established an arbitrary limit on how long my status updates can be. Granted, the maximum on Facebook is significantly higher than Twitter's 140 characters, but I have still frequently run into issues where I have had to cut words and censor my thoughts in order to make it fit on Facebook, or I have had to break my thought up and post the original post followed immediately by a comment on that post where I finish what I was saying.