Any time a pioneering social platform emerges amongst the existing social networking giants, comparisons are seemingly inevitable to avoid. It is a familiar pattern: Friendster versus MySpace…MySpace versus Facebook…Facebook versus Twitter…and now, we have the latest collaborative effort from the prevailing Internet matrix, Google. It was only a matter of time that Google jumped into the deep end of the networking pool to join the floating social devices, Facebook and Twitter, for a not-so-casual swim (MySpace has already sunk to the bottom, however). Charlie Sheen might have provided the common “winning” term with a whole new popular culture connotation (an overkill one to say the least), but in this never-ending social media competition—does the newly developed Google+ have the ability to achieve a dominant status amongst its groundbreaking, “winning” predecessors? That remains to be seen.
While critics have the ability (and time) to nitpick every minute detail of the Google’s newest profile and then subsequently match those qualities up against the current networking royalty—Facebook and Twitter—that could result in a monotonous “he said, she said”… “I’m better than you”…back-and-forth argument regarding the steep uphill climb to the top of the social web mountain. And since I am personally not capable of predicting the future, it is merely impossible to know which site will be standing tall(est) in the very end, but for now, a generic features analysis containing basic comparisons shall suffice to determine the Google+ competitive market value.
Google + Facebook = Similarities & Differences
Facebook, even from the very beginning, continues to pride itself on the simple searchable ability to build a network of friends. As soon as Google+ revealed its unique Circles concept, Facebook quickly revamped its own organizational system of “grouping” friends into distinct sections that allows the user to exclusively share content with those members and those members only. Google+ Circles, similarly, allows the user to arrange friends into the categorical shape, offering the choice to share specific information to the circles of their choice. This setting is utilized directly through the posting box, instead of forcing the user to another area within the networking space. Basically, the filtering tool gives users the opportunity to choose which circles see certain posts. That is the biggest difference from Facebook—Google+ Circles is a main feature that is predicated on the selectivity of interactive hierarchies of influencers, while Facebook grouping is a supplementary option that is available more for convenience rather than primary functionality.
You know what they say…what’s in a profile anyway?
Well, maybe that’s not how the phrase actually goes, but for the sake of social media… “what’s in a profile anyway” is quite a valid inquiry nonetheless. Nowadays, it seems virtually impossible to create a profile page without the familiar, proverbial real-time stream of status updates. MySpace embraced it, Facebook greatly improved it, Twitter mastered it, and Google+ includes the activity stream as well. Through showing the flowing activity from the user’s friends, Google+ has joined the news feed brigade with an integrated feature that has yet to distinctly separate itself from its networking neighbors. This portion proves that sometimes, the image speaks louder than words. Take a look for yourself:
Google+ 1, Facebook -1
Probably the most appealing aspect of the Google+ service is the inventive Google+ Hangout, which is a virtual video chat that adds a physical level to the complex technological world. Google+ Hangouts benefit users in a way that prompts meaningful conversations through yet another novel channel, with the capacity to simultaneously attach and share links/files/media as well as message with text while engaging in the virtual chat. By switching to the person who is speaking at a given moment, and nine can participate, the Hangout platform places emphasis on the real-life physicality of a face-to-face meeting. So, why is this important for businesses, too? Google+ Hangout essentially enhances business-to-customer relationships because it gives them a new means of connection and engagement with the presented product, driving relevant discussions and communicative exchanges. Tyra Banks even held a recent Google+ Hangout in an attempt to market her new book to the social media-savvy public.
I could even make a case that Google+ Hangout served as the corporeal classroom for this particular online course as my group and I utilized the platform to conduct meetings, assign individual responsibilities, generate project productivity, and even playfully socialize in a revolutionary environment. Just by making (us) everyday social media users revel in that evocative feeling of being a mesmerized kid in a candy store…is reason enough for this particular round to go to Google+. Facebook messenger is definitely a useful form of instant messaging—bringing friends together through synchronized, typed dialogue; however, the Google+ visual conference is an exclusive element that allows the platform to bask in the glory of the main spotlight….even if just for a moment.
Even though this investigative analysis can fully explore all the social possibilities that each site has to offer, it does have to end at some point. Unfortunately, that dreaded time has come. Overall, it can be disputed that Twitter is the King of information, Facebook is the King of all social media, and Google is the King of the web…so what happens when Google infiltrates their territory? The answer: it is simply too early to tell. Thankfully, that is for another day as Google+ aims to make its mark, but also separate itself from the networked collaborative systems that have generally dominated the social world…until now. The competition is heating up, so stay tuned!
(Feel free to ‘like’ this blog post. Or for the sake of Google vernacular, +1 me! …Kidding.)