Google Plus vs Facebook certainly had social media commentators buzzing after the launch of Google Plus in July 2011, but have we arrived at the stage where we can ask “Has The Battle Been Won?” Google Plus launched to a fanfare of high expectations and acclaim but in recent weeks those high expectations have been replaced by prophecies of impending doom. One of the most authoritative articles on this subject has come from the admittedly Facebook centric blog All Facebook. Here is the original article, written by Aidan Hijleh:
Google Plus started out growing faster than any social network has so far, but may not be able to compete against Facebook longer term.
The appeal is not sticking because many of the people that quickly flocked to Google Plus have made their way back to the comfort and familiarity of Facebook.
In fact, the inability to keep users engaged has some observers wondering just how long Google Plus will be able to survive.
A Closer Look At The Battle
Google Plus entered the social game at a time when competition was arguably at its fiercest. Facebook was just reported to have an estimated 750 million active users, while both Twitter and LinkedIn were making notable gains of their own.
In order to garner attention, Google would have to give users a different experience, and different is what it strived to be from the very beginning.
Even in its original beta form, Google Plus was equipped with a new friends system in Circles, a discovery engine in Sparks, and a group video chat tool in Hangouts, which recently made its way to the mobile platform.
Apparently all that wasn’t enough, as Facebook went to work with some countering of its own.
In addition to combating Circles with Smart Lists, and answering Hangouts with a Skype-powered video chat feature, Facebook rolled out some huge updates that once again made it the talk of the town.
The majority of the changes involved making the popular social platform more user-friendly, starting with the news feed.
The news feed has been designed in a manner that presents users with posts that are deemed to be most important to them, opposed to the most recent updates.
According to Facebook Engineering Manager Mark Tonkelowitz, the news feed experience is now like users having their own personal newspaper.
Despite not being embraced by the community as a whole, or at least not at first, the recent changes at Facebook have reclaimed the attention of both the general members and brands who spend their time on the site.
And while Google Plus still has some attributes that enable it to stand out, the lack of activity and return visits is a sign that users are having trouble justifying its worth in comParison to what they already have in Facebook.
Google Plus is not the search giant’s first attempt at social networking.
If you recall, the company launched Google Buzz in 2010, which fizzled out due to a major privacy flaw that accompanied the initial release and the same issue the company faces today — being useful in what can be considered an overly crowded space.
Google Plus definitely has more potential than Buzz, but should it bomb, it could very well be the last shot at ever touching Facebook in the social realm. Original here
Aidan Hijleh’s post in All Facebook appears to argue that the battle has largely been won. For my part I always thought Facebook was far too entrenched to be overturned as the leading social networking site. Not only does it have 800 million users, it also has a vast array of Apps plus a range of Page options for businesses, charities, groups and other communities. Many of these will have invested a considerable amount of time, energy and money in building their Facebook profile plus a range of networking options there. To expect these people and businesses to walk away from that never seemed to add up to me.
Like some other users, I warmly welcomed having the choice of utilising both Facebook and Google Plus but I suspect I’m in a minority who use both actively. For the typical user there isn’t much appeal in duplicating their commitment across both platforms due to inevitable time constraints. A monopoly is never desirable as the temptation to take users for granted will become overwhelming to that monopoly, so I wish the battle to continue for as long as possible. Unless Facebook starts scoring some spectacular own goals however, I can’t see much of an exodus to Google Plus. Despite complaints over issues like the Facebook News Feed algorithms and it’s tendency to give prominence to trivia over serious stories, only a small minority have so far felt strongly enough to abandon Facebook.
An alternative minority view is that Google never intended Google Plus to be a social networking platform or that it was ever intended to overthrow Facebook by instigating a mass exodus from it. Google simply will continue to integrate all of the Google “ecosystem” into Google Plus, such as Google Reader and Youtube so that ultimately all Google-powered online activity and user profiles become integrated so that Google’s position as the leading online advertising option is secured, a further by-product of that being that Facebook could lose it’s appeal and relevance as it becomes dwarfed by the emerging Google beast.
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