Some people says that comparing Google Plus to Facebook is like comparing apples to oranges, that metaphor is actually perfect, while apples and oranges are two different thing, they are still fruits. While both Google Plus engineers and Facebook engineers say that their products are both different in the end of the day it is still a social network.
Google Plus is currently in the field test process, even thought Google says that, but there are already a sizable amount of people on it. Most of them are techies and geeks, the early adopters.
This is Google’s third attempt into ‘Social’ the area where Facebook is kicking everyone’s ass. With Google in the picture, it’s no longer a David versus Goliath battle it’s a Goliath versus Goliath battle.
Google first attempt in social was Orkut, a friendster like clone of a social network which apparently only picks up in Brazil. Orkut is like the weird family member that everyone in Google is embarrassed to admit. Then there were Google Buzz, which everyone is referring to as “that annoying thing on Gmail that thinks it is Twitter.” Maybe third time is the charm for Google?
With Google Plus the social connection is loosely based which follows the Twitter structure. You might be following someone but that someone might not follow you back. On Facebook it’s a friend system, where you have to approve someone as your friend. However Facebook recently also announce the subscribe button where you can just subscribe to someone with out befriending him or her.
They are taking it slow with Google Plus, launching it with just a couple of features and adding to it as time comes. They also only recently added some support for API access.
‘Stream’ is where you will see stuff people you follow posted. It could be photos, videos links or just updates. It’s similar to what you do on Facebook. Interestingly you can set to which ‘Circles’ you want the item you posted to show up.
‘Circles’ is what differentiate Google Plus from other Social Networks. However, it isn’t something really new, just that the way Google implements it works. Facebook have been wanting it’s users to group their friends or put their contacts into lists, Google Plus’ Circles interface actually makes that daunting process easy. Know who else that put friends into circles? Dante. All nine Circles of them.
Here is a video from Google explaining ‘Circles’: -
‘Hangouts’ is yet another thing that differentiate for others. It’s a web based video conferencing feature that lets you video chat with up to ten people at the same time. It’s like a virtual hangout place where people can come, chat and leave at any time. It’s a cool feature, but I have yet to really use it. Most of the time I’m either on the Internet with crappy speeds or on the Internet behind a firewall that blocks stuff.
Check out the video from Google explaining ‘Hangouts’:-
The ‘Photos’ feature is also not something new. You can upload photos, store it in albums as stuff. Friends can comment on photos, all this have been done before.
‘Profile’ also isn’t much you haven’t seen else where. One interesting thing to note is that he is also the place where you can see all the links you have used the ‘+1′ button with. The plus +1 button is Google’s equivalent to the Facebook’s ‘Like’ button. Right now there is no vanity URL for your Google Plus profile, at least non that I know of. You can’t get a URL something like plus.google.com/jibone, what you get is plus.google.com/(some random long number which I think represents your id)
The newest edition to Google plus is ‘Games’. You can’t have a social network without games. How else would you attract housewives to join in? One thing I like about this is that Games are on a separate tab. You won’t see request notification on your main ‘Stream’, which is good. The last thing I want is yet another social network where people ask me to help out on their virtual farm or join their imaginary virtual mob gang.
Check out this video promo of Google+ Games:-
Google Plus is still at its infancy. It can’t be compared with Facebook in a one to one, feature to feature basis, just yet. There are still many more stuff being develop. I would like to see Google Plus being integrated with all of the other Google properties.
Of all the internet companies, Google seems to be the only one that might have the resource to challenge to Facebook’s social dominance. But it’s still too early to tell.
Currently I love Google Plus just for the fact that my mom isn’t on it, yet. If you still not sure about Google Plus, watch this video:-
J Shamsul is a webzine producer. While not writing for Wirawan Web, he writes and maintain Jiboneus.com, a webzine focusing on arts, film, music, and technology. Follow him on Twitter @jibone and jshamsul.com.
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