Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Why I prefer Facebook to Google+

Google+, the most happening site of the month, somehow doesn't impress me as much as I had expected! To me, Google+ profile is merely my old 'Google Profile' with friend groups and all my gchat, Youtube, Orkut, Buzz, Maps, GMail and Picasa accounts linked to it with fancy names like "circles", "sparks" etc. And yes, not to forget about "+1", which is just the same as "like" in Facebook.

But, the whole idea of having a single account to use all our Google widgets is cool. It has its own set of pros and cons. With a single sign in, we can have the entire web experience- social networking, web search, mails, photo sharing, video sharing and everything possible in a web, which is good! Given someone's name in the web, the complete history and geographical detail of that person can be tracked. Not to forget that ads will be beautifully placed as Google will pretty much know all of our interests and everything we do in the web world. Those details will in-turn be used for page ranking and ads placement by Google for obvious reasons. To know more about Google+ in an advertiser's perspective, click here. But people who are worried about privacy might not like all of these.

You would have noticed that all photos in Google+ is shared using Picasa. But a big mistake is that Google+ profile pictures have become "public" in Picasa web album. Looks like Google image search on someone's name will return his/her photo, which is highly undesirable to many. I just wish that something is done about it by making the 'Privacy settings' better.

And what's the big deal about "circles"? It is just the same concept of friend groups but with a fancy user-interface! Moreover, selecting a circle for every post is just tiring to me! Please let me know if there is a way to set a default to this. The default should have been "Your Circles" instead of "Public". And, People can just randomly add me to their circles irrespective of me adding them to mine. This might hurt sometimes when I add someone to my circle, and that person doesn't, but I still appear as his follower- This was something that I hated in Buzz and now they have propagated here too. I've always preferred the classic way of sending friend request to get into someone's network.

"Hangout" is something which is interesting, I should agree. I can create group of all my friends and just "hangout" with them. Let's see how far people would use this feature though.

BTW, what about communities/pages? Isn't there something similar in Google+ or did I miss it somehow? But people can just open a separate Google Account in the name of the community they want to start and post/share things in Google+. Others can follow them and they need not follow any. But not sure if there is any alternative to 'Discussion forum' here. But overall, wish there was something similar to the 'Facebook Pages'.

And Google should also find a way to facilitate use of Apps for games, quizzes and others to improve the social experience. We are used to having fun by using an app and publishing on the Facebook Wall and seeing people comment on it.

Overall, except for "Hangout", I am not moved by any other feature in Google+. Moreover that is the only new thing introduced here and we had everything else already, just that they were in different names. And the greatest irony of all time is that Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is the most followed user in Google+ !



  1. Do you think Google plus will have a great impact on the social network scene? or will it just fizzle out like Google previous attempts.

  2. Difficult question. G+ had a decent start given that it was just beta. They will have to add more features and make it more interesting to increase the number of "active" users.

  3. The profile picture is necessarily public in fb too, though not in the full size - which does make significant difference to many. I think the Googlers didn't think about that difference, perhaps you should give feedback?

    I think the other stuff like communities and apps will come in with time; this is only a testing phase after all. Maybe they could integrate Google groups and Google appspot itself for those? That would be awesome, provided they allow enough customizations on the notifications.

  4. @Sundar
    In facebook, just the pic which is currently your profile picture is public, that too in smaller size. Old profile pictures present in the album can be hidden from those who are not your friends (Privacy settings allows this). But in case of G+, not just the current profile pic, but all profile pics (that is the entire album) is public.

    And yes, integration of Google groups would be great! Totally agree...

  5. Ah yes, that is one huge difference. Perhaps they expect us to move old photos to other albums; that's stupid though.

    About selecting your circles for every post, at least as of today, G+ seems to default to whoever you shared with the previous time you posted stuff, rather than to Public. I think this is the way Fb does it too, and in any case the best option IMO.

  6. "Looks like Google image search on someone's name will return his/her photo, which is highly undesirable to many."

    To what you said above - can't you change that using search visibility which'll be at the bottom of 'edit profile' page?

  7. I just noticed that option in detail. Hope others who are not in my circles don't get to see my photo as image results. Thanks!