Google plus or Google+ is still in it’s early days, yet the hype is there. Everyone wants in on it and some tempers can’t handle the lack of invitations.

This time I think Google has got a foot in the door when it comes to social networks, something it didn’t manage to do with it’s earlier attempts, like google buzz and google wave. Orkut also wasn’t very successful (it seems in Brazil it is still quite popular) and Google was eager to find a way to fight Facebook and regain some of the popularity Facebook was enjoying. In one swift action it managed to regain that popularity, and also deliver a hard blow to Facebook.

As for me, I’ve always favored twitter. I use it for personal and professional reasons. I find it easier to locate good sources of information on twitter than on Facebook. Not to say that there aren’t any. I just prefer twitter. It’s more immediate, and all in all, less intrusive.  My use of Facebook is more personal,  where I played a couple of games (yes even Farmville) and made some “friends” from all over the world just to get more contacts.

Now, with Google+ this picture may change. Just a few days since it’s launch it has already made a few points for itself. It has a tremendous potential, and I’m sure the people at Facebook are worried. Even before opening to the masses, Google+ is a worthy opponent.

Let’s take a look at some of the features that make Google+ a better, or ‘more complete’ service than Facebook. Obviously, this is my opinion based on my limited exposure to Google+.

Integration with all the other Google services

Google already has a large group of services that Google+ can rely on.  Google profiles, Google Docs, and Picasa are just some examples, probably the most obvious ones. I believe Google will integrate more and more of their services so that Google+ will actually be the reinvention of Google. This isn’t all good. There is a huge potential for mischief. Despite some minor problems Google, has been quite good in keeping our information safe, even if they crawl through it as much as they like.

Better control

Facebook has redefined it’s security and privacy features, so many times, I think even they lost count. And a lot of those times, they managed to fumble their settings, resetting users to an unprotected, or at least less protected, state, provoking some angered reactions.

Twitter, on the other hand has always been much easier to understand. From day one it was clear that anyone could read your tweets, save for DMs.

Despite this fact, they also had some issues, but to a much lesser extent than Facebook.

Google+ is, profiting on that experience, and has provided users with much finer control over what they share, and with whom they share it. This is just common sense. It would be silly not to learn from the others mistakes. Google+ seems to have things under control. Even then hay had a minor issue with people re-sharing stuff that had been shared with them, that was soon fixed.

Google+’s circles is a clever way to organize your contacts, and mimics the way we organize our real life friends. It is very extensible and lets you organize things any way you want.

More targeted information

Because of google’s search related work, and of course all the data mining it has done on our data, it is very good at presenting us with relevant information targeted to our interests. Something FB can’t do at the same level. In FB, most information comes from the outside, posted in FB and then shared by people. In Google+, it can be suggested to you.

Security

This is a complicated issue. FB has been around for some time, and it’s security track record isn’t the best. I’m specifically referring to protection of user data, which has been FB’s weak spot since I can remember. They’ve also made it hard for people to quit FB, even hiding the cancellation links deep inside some half buried pages.

Google+ is new to the game, but it can leverage on the company’s experience and background. It reacted pretty quickly to the first incident, when it was found that people could re-share information, in fact sharing it beyond your contacts They fixed it, and got a lot of positive feedback for doing it quickly and in coming forward and explaining what had happened and how they had fixed it. Sharing feels much safer in google+ than in FB.

As to the cancellation button, it’s quite easy to find 🙂

Mobile support.

I installed the google + android app and it seems simple enough. I never installed the FB one, so I can’t really compare.

 

All things considered, google+ has a pretty good product. Still in limited access mode, it’s already showing a lot of potential. I’m eagerly waiting for an API to see what people will come up with.

 

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