The past few months have been rather hostile in the virtual land of social networking. The back and forth between Facebook and Google+ has left me feeling like us users are just pawns in their game of chess, using us strategically to take the other guy down.
The latest in the Great Social War of 2011 and Beyond came yesterday, when, uncoincidentally, Google+ rolled out nine new updates and Facebook got its second (3rd, 4th?) facelift in a few short months. This comes at a very convenient time as Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference is tomorrow (read what we thought about F8 in this post from the future). Just think how closely we are being watched right now!
Changes made to Google include G+ opening to the public, hangouts going mobile and adding extras, integrating Google Docs and other popular Google services to their social network platform. Only, anyone interested in Google+ seemed to be the geeks already on the network and the excitement pretty much stayed there with them.
Changes made to Facebook have garnered more attention, as the changes are more dramatic and the first thing you see when logging in. There are also more people on Facebook to give a darn. The biggest change was to users homepage, where there is now “top news” at the, er, top of the page. You can chose what is top news but checking or unchecking posts, or you can let Facebook decided with its witchcraft. I mean analytics.
There is also the ticker, which displays real time news on the right side. Like any changes made to Facebook, the ticker had caused mass panic on the social highways which will eventually pass, at least until next month when even more new features suddenly appear. Hey, I get it – I deactivated my account for a week when the news feed first premiered, but that was during my conspiracy-minded liberal college days.
A feature that I particularly like on Facebook is its ability to create lists for you. No, not the creepy kind based on who you poke the most, but going off of real information the actual person inserted into their own profile, such as school, hobbies, etc. Lists have been around a while on Facebook, but I know very few people that used them. Plus, I’m far too lazy to go through all 1200 preexisting friends (humble brag) and decide where to put them.
Although it is similar to G+ circles, it can be difficult to determine who belongs in what group. Sure, people can as many groups as they’d like, but do I really need forty different circles? But she’s a friend AND a coworker, so I can’t put her in friends…but I want to share more than just office posts….I know! I’ll make a ‘Coworkers who are kinda like friends but shouldn’t see all my friend list posts’ list.
Reading feedback for both sites, many people are treating the Facebook and Google debate is like the classic NSync vs. Backstreet Boy dilemma – you can only choose one favorite, and you must hate the other. Just with less crying preteen girls…they’re all on Tumblr.
So where do they stand in the arm’s race? Depends on who you ask.
Personally, I still think G+ has the most potential, as it has far more useful features I will actually use …once there are people on G+ to use them with. Alas, Facebook is still on top, and if they continue to improve on Google’s ideas, they might actually create what us consumers want, although we don’t know what “that” is. We may be pawns in the battle now, but when (if) the competition is over, the users are guaranteed to win. But, at the end of the day, Twitter is still my fav.
So what do you think of the new changes? Who do you want to see on top?