Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Google Plus vs Facebook – An Overview

Google has again entered into the social networking game with new strategies. Google’s new social networking platform Google plus has been released as an “Invite only” release and this is a popular marketing techniques nowadays to intensify the users’ urge to join while doing the beta testing with a limited number of users. I got an invite and explored it for a while and all I can say is Google+ is really cool. However, at this stage it’s very hard to predict if the Google plus vs Facebook competition will make sense. Because, social networking is a market that closely works on peoples’ psychology giving them a virtual world with an environment that they want. Google already has it’s social network Orkut, which has almost been ignored by many and it does not have any potential to grow. It’s still bit popular in India and a few other countries and it speaks all about it. Forget Orkut, even google has forgotten it now.

Facebook is the most successful social network in the internet history, unlike the other social networks facebook’s growth is solid and it keeps the platform changing frequently so as to give the people something new and keeping them busy with them so that they will not feel bored and think of going outside facebook (not for all all but for the majority it works). Moreover facebook started challenging the other Internet giants who are/were not at all into the social networking business. Though google is still the largest Internet company it has been affected a lot by the growth of facebook. How? Because google’s main income is coming from advertising (Google Ads) and after facebook started it’s advertising game (Facebook Ads) the advertisers got another choice and the growth of facebook grabbed some advertising areas from google as the social network allows some kind of unique demographic targeting that a search engine or content network can’t provide. Still Google is bigger than facebook and the Advertising market google has is much higher than Facebook but the things can change in future and it’s likely in come context.
Why google wants to get into the social networking business?
Search engines can’t expand it’s user-base in a bigger way like social networking.  If a person wants to search something on the Internet he will use google – that’s all (forget other search engines since they are too small compared to google). But the social network, on the other hand has a highly expanding user-base. The social networks drag the people into the virtual world and do the necessary things to keep the person inside that virtual world for a long possible time while making him drag some other people too into this virtual world. The more a user spends his time on facebook the greater the money facebook makes. Today facebook has set many new standards to social networking and now facebook’s standards has become the current definitions of social networking. Thus, google can not go away from the current social networking standards and eventually the Google+ looks like a facebook clone. However, one of the nature of the business world is “Copying from other successful businesses”. Facebook copied some core concepts of twitter too in their later releases and those features helped facebook to expand it’s boundaries even more. Due to these issues I don’t see the copying some features of facebook and any other social networks is not going to make google looks bad. It’s just business and as a user what I only want is a social networking environment that gives me the environment I want. Still I don’t want to bring joindiaspora here as it has not proved itself in the real market yet though some features of google+ reminds the joindiaspora (still it’s a beta) too.
The best way to describe an unknown is comparing it with a well known, let me compare Google+ and Facebook!

Google plus vs Facebook – My thoughts :

The pluses of Google+ over Facebook
  1. Google+ provides better privacy and well layered grouping – circles
  2. Google+ does not have annoying applications like facebook (may be yet)
  3. Google+ combines facebook and twitter together when the main features are concerned
  4. Google+ is simple and sweet – May be just because it new
  5. Google+ uses the google chat for chatting. It is much better than facebook chat
The minuses of Google+ over Facebook
  1. Google+ lacks some features that facebook has (Since it’s new and beta)
  2. Google+ does not have anything special for a typical facebook freak who does not care much about privacy
  3. Google+ does not have the own powerful branding as a social network (It’s a sub-product of google and not a mere social network brand like “facebook”) However, this is how it could be released because a unique branding is too weeker to compete facebook

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