While I have no doubt that Facebook will probably never cease to be a website, I am hopeful that eventually it will die a slow, horrible death like Myspace. Since they have unveiled their new News Feed, a lot of people seem to be jumping ship…and joining Google+, which no longer requires invitations to join. I’d be curious to see the statistics for how many new members Google+ has gained just since Facebook changed their layout (for the millionth time in the past 5 years, since I became a member).
After less than a day of using Google+, I’ve already noticed some features that I really like. Like Facebook, each member has a profile and their home page consists of a “news feed”, or Stream. The Stream can be easily be filtered to determine whose posts you want to see. Facebook is trying something similar with their “Smart Lists”, but it’s different from Circles used on Google+. You control who goes into which Circles, and new ones are easy to create. Smart Lists are created for you, by Facebook.
To “add” someone on Google+, you must add them to a Circle, and vice versa. This I like because there is none of the “confirm” or “not now” business, like on Facebook. I don’t know why you can’t opt to not be friends with someone on Facebook. I don’t want a “not now” option; I want to have the option to say “there is absolutely no way in hell that I am letting this psychopath view my Facebook profile”. With Google+, you can either add someone to a Circle or not. Even after you add them to a Circle, you have complete control over what that Circle gets to see.
That’s another thing that Google+ seemed to learn from Facebook: Don’t have shoddy privacy settings. Ultimately, these are social networking sites and they don’t want you to hide everything. They want to ensure that people will be able to find you using a basic search. But Google+ is much more versatile about allowing you to choose who you want to see your posts.
I’m very disappointed that Facebook has changed their layout. They have added a ridiculous “news feed within a news feed” on the right side of the home page. So now you can view the same posts in two different places on the same page. Literally, I watched a status update show up in my News Feed and then appear on the right side in the miniature news feed. I’m not even sure if Facebook has a term for that strange, superfluous box. I’d like to stay a member of Facebook, since people have tagged me in hundreds of pictures and I’m still waiting for Google+ to gain more members. The bottom line is that I had finally settled into their previous layout. I liked the two filter options they had given me, which were essentially “Top News” and “Most Recent”. This allowed me to view things chronologically or to view the most popular recent posts. Now, I find it difficult to find things in my Feed at all.
Normally, I’m slow to switch over to a new social networking site. I don’t have a Twitter and I’m still trying to figure out my LinkedIn profile. But Google+ seemed like a great solution to all of the problems I have with Facebook. I’m still learning all of the things it has to offer, but I really like that my e-mail and social networking are finally in the same place. Overall, I give it a +1.