It’s nothing personal, but when Google+ came out, I favored most of its functions over a lot of the original Facebook ones. However, at the same time, I favored the Facebook population over Google+. With that mind, I’m still a pretty avid Facebook user (and not so much of a Google+ one).
However, since the release of Google+, Facebook has been subtly inserting extra features here and there that seem to be competing with Google’s social Frankenstein. The Palo Alto based social network hasn’t admitted that they are trying to keep up with the Joneses, but as the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words.
Share Stuff With Who You Want
Privacy is the name of the game in the social networking world, and for some reason, people actually think that they have some – hello, fellow conspiracy theorists. However, one thing that Google kept in mind with the creation of their network was the ability to share what you want with who you want. This was key in the development of their network, and that was especially noted with a system of adding friends that is reminiscent of Twitter.
Facebook has apparently taken a new step with social sharing and developed an easier way to narrowcast information to specific groups (a lot like Google+ did). Now, straight from your status update panel, you can choose who you want to share your information with whether that be all your friends, a designated category of Facebook users, or even specific people. Furthermore, you can hide your status update from certain people, which is great for planning surprise birthday parties (or preventing the boss from seeing pictures of your wild night out on the town).
As an end-note, you can tag friends that you are with just like always, but Facebook has updated this feature to be a little different. Furthermore, you can post your location using Microsoft Bing from the same panel. All in all, the new status update is probably the most direct competitive feature that Facebook has released in an answer to Google+, but it’s usable, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
View Your Profile As Someone Else
This new feature is a little like Google+’s profile preview. Actually, it’s a lot like Google+’s profile preview. As you might be able to tell, the function is quite similar even in design.
However, it gets the job done, and it’s just another option that allows you to check up on your privacy. Say, for instance, that I want to view my profile as my hypothetical lifelong arch-rival – Hans Bergmann. All I have to do is click the button on the top-right side of my user profile that says “View As…”, type his name in the provided box, and voilà, I now have the eyes of Hans. Alternatively, I can also view my profile as the public.
Approve Photos & Tagging Before They Are Posted
One of the problems that I have with photographs of me is simply this – I always look like I’m falling asleep. As you might be able to guess, I can’t stand it when people post these photos of me or tag me in them. Unfortunately, Facebook has not yet totally remedied the issue (and they certainly cannot remedy my photo-induced narcolepsy), but they have at least taken a few more precautions that make me feel a little better.
With the new Profile Review, each time someone decides to post a photo of you, you can manually approve or deny it before it shows up on your wall. In a similar fashion, you can approve or deny tags. Furthermore, those tags go for both photos and basic status updates – pretty spiffy.
In order to take advantage of the new review features, just go into your Facebook privacy settings and edit the options for “How Tags Work”. Turning these features on is as simple as clicking a button.
You really can’t blame Facebook for pumping up its features, and Zuckerberg has to at least try to keep his creation afloat. Besides, there’s nothing new under the sun, right? However, it would be nice to see a little more originality with some of the features (not counting the last one mentioned).
What other Facebook features have you found comparable to Google+? What kinds of options do you wish were added to Facebook? Are any of these elements too similar to Google+?
Image Credit: Bruce Clay Inc