3 Ways Facebook Is [Seemingly] Combating Google+

icon1   3 Ways Facebook Is [Seemingly] Combating Google+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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Conclusion

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

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18 Comments -

Crawford

The only thing that’s post-Google+ on this list is the Facebook SmartLists.

J. Lockhart

I’ll go ahead and say my reply to k-tron applies here, too.

mkram0

Skype also integrates with Facebook.. Another feature!

J. Lockhart

That one I remember coming out before Google+, I believe. Granted, it is possible there was a rush to put it out beforehand, but either way it’s still a good feature.

Anonymiss

The first two features where implemented by Facebook ages ago. I’ve been using them ever since they came into being i.e to be precise, before Google+ existed.

J. Lockhart

I believe that my reply to k-tron may be applicable here.

k-tron

I agree with Anonymiss, these features have been around on facebook for quite a while. It just came down to the end-user to use them and make them functional. In creating “lists” and including certain people (ie. a friendlist for co-workers, family etc. etc.) from there you were able to decide exactly what lists saw certain information posted on your profile, in your status, in your photo albums. With the advent of google+ it seems as facebook has just put more of an emphasis on these features which in turn has led more people to actually start using them. New? no. A good idea? yes. Ultimately end-user privacy relies on the end-user. A users privacy really comes down to their own initiative, we should all keep in mind these are companies, who do make profit based on our interaction with their services, for any privacy conscious user, this should be enough to make you want to scour the features and settings of any social networking platform…… but these are just my views. 

J. Lockhart

Perhaps it is a stronger emphasis, but I’m positive that these features (maybe in a newer form or fashion) have been released rather recently. I was aware of friends lists, but the new status panel seems to make things quite a bit easier than before. So I would go as far as to say that they are new. Are they similar to the older ones? Yes. Are they the exact same older ones? Nah. However, it looks like the screws have been tightened up. Even something like the theater-mode of photographs has changed – same function, but executed better.

You’re right, though. It’s all about what the user ends up doing. Any service – anything at all, really – is what its users make it to be. Furthermore, when a company sees what its users want, they will do their best to bring out the best of what they have.

Miggs

Yes, but there’s a difference. Google+ is a Circe-based social network whereas Facebook is a social network. G+ came to be this way, they promoted this feature, put it there up-front and polished it a lot. When you sign up, you put persons into circles, share posts with a friend only, or ten of them. 

On the other hand, after 3 years of using Facebook you find the feature somewhere: “OMG I could build lists of friends but I already have 1348 so it doesn’t worth it. I shared everything with them until now so it’s not that bad.” So happens with the selective post features. Most people don’t see it, or don’t bother using it.

That’s why FB tries to automate these things. They’re trying to make the SmartLists just to show their users how it works.

J. Lockhart

Let me just say that I always knew that the friends lists exist. Like you said, though, the features shown (with the status update panel) does things a little differently building on the original features, and it would seem that Facebook is using it as a vehicle to make users aware.

On a side-note, do you prefer the circles or do you prefer good old Facebook’s method of sharing?

Miggs

You and a lot of people knew about lists ( especially the geek ones ) but few actually used it. I myself know it’s there but don’t bother using it. None of my closest friends know about lists.
And I think the masses would have lived without. Companies don’t get that. Lots of users don’t want astonishing changes it their products. That’s why they’ve chosen it in the first place. 

And yes, I prefer Google circles. I actually shared 50+ posts with a friend only. On Facebook I don’t post at all lately. 

google+ loner

I don’t see why facebook has to do anything, for some reason all my friends have totally stopped using google+.

J. Lockhart

I believe you’re a rare breed, my friend. I come from a Facebook area, so I still primarily share on there. I wish we could do a study on how many people have switched entirely.