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google vs facebookSocial networking appears to be here to stay; human beings are social creatures, and we love to know what our peers are doing and thinking. The platform, however, can definitely shift and change with time. Crowds are notoriously fickle, and a platform that seems awesome one day can seem outdated and lame the next (MySpace, anyone?).

Facebook has around 800 million users – that is more than double the population of the United States. But I am here to tell you why in two years, Facebook will shrink to become a shriveled remnant of its current glorious self, squashed by the inexorable rise of Google’s social network. Read on to see how the future unfolds.

Embrace & Extend

If the phrase “embrace and extend” has a familiar ring to it, that’s because it was a part of Microsoft’s notorious strategy, Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish. But Google of 2011 is a very different beast than Microsoft of the early nineties – far more sophisticated and aware of the danger of seeming monopolistic. So they’re not going to “extinguish” Facebook with proprietary extensions or anything as crass. Rather, they are simply going to integrate Google+ so tightly with all of their other services, it would seem like an inseparable part of your online existence. Which leads me to the next point:

It Feels Like A Part Of The Web

google vs facebook

Facebook has been repeatedly described as a “walled garden”, even by such heavyweights as Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Even if you’re not the dude who actually invented the World Wide Web, you can probably understand why Facebook is a walled garden; it feels closed off. You have to log in to see just about anything; you “go on Facebook”, and Facebook apps run “on” Facebook. Conversely, Google+ seems to be everywhere at once, even at this early stage. The new Google Bar Google Launches New Google Bar For All Services - Try It Before Everyone Else [News] Google Launches New Google Bar For All Services - Try It Before Everyone Else [News] Google is like a mean lean upgrading machine. A day never passes without us hearing about some kind of update from Google. This time it’s the Google bar. The Google bar is that black, think... Read More makes it seem even more so, because all of the links to Google services have been folded into the logo, making your profile image even more noticeable than before.

The fact that Google’s +1 button embedded all over the Web are interactive adds to the pervasive feel. You get to share the current site and say something about it without ever really leaving it or “going on Google+”.


The Search Advantage

google and facebook

Now, why is that +1 button getting plastered all over the Web? That’s because many webmasters feel it may help them rank better on Google searches. SEO is a huge industry, and Google is ever secretive about the myriad of factors it uses to rank websites. “Social signals” (Facebook and Twitter shares) are thought to be used, and so are Google+ shares. So naturally, every serious website trying to get somewhere in the online world will embed a Google+ button, giving Google+ amazing market penetrations (even more so than Facebook’s Like button, I believe).

Users Trust Google

google and facebook

Facebook’s disregard for the privacy of their users is notorious. So much so, that the FTC recently accused Facebook in engaging in “unfair and deceptive” practices. The FTC eventually made Facebook play nice, but it didn’t have to do the same with Google. Google has somehow managed to avoid the ire of users so far, and has not gained the notoriety Facebook has.

Selective Sharing

google and facebook

Circles are a fantastic concept; they are at the very core of Google+, and they fix a huge problem with Facebook. Why would I want my grandmother to see pictures of me partying? Facebook does have “groups” and a degree of selective sharing, but it feels bolted on. Circles feel like an intrinsic part of Google+ – something built into the system from the ground up. They make managing a wide network of contacts effortless, and more importantly, they make online content sharing feel safe.

Early Adopters Are Already There

google vs facebook

“Everybody” is on Facebook; that’s great. But I say, the really important people (at least in the tech space) are already on Google+. And if you message someone on Google+, they are more likely to notice you. The trendsetters are there, and the rest of the world will inevitably follow.

Bottom Line

I could probably think of several more reasons why Google+ is going to leave Facebook in the dust, but I think these are compelling enough. Do you already use Google+? Did I convince you to start? Or am I dead wrong, and Facebook is here to stay as reigning king of the social networking world forever more? Let me know in the comments!

Image Credits: ShutterStock, ShutterStock

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  1. thenonhacker
    February 23, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Really? We should trust Google?

    Google Sued Over Safari Privacy Snafu

    Google is getting more and more evil than ever before.

  2. Wvpspdude
    January 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Personally, I hope that Facebook stays on top or a different social network prevails.  I don't think that Google needs to compete with every company on Earth.

  3. Steph
    January 2, 2012 at 8:01 am

    The article says:"It is true that the Google of 2011 is not the charming company it was a few years ago, and that they famously dropped the “don’t be evil” motto back in 2009." Are you sure about that? The article you've linked to was an April Fool.

    I seriously dislike Facebook. It is annoying, tacky, intrusive, untrustworthy and badly designed. Even thinking about it makes me irritable. Google on the other hand rarely puts a foot wrong, providing me with all the essential tools I need, as well as inspiration, innovation and the occasional smile. So yes, I hope that Google+ overtakes Facebook.

    • Erez Zukerman
      January 2, 2012 at 9:46 am

      Woah, thanks for pointing out the April Fool -- It is true, and since it was repeated in many sources I did not realize. So good on that one. I will be asking my editor to revise the piece to remove that link. But the main point remains, as can be seen here:'t_be_evil -- basically, Google has not been following Don't be Evil very closely, and it seems to have taken a back seat in recent years.

      Also, I'm glad you agree with the post as a whole. :)

  4. Boocapes
    December 30, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Im an older user (60+) so I dont adapt to new systems as fast but if I can I will move to Google + its just hard to change.

  5. Nope
    December 28, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Google is doing everything they can to make G+ #1, but I don't think it will overtake Facebook.  Most I see using G+ still use Facebook and most I see using Facebook don't use G+.  I think loyalty to Facebook will keep many from leaving. 

  6. arpit
    December 28, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    facebook is here 2 rule ..nobody can beat it ..800 millon users and counting can't beat that even if it's google

  7. Faizan Munir Khan Rajput
    December 28, 2011 at 7:10 am

    I completely and absolutely agree with you,  the non tech savvy would never migrate to another social network just because it offers more features, the things Facebook provides are enough for them and they would only switch, if ever, if Facebook completely shuts down and terminates its service and that stands for everyone i know.

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 28, 2011 at 7:10 pm

      Wait, so do you agree or disagree? Looks like the latter.

      What I'm saying is that the creators of content, the early adopters, the people other people want to read -- these will switch to G+. And once enough of them do so, Facebook is done for.

  8. Faizan Munir Khan Rajput
    December 28, 2011 at 7:01 am

    Facebook also allows you to download all your data, and also to delete it.

  9. Faizan Munir Khan Rajput
    December 28, 2011 at 6:59 am

    I Think in my opinion, Facebook is here to stay, None of the people I know, even know of the existence of Google+, and trust me when I say, neither I or the people i know don't live under a rock or under a lake, getting them to migrate to an all new social network of which they know nothing about, and to abandon Facebook which they have used for long time, would be an impossible task.

  10. Hmirza
    December 28, 2011 at 5:27 am

    Anyone with an iota of brains would shrug this "article" (if you call it that!) off! Shameless rambling!

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 28, 2011 at 7:10 pm

      Really? :) Ping me January 2014, let's see. Remember MySpace? :)

      • Nope
        December 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm

        There is a huge world of difference between MySpace and Facebook.  It's not the same as comparing Facebook and G+.

        • Scott Morrison
          January 28, 2012 at 12:50 am

          Facebook, MySpace, Google+...they're all in the same category. And regardless of Facebook's current user base, all it takes is a better model, and they'll dwindle away.

  11. Havinfun
    December 27, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    I stopped using Facebook and probably will not use Google+ if I HAVE that choice. I don't feel the need to share every little thing in my life and I don't care about every little thing in anyone else's life. I TALK with my family and friends! I don't want my personal information anywhere out in the public. Like what I do that is MY information and I want to keep it private. In my humble opinion these social apps are all about marketing and give opportunities for unsavory people to do unpleasant and morally disreputable things.

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 28, 2011 at 7:11 pm

      Now that's something I can really agree with. Not using ANY social network at all is a viable choice IMHO.

  12. Brian Turner
    December 27, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Also consider that Google(+) also allows you to recover and delete all your data. To me that's a big point against Crackbook.

  13. Bobby Rhymer
    December 22, 2011 at 6:50 am

    As business men would say, in technology related businesses we have leaders and followers.

    We all know that technologically speaking Google is a not a leader in social networking business and still he is a follower.

    Facebook with no doubt is a leader (Technological and Business aspects).

    just like a product every technology has a life cycle and Google+ has not reached the point where FB is now. Both FB and Google+ are improving and developing their technology still as the market shows the demand for FB is way more than Google+

    However, we have not forgotten how Google started as a follower in Search industry and put Y!, MSN, Altavista, Alltheweb,... out of the market. therefore, Only time will show.

    But one fact is for sure, FB is no Y!, MSN, both FB and Google there are creative and bright people who do know the business well and also got good tech people.

    Lets wait n see.

  14. Dancingntherain
    December 19, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    haha. Everyone I know is ON Google+, and NO ONE i know uses it. interesting. 

  15. James Bruce
    December 19, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    You hit the nail on the proverbial head here Erez. Regardless of whether it is technically a better platform or not - Google is integrating it everywhere. That alone makes it the long term winner. I'm waiting for another almight Facebook f***-up when BBC news says "users might want to consider the rival Google plus network", and suddenly 50% of users leave FB. ;) It will happen. 

  16. Steve Hughes
    December 19, 2011 at 6:58 am

    You have a better chance of seeing God in 2 years...The average user (that's were the numbers are) is not moving from Facebook.  They aren't like us that try everything under the sun.  If you wanted to put up a silly prediction to get some comments, it worked. Well done. :)

    • James Bruce
      December 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm

      Good news - I'm not one of those people who tries everything. In fact, I hate web apps in general and stay the hell away from them. Google plus? Here to stay, and playing the long game. In 5 years, Facebook will be where myspace is today. 

  17. Anonymous
    December 17, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    For the ordinary users, it's all about the simple connection with friends and families. It is hard to have fun and stay in Google+ if you are alone there but your friends are still enjoying Facebook. The difficult part is to make them switch to another SNS.

  18. Mike
    December 17, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I would like to agree but I cannot. Who do you think makes up most of Facebook's user base? Non-geeks...that's who. The average person is not willing to change and switching to Google+ or even Gmail because of technological improvements is not likely. It may become a bigger hangout for geeks like us but we are the minority.

    • James Bruce
      December 19, 2011 at 4:42 pm

      Wait until google starts pushing it more. I bet you more people use the google homepage than facebook. "Hey, wanna join google plus"?

      We may be the minority, but we are the trend setters. Facebook didnt get big because the little kiddies found it. They just flocked it after we told them about it. 

    • Basheerpa1
      December 30, 2011 at 5:47 am

      The average person like me, who used to have hotmail, yahoo and gmail, is now using only gmail. Surprised?

      Backup an

  19. Peter
    December 17, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Cool story bro.

  20. Jano
    December 16, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Google has to integrate Google+ in Android like there's no tomorrow. If the first thing you see is Google+ when you activate an Android phone then I think it will catch up fast. Android is growing very very fast and Google+ has to be the main social network for THEIR OS. If Google+ is put to every Android user in their faces then we'll see Google+ grow very fast.

    • patrozoo
      December 17, 2011 at 1:49 pm

      With Ice Cream Sandwich, Google+ IS integrated in Android.

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 20, 2011 at 8:36 pm

      Like @patrozoo:disqus said, in Android 4, G+ is integrated right into the device activation workflow. Great minds thing alike? :)

  21. Alex Murphy
    December 16, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Both Facebook and Google+ will have great success in the future. While there is certainly some social overlap in the products, they are two very different networks. 

  22. Dave Parrack
    December 16, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    I can't see it happening. Unless Facebook does something really, really bad which prompts people to switch to Google+ in their droves.

    Then again I thought MySpace was unbeatable at a certain point in time...

    • Z78
      December 16, 2011 at 6:44 pm

      Chrome? Android? Same will happen here. Google+ will be too compelling for people to ignore. It will become Google's only product they will push once conglomerated the rest into it.

    • James Bruce
      December 19, 2011 at 4:43 pm

      It does something bad every week… ;)

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 20, 2011 at 8:35 pm

      It's all about the early adopters. Once a critical mass of influencers use G+, the rest will follow. 2 years is a long time in tech.

  23. Imota Dinaroid
    December 16, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    No doubt,  Facebook is dead. The facts are here:

    Microsoft ruled the internet before.  Now it's Google.
    Alta Vista  used to be dominant search engine. Now, it's Google.
    Yahoo used to be the most popular web-email. Now it's Gmail.
    Apple's iPhone  used to be the ruler in the mobile world. Now, it's Android.
    Mozilla Firefox used to be ahead of Google Chrome. No more !
    Facebook used to be ......

    Should we continue ?

    The real strength of Google is in its versatility and adaptability.
    They fallow the old saying: "Do not put all your eggs in one basket".
    Pretty soon we will have Google car (smart car - no driver needed!).
    Then, perhaps,  Google spaceship in the near future.

    However, Google's most powerful weapon, in addition to its search engine, is Google Maps. Also, let us not forget Android.

    Google Maps gives Google a chance to spread literally all over the planet: every street, every city, village, highway, airport ...anywhere and everywhere. Now, Google team is even working on mapping out the building interiors. Think about the new possibilities and money making for Google.

    Sorry Facebook, we will remember you with nostalgia.
    Google is more powerful animal.
    It's called the survival of the fittest.
    The bigger fish eats the smaller one.

    Now, let's move to the future (Google +), shall we ?

    • Z78
      December 16, 2011 at 6:46 pm

      Google+ will be its most powerful tool. Chrome and Android. 

    • James Bruce
      December 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm

      It's only dominating the mobile space by a small margin, and only then because of the profileration of cheap (and frankly crappy) devices. On the high end, apple reigns supreme. So I can see either people learning how crap android is on the low end, or apple releasing something for the low end to defeat it. Then again, it's more likely the marginal dominance will continue for many years to come yet, and thats a good thing too. 

      • Chris Chippendale
        December 27, 2011 at 5:44 pm

        I think your assessment of Android smartphones is a bit incomplete there - whilst they're not nearly as slick as Apple devices, they are far more open sourced. the majority of arguments in the Apple/Android debate comes down to whether you prefer an open or closed system.
        If you've got an iPhone, iPod, and iMac, and like the way Apple want you to sue them, then sure, there's not much competition. But if you want to go in a different direction, Android offers you much more flexibility in how to approach different tasks, and offers a more democratic version of support in the way of online forums.

        Ultimately yuo will never come up with an approach that will suit everybody. The majority of technophobic folks will prefer a friendly iPhone, whereas those big into hacking and modding their devices will prefer Android. the rest of us fall somewhere in between. but dismissing my HTC Desire as "crappy" off-hand appears somewhat closed-minded.

      • C. Michael Croston
        December 28, 2011 at 1:12 am

        You need to get out more. Talk to people with Android phones. They are a loyal bunch and are not taken in by the first pretty chip that comes along.

    • Faizan Munir Khan Rajput
      December 28, 2011 at 7:06 am

      i respectfully don't agree, the non tech savvy would never migrate to another social network just because it offers more features, the things Facebook provides are enough for them and they would only switch, if ever, if Facebook completely shuts down and terminates its service and that stands for everyone i know.

    • thenonhacker
      February 23, 2012 at 7:47 am

       I stopped reading at "Microsoft ruled the internet before."

      WTF. Do you really know what you're talking about?

  24. Scutterman
    December 16, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    I have a G+ account but don't use it. The only reason I use facebook is because I have some friends who don't use messenger, Skype, or email. If they switch to g+ then I will.

  25. master.ace
    December 16, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    a joke article... no chance for google+.. it's about the timing.. and google will always be the second best..

    • Z78
      December 16, 2011 at 6:47 pm

      Jah. So was Chrome. So was Android... Where are we now?

      • Erez Zukerman
        December 20, 2011 at 8:34 pm

        My point exactly!

    • Rupert
      January 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      You said the same thing about Myspace, didn't you?

  26. mickeyshadow
    December 16, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    I think this is an extremely 'google biased' article, completely disregarding the improvements facebook has made, whilst only touching on the brand disintegration of google. They do different things, Facebook 'does' social, and google 'does' search. If either expand beyond that then they fail. This is what gOogle are trying to do and imho that is where they will fail. But then again, the people at google are a hell of a lot cleverer thane so who knows!? ;-D

    • Z78
      December 16, 2011 at 6:48 pm

      What improvements? Timeline? Only for Facebook to data mine more? Please. Improvements are: Broadcasting hang out. Making others google products a feature to Google+ instead of stand alone services, Google+ itself makes Google Search BEYOND better. That is improvement.

      So. Facebook got a death bead ready before Google+'s fall.

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 20, 2011 at 8:33 pm

      I think it boils down to trust, really. People trust Google, and they don't trust Facebook. Google also 'does' email, for a huge number of people. 

      • Kiran Chakravarthula
        December 29, 2011 at 3:55 am

        It's, to me, surprising that people still trust Google, despite several "Uh oh, I took your data! I am sorry. I didn't mean to." incidents from Google. To mention FTC-Facebook fiasco and disregard this tells me that this article may have been built from the conclusion. There are other examples in here that feel so.

    • Chris Chippendale
      December 27, 2011 at 5:36 pm

      "They do different things, Facebook 'does' social, and google 'does' search. If either expand beyond that then they fail"

      This seems to me an argument against innovation in general. If you'd applied this to Apple in the 80's we'd have no iPhone, iPod, iTunes etc, all of which (like them or loathe them) are arguably groundbreaking achievements in the world of technology.

      And like others have said, google also "does" email, maps (I use my android for my GPS), not to mention their expansion into software and application development (Android, Google Docs and Chrome being some obvious examples).

      Basically, regardless of how incorrect your views on innovation, it's already too late to say Google just "does" search anyway.

  27. Dan Wild
    December 16, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Googles influence over SEO's and webmasters is clearly having a major impact on this movement....

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 20, 2011 at 8:32 pm

      Definitely. The SEO world is all about the "social signals" these days.

  28. Shane Sullivan
    December 16, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    I'm there but it's lonely.

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 20, 2011 at 8:32 pm

      Try following some influencers and talking to them. That's a good way to ping someone on a "free" channel.

    • C. Michael Croston
      December 28, 2011 at 1:09 am

      Pick up a couple shared circles and engage in some conversations. It's really a proactive service. 

    • Faizan Munir Khan Rajput
      December 28, 2011 at 7:02 am

      I am there too, and it's very, very lonely.

  29. Owen Lucas
    December 16, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    It might be a while coming - I'm still having trouble getting my head round what Google+ offers that Facebook doesn't.

    • Alex Murphy
      December 16, 2011 at 6:25 pm

      Higher quality conversations and content. Group video chat. Search and hashtags. The ability to easily connect with people around the world who share similar interests and passions. Integration with Gmail, Blogger, Reader, and all of Google's other products. Instant upload of photos and videos. And some other stuff.

      • James Bruce
        December 19, 2011 at 4:47 pm

        Just that huh? Pfft. 


    • Z78
      December 16, 2011 at 6:51 pm

      Google+ will be Google's only project when everything gets under that cover called Google+. That is what it will be offering beyond what Facebook.

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 20, 2011 at 8:31 pm

      The biggest thing IMHO is circles. Being able to share selectively is huge. I know you can also do it with Facebook these days, but it feels bolted on.

      • Jorge N. R. Vilhena
        December 28, 2011 at 1:51 am

        That's true, but is always possible to anyone "restricted" to know all our friends in "find people". In Google+, only friends in the circle are visible, I think.