Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Top 5: Why I like Google+ more than Facebook (part 3)


Yes, you read that right. This is my third post on why I like Google+ more than Facebook. I wrote the first two a very long time ago, in 2013 in fact. But Google+ has changed a lot since then, and there are more reasons why I still enjoy the social network very much. Definitely a lot more than Facebook. You can read up on part one and part two if you like. If not, here's a quick recap of what I wrote about in the first two posts. Part one was about the concept of Google+ circles, GIF support, text formatting, the mobile app, and the notification system. Part two was about the new posts label, the ability to easily reply to comments, the built-in photo editor, automatic hashtags, and the dynamic card layout. Despite what some sites will have you believe, Google+ is not dead, nor is it dying. In fact, Google recently bought Odysee, an online photo backup and sharing app, and the team was immediately merged into the Google+ team. So if anything, Google+ is alive and kicking, and here are five more reasons why I like it more than Facebook.

5. Polls
Polls aren't something unique to Google+. Facebook has polls as well. But they look so much better on Google+ than on Facebook, thanks largely to the ability to add images to your polls. After Google acquired Polar, it was only a matter of time before the feature would be added to Google+ and it has been well received by many users. I see polls on Google+ everyday now, and I imagine people won't get bored of them any time soon.


These make the polls look really good.


4. GIF support
I already mentioned this in my original post, but that was just me saying that Google+ supports GIFs while Facebook doesn't. This time I want to emphasise on why GIF support is such a big deal. In addition to the funny GIFs that we all laugh at, GIFs are actually very good for non-comedic purposes as well. GIFs are now being used in many articles, and act as the lead image when it is shared to Google+. GIFs are also used to animate magazine and comic book covers, and my personal favourite, sports highlights. Google+ is just much more lively with GIF support, as opposed to Facebook which just has static images. 



3. Each post is a unique page on the internet
The cool thing about posting to Google+ in comparison to Facebook, is that each Google+ post is a page on the internet with its own URL. Since each post has its own URL, you can easily share posts with each other via e-mail, instant messaging, on blogs, on other social networks, or on Google+ itself by sharing the URL to the post. And because Google+ posts have the potential to spread to many places and reach many people, Google+ users have a lot more control over their own posts than Facebook users do. This degree of control is what makes posting to Google+ better than posting to Facebook.
Google+ offers a lot more control over your posts than Facebook does.
2. 100% social content
When a company offers its services for free, it has to generate income somehow. For most, this means providing advertising space on its service. This is what you see with Facebook. Ads are frequently placed in your stream, and permanently in your sidebar (on the web). Because Google has many other services where it can place ads (like Search and YouTube), Google+ is free of any commercial advertising, and consists of nothing but posts from its users. No ads. No sponsored posts. And no games. Add that to the dynamic nature of Google+ where posts fill up the screen no matter how big it is, compared to Facebook's static single-column view, and it's clear which social network is better in terms of displaying content from users.



1. Integration with other Google services
One of the biggest misconceptions about Google+ is that it's just another social network looking to compete with Facebook. While that may appear to be all there is to it, there's actually another important aspect of Google+ that people who don't use the service don't see. Your Google+ profile is basically your identity throughout Google's services. Most of what you do on Google services/products can be linked back to Google+. If someone respects your app ratings on the Play Store, they can go to your profile and see what other apps you use and have rated. Your Play Store profile will of course link to your Google+ profile. Enjoy leaving comments on YouTube videos? They also appear on your Google+ profile (which doubles as you sharing the video to your profile). Want to contact someone through Gmail but don't have their e-mail address? You can if you're connected on Google+. Want to use Hangouts for a video conference? You can do that too with your Google+ connections (not a requirement, but it's there). Google+ isn't just a social network. It's a platform for users to create and maintain their online identity
My Play Store activity, which is linked to my Google+ profile
Google+ will probably never be popular among your friends and family. That's what Facebook is for. Google+ is not a place you go to meet friends. It's where you go to make new friends. Friends who share similar interests. When you go on Facebook, you see what your friends are doing, pictures of what they're eating, and read their thoughts on whatever they find interesting, which might not interest you. But when you go on Google+, the connections you make are to people who share similar interests as you. On Facebook, you can only search for people and pages. On Google+, you can actually search for topics, so you can see who is posting about topics that interest you. +Mike Elgan said it best when he said that Google+ is the place for passions. It's not for keeping up to date with what your friends are doing, it's for having intellectual discussions with other people from around the world who like what you like. So if you're bored of the selfies, the drama, and the spam of Facebook, give Google+ a try. You won't find your friends there, but you will find millions of posts about stuff you like, from people who could potentially be better "social media" friends than your Facebook friends.