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Google+ is Awesome. Facebook Maimed, Twitter Mortally Wounded? (singularityhub.com)
218 points by kkleiner on July 6, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 138 comments

The Google+ circles concept is powerful and easy to use. It represents the defining, foundational difference between Google´s and Facebook´s vision for social networking. If this new model takes off with users, then Facebook will find itself in the uncomfortable position of having to replicate these features within its own platform. Unfortunately for Facebook, moving to this new paradigm will not be possible overnight. We are talking about a major architectural overhaul. In the meantime, Google will have a chance to attract significant numbers of users and influence.

There's a massive assumption here that G+ is blindsiding Facebook. Obviously there is no limit to human stupidity, however I'd personally be surprised if adding a circles-like feature to Facebook is an architectural nightmare, or that they haven't thought about it.

The idea that there are meetings at FB where people are saying "F___, we're screwed" is implausible. This has been discussed for years, and I'd bet actual money that FB engineers and/or product managers periodically propose adding this feature and FB decides that the time is not yet ripe. If and when G+ demonstrates that people really, really want this functionality, I expect Facebook will roll it out smoothly.

In fact, Facebook lists already do everything he praises Circles for in this article. They might even do a little more (e.g. share with List A, excluding anyone in List B).

As he correctly notes later in the article, the lists feature is not prominent on Facebook, and therefore few use it (or maybe few people actually want it?). But it definitely will not require a major architectural overhaul by Facebook.

> In fact, Facebook lists already do everything he praises Circles for in this article.

Having used both Google+'s Circles and Facebook's lists, a lot of people are missing the point. Sure, Facebook's lists may be capable of some or even all of the functionality of Google+'s Circles, but that's not addressing the important difference in functionality between the two.

Google+ has clearly been designed with Circles in mind. It's easy to tell just from using Google+ that the Circles idea is a core architectural component and not just something that was tacked on. Facebook's lists pale in comparison. They're clearly an afterthought and not many people use them.

I extensively used one of Facebook's private groups to mimic the new functionality in Google's Circles with a group of my close friends for about three - four months and, while it was adequate, it's nowhere near as polished or fluid as my experience with Circles. It's really no contest.

> But it definitely will not require a major architectural overhaul by Facebook.

To those who are saying that it would be trivial to implement Circles functionality on top of Facebook, I sincerely doubt it. It'd be like saying that it wouldn't take much to for Blackberry to adopt the same UI polish of iOS. It's comparing a system that has clearly evolved (BlackBerry, Facebook) to one that has been designed (iOS, Google+).

I think us nerds to be careful about just comparing Google+ and Facebook on what features they have, lest we need to be reminded of: "Less space than a Nomad. Lame."

Facebook Friend Lists are far more powerful than Google Circles and Facebook Groups are an entirely different beast. At an architectural level Facebook Lists are a core feature. They even had them front and center for a few years as they asked you to populate them by "how do you know this person?" when you added them as a friend. The problem is that no one wanted to use them so they were gradually phased out of the UI.

Almost reminds me of how Microsoft promoted .NET as being a runtime capable of running code generated from multiple languages. The JVM had always had this feature but it was underutilized and somewhat obscure. After the .NET launch, it took a while of explaining that the JVM could run other languages besides Java before it became widely known in the programming community.

I think it had to do with the fact that the CLR actually had multiple language support early on and it took Java some time to get there (with Scala and Clojure).

"The problem is that no one wanted to use them so they were gradually phased out of the UI."

That basically says to me that not enough emphasis was placed on designing the site around the feature. I think that's what Google's done right in their case, circles are front-and-center and not just another feature in an already feature-cluttered UI.

A prime example of a fundamental feature of facebook is the concept of a single wall that all of my friends can post to. Even if I could figure out how to prevent my work/church/family friends and my college/bar-hopping/trouble-making friends from seeing each others posts to my wall, I'm still faced with an uncomfortable UI that displays posts from both groups at once. That aspect of the UI alone doesn't help me feel secure about privacy on FB.

Same thing happens in your stream on Google+.

This may be a stupid question: How do you use lists?

I made some lists with circlehack.com. But on Facebook I don't see a way to share something with a list. I am puzzled...?

You need to have lists populated. I add people to lists as I friend them so my lists are all set. From the homepage, click "friends" in the left column, then "manage friends" button in the centre. Hover over a friend and you can "Edit lists" to add or remove them from lists (at http://www.facebook.com/friends/edit/).

Once you have friends in lists then you use lists like you would an email list. From the homepage click to write a status and you'll see next to the "share" button an icon (which for me is a padlock) that allows access to the functions to limit sharing. My default is "friends of friends". Choose to "customise" your shared status and you can enter either a friends name or a list name, start typing and it auto fills.

There are other situations when you can use friend lists too around the site, I think pretty much everywhere you can enter a friends name. For example if you do @listname in one of your statuses then everyone in the list will get that status in their news feed. You can activate online chat for only members of a list for example.


More than targeted sharing, what I like about Google Circles is that I can filter my news feed/stream by a circle.

Is there similar functionality for facebook lists? I can't find how to do so...


Click Recent News, select a Friend List from the drop down.

You press the Lock button under your post then select who you want to share with even who you don't want to share with. Customize gives you access to the all the features.

With G+, I make a conscious decision about privacy every time I post something. Every post I decide where it goes. G+ keeps it front and center. Facebook has it 4 clicks hidden away and then doesn't make it obvious you can include lists when it says "These People: Specific People".

I have never used lists on Facebook when posting (I have used them for messaging though... which I found annoying due to the limit to the number of people in a list).

Circles, on the other had, I use with every post I make.

I'1l just believe in Circles when I find a non nerd user who has subdirectories in their My Documents folder.

Yes, it would because Google+ following system is asynchronous, kind of like Twitter (though not quit). Facebook doesn't work like that, and it would be a MAJOR change if they implemented it. I think a lot of users that are used to how Facebook currently works would be very upset about it.

Bingo. Thus the people wondering if Google isn't a bigger threat to Twitter than Facebook.

The real issue for Facebook is that, if Google+ is successful (my feel is that it's a strategic fire-break to stop Facebook's possible domination of social search), it limits the ways Facebook can additionally monetize their social network.

Google+ doesn't need to fail for Facebook to survive, but it does hem in their possible revenue growth.

Now twitter...

asynchronous --> asymmetric


duh! fixed.

My problem with lists is it acts as a separate group rather than a filter. I want to see everyone's posts who is in a list. Instead I only see posts that have been specifically shared with a list.

With circles, it automatically filters my stream without anyone having to post to my list or group. They just share it with me.

This is a subtle but important difference for me.

People don't post to a list on Facebook. Your friends don't even know they're in a list, like Circles. You can filter your stream by lists, but it's not exposed on the UI and you have to do some URL mingling.

Recent News -> Select Friend List from drop down.

At least at some point you could view the news feed of people in a given friend list in Facebook too.

Recent News -> Select friend list.

Lists are not available on the Android app (not sure about iOS).

I think the reason it isn't prominent is because it's not the direction the company wants to go. Every since Twitter became popular Facebook moved to become more like Twitter; more public and less private. They stuck the list feature in to placate those complaining about the removal of privacy but they never really wanted people to use it. Now with Google+ taking over the area of private social networking it would be interesting to see if Facebook does an about face and goes back in this direction.

it's not the direction the company wants to go

Nor has it ever been. While lists might appear to work now, I would not at all be surprised if lists are a leaky abstraction with all sorts of holes that would require the codebase rearchitecting that the original story believes.

When you have such a fundamental design decision baked into everything you've ever done, it can't change overnight. Perhaps they've been working on it for months or years, but certainly its only in the last year that anyone has been talking about this problem earnestly.

And therein lies one of the biggest issues with Facebook. They offer a lot of features that are hidden away, deliberately released without much fanfare, and are difficult to find.

exactly. i think more people would use the lists if it were a more prominent feature. with G+, they are center stage, so people can easily interface with them.

They used to be more prominent. They were "hidden" only after it turned out that people didn't like classifying their friends. Either they just did it wrong, or Google will discover the same thing with Circles.

(I already find myself pretty much just putting everyone in one of two circles now.)

interesting, I don't remember them ever being very prominent. maybe that's just me not paying attention to the software I use :)

I'm not sure if Google will experience the same thing with Circles. I think what will happen (enter speculative mode) is there will be a large group that LOVES classifying their friends like this, and they will stick with G+. Another large group will HATE it, find it extremely annoying/pointless (possibly because of only using one or two circles, like you mentioned), and maybe stick with FB. Either way, people will most likely end up with an account on both, using one actively and one passively.

Facebook has "circles" but they are called "groups."

I have sources that say, unofficially that:

1) They were not blindsided at all. They worked hard to compete on major features before g+ ever came out.

2) "Groups" has more or less similar functionality, and the feature is known to have a poor UI right now. The point though is that FB thought about this and even though they aren't up to the same polish with that feature, the feature exists, no architectural changes necessary. Just UI polish.

"Just UI polish" is a hilarious way of stating this. It's not just the UI that needs to change, more importantly it's the UX. It's disappointing if they are willing to ignore the importance of something like this. It's not just a "lick of paint" that's needed. They need to rework the whole concept and this is time-consuming and difficult to do right.

The super embarrassing thing for Facebook is that Google already told them what they were going to do. Take a look at this slideshow by Google's UX team a whole year ago [1]. That's right it's Circles!

Google has really done their homework on what makes a social network work and Facebook has no excuse for executing their own version of Circles so poorly with Groups and Lists. They've wasted valuable time pandering to advertisers when it was blatantly obvious what was coming. Google's vision wasn't secret.

[1] http://www.slideshare.net/padday/the-real-life-social-networ...

Even more ironic, the guy who did that study was later hired by Facebook.

I honestly think Zuck either figured that a) Google was incompetent/unwilling to challenge them or b) Google be damned, Facebook will make much more money with the public-by-default, privacy-optional approach to sharing.

Perhaps the blindsiding was the promotion of Page to CEO and subsequent mobilization of Google's developer army?

Zuckerberg is also a kid, he's like a rookie who hit a home run on his first at-bat. It would not be surprising to me if he was blindsided out of a combination of youthful arrogance and inexperience.

Because there's only Mr Zuckerberg running the whole company?

He's been at it a while. If he gets beaten I don't think it will be to do with youth and inexperience. Remember Google failed with their first offering in this space (Wave), was it youth and inexperience then?

Wave wasn't really designed to be a social experience. During the keynote, they talked about what Email would be like if it were designed using today's technology, rather than evolving from snail mail. What they came up with was a lot of very impressive technology. They gave this technology to the developers in beta to see what they could do with it. While Wave was scrapped, bits and pieces of it live on everywhere from Docs and Calendar to Google +.

Despite my dislike for Zuckerberg, that's a bit disingenuous.

I honestly think that Google+ is a direct result of Page's ascendancy, and this was unexpected to outsiders.

Except that Page has been CEO for what, a few months now? I recall reading that Google has been working on Plus for a year.

Wow. Thanks. I've certainly learn a lot from the linked presentation. For me It really illustrated the fundamental flaws with Facebook.

"Just UI polish."

If Apple's success has taught us anything, it's that "UI polish" trumps pretty much everything else when it comes to making money from software, and it is hard to get right (or else everyone's UIs would be just as polished as Apple's).

So if Facebook is behind Google in "Just UI polish" they may have very much to fear, indeed.

It's not just UI polish that make Apple products what they are though - it's the design that goes into a product even before an engineer writes a single line of code, or before a prototype is even built.

Apple isn't afraid to have a bad idea and then toss it out because, after all, ideas are cheap. If you build a turd and you polish it, are you still going to release that polished turd? The Apple way is to design it the right way from the start, THEN you polish it.

Agreed. People spend a lot of time on Facebook, and most I know complain about its frustrating UX and ugly design. People aren't using Facebook's groups feature, so it's immaterial. Having a feature isn't good enough, it has to be broadly usable and ultimately, it has to be used.

It is true that Facebook may just copy the best innovations of Google+, but that puts them in a defensive position and obviously isn't what they want. We've seen what happens to giants who bank on leveraging their entrenchment in the current market.

I think that Facebook killed MySpace for one simple reason - tricking people into using their real name made it easy to find real life friends (and classmates, etc). IMO, this is what put it head and shoulders above all the other social networks. Nobody could copy it, because their existing users (the early adopters) had silly names like "wisty".

Existing users already have old habits, and existing data that they don't want to retype. Users aren't code - you can't just refactor them into something new, clean, and shiny.

Google+ users will build their networks afresh, focusing on privacy and groups. They will just maintain two accounts, and use Google+ when they want some level of privacy, and Facebook when they need to announce their wedding to the late adopters.

But they will only add their photos to one, and that one will ultimately pull ahead.

I don't think photos are the main attraction anymore. I know lots of people that only add a couple of photos a year to Facebook but still visit the site every day.

And that is exactly why, at least on Android phones, the out of box Plus configuration is to automatically upload all pictures that are taken on a phone.

You've got to have misstated that. That would be a complete and total disaster of enough scale to completely kill Plus.


They're uploaded as 'private' by default, and it's a configurable option, so you can turn the auto-upload feature off altogether. Actually, maybe I did, because I think it asked me the first time whether or not I want auto-upload on or off by default; but even with it on, I don't feel even remotely unsafe -- the photos are automatically backed up to 'the cloud' and aren't shared unless I go in and explicitly share them.

Wow. That's deadly for Google.

No matter what you personally may feel about it, I can guarantee we'll be seeing blog posts and news stories about "Google put my private pictures I took for my boyfriend on the internet."


I don't disagree, necessarily, but it would be a pretty baseless claim made by someone who doesn't understand how the internet (or the app) works.

Admittedly, that's quite probably most people, but, as I said, it does ask you by default, and it does upload those pictures as private until you explicitly go and share them otherwise.

And new photos will go where your boss can't see them.

Is it really just UI polish? Google+ makes you choose who you're posting to on every post. Does Facebook? Isn't that a pretty big difference; on Facebook it is an optional entity that you must seek out and on Google+ it is a feature built into the posting architecture. You cannot post to Google+ without choosing a circle (even Public is presented as being a circle, reiterating the importance of the concept).

Facebook has "circles" but they are called "groups."

I think Friend Lists is what you may be referring to.

They need to make the feature easier to use/find, and they need to make the News Feed more sensitive to these.

Yeah, they have been pushing Groups (like including it in the sidebar) but it's not very useful for privacy filtering since it tells the group members they are in the groups.

Given that, Friends Lists aren't especially hidden either. Account > Edit Friends > Add a list. But using them for privacy is hard: you need to select custom privacy, then say show to specific people, then type in the friend list name in a box that looks like it only expects a person's name. Kludgy. (The iPhone app is actually much better here: it just includes the friends lists in the privacy dropdown.)

Wouldn't Facebook massively improve usability by just including the Lists in the drop down list in the web interface also? It is actually not too hard if they approach this incrementally.

One could argue that it's a chicken-and-egg problem, but a year ago friend lists were easier to find, allowed filtered per-list access to your News Feed and ...

"Tonight at a Facebook Developer’s Garage meeting at Facebook’s headquarters in Palo Alto, Zuckerberg fielded a question about the service’s privacy controls. He said that the ideal solution for sharing different things with different people is to make a friend list. “But guess what? Nobody wants to make lists,” Zuckerberg admitted."


That's because Facebook's lists, as implemented are A. cumbersome and B. sometimes just decide not to work anyway.

I absolutely love Circles, and it's more or less what I always wanted Facebook lists to be.

That users of HN can't properly comment about Groups or Lists without confusion is telling.

The groups are still a bit different when it comes to how they're actually used in the site. First of all they still require a mutual friendship and they're also separate from the main sharing area of the site. Google+ has the idea more integrated into the site's actual foundation. Whether or not that is something that the casual user will want still remains to be determined.

Is it Groups or Lists?

I don't think the issue is as much technical as it is about the nature of the community. digg, reddit, hacker news, etc. all have similar features, but quite different communities. these communities are generally molded by where they exist in the mind of the user, which can be influenced by the UI. HN only allows up-arrows to create a positive slant, reddit has a functional looking UI for a technical slant, and digg aims for a mainstream look. This is why facebook, twitter, and google+ aren't necessarily direct competitors, because they are all designed to scratch a slightly different itch.

I was under the impression that HN does have down arrows, but only for higher karma users?

  > The idea that there are meetings at FB where people
  > are saying "F___, we're screwed" is implausible.
Even if Facebook was screwed, there still might not be any such meetings depending on the corporate culture.

Having followed facebook's platform and interface changes, there were a ton of do-overs, removing features than adding them back then removing again. It's more of a "move fast, break things, then fix it again" trial-and-error attitude. The friends list thing was an afterthought and always remained as such. Plus it is difficult to enforce them now, as people have adapted to having a single friend list, while G+ enforces it from the start.

I find google circles a very engaging idea, as your friends list will never get stale. Total sharing may be less, but you are no longer afraid to share (e.g.) technical stuff with your colleagues. The problem is how they're going to figure out re-sharing right.

This headline is sensationalistic beyond the pale of respectable journalism, and certainly beyond that of HN. The article does nothing to justify the title. Speculating ways in which Twitter might eventually lose to a new competitor does not license you say they've already been "mortally wounded".

To the extent that anyone reading this has the authority to change headlines (I only know for sure that pg does), could you please modify it to something reasonable? Thanks.

For others, please note that improving headlines is not only permitted, but very much precedented and generally encouraged. Bad headlines let shitty articles get upvoted, and degrade the overall quality of HN. (With some sources, namely Popular Science, I'd even humbly suggest changing the headlines be mandatory.)

The headline's awful, and the tone of the article sensationalistic, but I thought it made some good points.

If the description of Google+ is accurate (don't have an invite, haven't really tried to get one), Google may have found a solution for Facebook spam. I tried to use my Facebook account for awhile, but it quickly became a wall of Farmville updates. I know there are settings I could use to get rid of those, but investigating it seemed too much work to bother.

So it seems that Google is attacking Facebook at their weakest point, and that's pretty interesting and worthy of discussion, and I'm glad it got up voted enough that I saw it, in spite of the bad title.

>I know there are settings I could use to get rid of those, but investigating it seemed too much work to bother.

Too much work to bother? I don't think you'll make it anywhere then. All you had to do was mouse over one of the updates and click the X. It would then ask you what you were killing, Farmville or the person who sent it. You say Farmville. Finished. No more Farmville updates ever again.

A while back (6 months? more?) Facebook tweaked things so that only game players see game updates in their feed.

Overall the article dramatically undersells the work that Facebook has done to improve the feed, mainly building off of signals you give it via engagement - I don't see updates from friends that I don't care about, and fairly rarely miss important updates from those that I do care about.

I could see how someone who only uses Facebook rarely wouldn't get that impression of improvement, as they will have given the algorithm very few inputs to work with.

The problem with the filtering is that it isn't transparent. Updates from people I'm actually interested in don't show because Facebook's feed algorithm thinks we don't interact on the site enough, and there's no mechanism to correct it or even let me know I've missed something.

Perhaps it's been fixed more recently, but I found that incredibly annoying.

I am blocking all apps and even some of my acquaintances that have nothing to do but send app invites.

However, it's a continual struggle and I couldn't find an option to block all app invites. And I also don't want to block all apps, just invites, which makes this a delicate issue.

What's Facebook spam? I haven't seen a Farmville update in something like a year.

I think you're confusing news and reviews. "G+ is awesome" is clearly indicative of an opinion, and in that sense the headline is actually quite descriptive of the content of the article, unlike sensationalistic headlines.

"Each of us on average has hundreds of friends on Facebook. When you share things on Facebook, you have to share it with all of them! How stupid is that?"

It would be stupid ... if it were actually true. Facebook's privacy controls are actually pretty sophisticated now: by default I have anything I post shown to friends of friends, but excluding certain people. For potentially controversial status updates I restrict visibility to a couple of lists. If I wanted I could target a photo or status to an individual person.

So, Facebook already has all of this control baked into its architecture. In theory, all it needs to do is make it more easily discoverable and easily used. Of course this is easier said than done, but it's certainly not a 'major architectural overhaul'.

I do wish that, when people slate a platform for not having certain features, they would actually do a little research instead of assuming.

"I do wish that, when people slate a platform for not having certain features, they would actually do a little research instead of assuming."

I agree with the sentiment and the subtley here that I've come to appreciate over the years which is this; A feature which is hard to discover or understand is the same as 'not existing' for a large portion of the customers.

There is also the "Facebook's privacy controls are actually pretty sophisticated now ..." which dismisses the painful walk it took to get there. That pain doesn't go away quickly or easily.

Having used G+ for a while I tend to agree with the article that FB will have to step up their game here. The beast is awake and its opening move was much more credible than previous attempts. What is more I think it has moved the expectation of what your social network should do for you forward.

I'm sure FB will respond, and there are a lot of smart folks who will no doubt have their own killer ideas. If nothing else, having a credible competitor will make social networking better for everyone.

I actually like Facebook's privacy better. Except for chat's online/offline status, it seems to follow a 'most restrictive permission applies" policy, which is nice.

Using Google's example: If I have a biking group and a work group, there's probably someone in the intersection of those two groups. I might want to share something with my biking group but not share it with my work group. There's not a mechanism to do that, that I can find, in Google+.

On the other hand, in Facebook, if I post something but restrict it from my work group, people that are in my work group won't see the post even if they're also in another group that does have permission.

This is a vastly superior approach, it seems to me.

There may not be in G+ yet. I know you can share with just 1 person if you want. What they need to do is implement the reverse of +Name, so if I add a group I could then do -Name and it would be the whole group minus that person. Or even +CircleA -CircleB would only get me those in A not in B.

Bringing set logic to the masses! :)

I don't get it, if they are in your biking group, why would you want to not share something with them just because they happen to be in the work group too?

How about "I'm considering taking a new job on the other side of the city. Anybody have experience on the best cycling route to ...?"

Maybe the bike circle as a whole exists as a place to ask questions ("My chainset is hosed! Anyone have recommendations for a new one?") but he only actually goes out biking with people he doesn't work with. More to the point, why does it matter why he doesn't want to share something with them in this particular example when it's really easy to construct good examples?

There's even a simpler scenario then that.

I have a set of close friends that I share just about everything with. It's a somewhat large size. Some of them I am in fantasy sports leagues with, some of them are techie types, some of them are fans of the same sports teams I am. I don't necessarily want to flood the stream of people that I know aren't interested.

There's many cases where individual circles of friends have a intersections or just don't fully mesh. It'll be interesting to see how this proceeds. UI/UX is going to dictate how successful circles are.

> I do wish that, when people slate a platform for not having certain features, they would actually do a little research instead of assuming.

I do agree with this, obviously, whole-heartedly. But, at the same time, I feel like the lack of research in this case is kind of making a point of its own. The circles feature has garnered a lot of praise from people while it seems that very few people even know about Facebook lists and even fewer even use them (if the articles and discussion on HN are any indication). A feature nobody knows about is as good as missing and I'm sure their designers are going to have some fun if FB decides they need to emphasise their lists more.

4 clicks vs 1 click. That's the difference between sharing with a list and sharing with a circle. You know what takes less clicks? Changing my monitor's resolution. Assigning my iMac a static IP instead of using DHCP. Changing my sound output to go over HDMI instead of using local speakers. Those are semi complicated things that your average user doesn't do. It shouldn't be that hard.

What really baffles me in Facebook is that you can't change the privacy on existing entries. Delete and recreate is the only option.

I find it ironic that the article claiming that "Facebook is maimed" and "Twitter mortally wounded" is on a site that has "Like" and "Tweet" buttons, but no Google+ interaction at all.

He talked about features not the situation NOW.

In that case, shouldn't the author put his money where his mouth is and put the article on a site that has a +1 button?

Why? How does that affect the author's arguments? Tu quoque is a fallacy, you know.

Yes it can do what Twitter does plus all the other stuff but most Twitter users don't want that other stuff, they actively dislike it. They like Twitter because it's simple, that's one of it's killer features.

Google+ is Twitter on steriods isn't a sales pitch for people who value simplicity.

The article mentions this but then goes on to completely ignore it in it's analysis but for me it's critical to understanding why people like Twitter in the first place.

I just realized I can use G+ as a blog and just post those entries publicly... It would be even better if they'd implement tagging.

It seems they took a swipe at a lot of services. probably not intentionally, but by rolling up a lot of functionality that has been proven by others into one app.

This article takes an engineer's point of view, and is relevant to maybe 5% of the population.

Facebook is about reinventing the web for dummies: micro-blogging, RSS-like stream aggregation, photo/video/text publishing, web application publishing... FB is pretty much the sum of dumbed-down versions of these. By targeting a very wide unsophisticated audience, they reached a critical mass.

Sure G+ is better, nicer, more powerful etc. Will it appeal to unsophisticated masses, though? It might, but I'm not so sure. Maybe it will partially succeed, and become a secondary social network catering for more savvy users. But when it comes to herding Average Joes, Facebook has a strong track record, Google hasn't. FB's going to give its very best at delighting your average Farmville player, and G+ will do the same to your average EFF member. Guess who matters to advertisers?

Signing up for anything google feels more like a commitment compared to creating a twitter account. Google wants to integrate more and more of your data into their system, linking it with your other google accounts whether you like it or not. G+ seems, like FB, more like an experience than a simple service. Not that it cant provide the same function as twitter, but providing only that function is still valuable, I think.

Why is Twitter wounded? Twitter is essentially friction free in use, and has a lot of momentum as a single-purpose destination.

On the other hand, Facebook has felt increasingly intrusive, facial recognition etc., and I already gave up on it, even before I knew G+ was coming out.

Twitter was a great way to create/mine public content. The problem is that most of us prefer to express ourselves in more than 140 characte

Guaranteed that it'll be easier for Facebook to mimic the successful features of Google+ than it will be fore Google+ to acquire the relationships that are already captured in Facebook.

I've been keeping my Facebook account only to avoid losing out event invitations that some publish only via that channel. I've not really logged in for any purpose in a long while.

Facebook has lost a lot of user trust with their arguably shady practices. I think there are many of us who want to be in on the whole social networking thing, but don't want it on Facebook.

Then there's Google's almost monopolistic leverage using Google's services to give Google+ its much-needed bootstrapping boost.

Whether all of this is enough, or is more or less than the actual relationships already captured in Facebook -- I don't trust anyone to really know.

The question is: nobody likes doing lists on Facebook because they don't like to categorize their relationships or because the UX of the lists on Facebook is terrible?

I tried to use the Facebook lists feature many times but its a freaking pain. I almost dont share on Facebook anymore exactly because I dont want everyone to read it. Now I am using the G+ circles and having a lot of fun with it.

I have to agree with you on a lot of your points (even though I haven't had the chance to use G+). I am actually happy that G+ is missing advertising, corporate pages, and widgets. These things are "social", but I truly believe a social network should be about people and not games and corporations.

However, put with words with friends on there, and I'll be happy!

You can't really believe that Google isn't going to throw in ads once it opens up wide?

Yeah, I'm sure the ads will be similar to Facebooks soon. But possibly less annoying/more personalized.

I think this is the real concern for Twitter. G+ can kind of do what Twitter does, and G+ is much easier to monetize.

Facebook's ads aren't personalized enough?! I post that a had a good BM this morning and there's an ad for Charmin and Welch's prune juice on the thread! How much more personalized do you want?

Am I the only one that really hates this stuff? I have a Facebook account because I have to have one in order to be a socially functional 20-something, but I don't actually like or want it. Please "social media douchebags", just stop.

The problem is that you cannot categorize the thousands of friends on any social network. No one should or would curate that many connections.

As cool as the lists/ circle are, they will be kinda pointless if users are overwhelmed by the monumental task of curating everyone.

Leaving the emotion of Google+ being awesome out - what is preventing facebook from copying this? They have a huge number of users who are not going to leave overnight. Facebook we all know can turn on a dime to get products/features out. If these features are really that sought after and good they could just implement them and give it to their users. Why won't that work?

Also facebook is a platform as much as a social network. People play games on there probably more than post pictures or tag their friends. That is what sustained facebook and made them utterly dominant. That is not going to change with G+.

I agree G+ is a good service but why is everyone making the grave ready for facebook?

The biggest problem is that Facebook is already a known quantity. As mentioned elsewhere, Lists and Groups can replicate most of the Circled functionality---but nobody uses them. They're not well-known, and users aren't about to start using them, even if Facebook reworks themselves: people are accustomed to sharing with everyone on Facebook.

Google+ has positioned and designed itself for Circles, and has firmly shoved Circles into everyone's skull. I think it's more of a branding thing than a technical difficulty thing at this point.

Asynchronous or one-way sharing is fundamentally incompatible with the current Facebook friends model. They'd have to rework a lot of the privacy code. Probably all of it, actually.

It would also be a major UX shift to bring Lists back to the foreground and make it a part of every interaction a la circles. And if they did, it would be hard to do it without offending existing users.

Facebook also may have big datacenters but perhaps not currently architected to handle videochatting at the volume that Hangouts require. Google has a one-up on them there since they've offered free video chatting for years, and they also have gotten many people to already install the Voice and Video plugin by offering free phone calls in GMail for the past two years. That plugin is key to a good videochatting UX in a browser (Flash by itself has some technical and UX problems with webcam access).

Facebook has a recent history of bad products. Their last hit was the Like button and how long ago was that now?

Not to get into an argument but when was the last time Google had a hit? All I am saying is the tech crowd is probably reacting to this more based on their dislike of facebook and love for google and not taking an objective/business view of things.

Probably Google Instant, less than a year ago.


May 2010?

and as for your reply downthread about Google Instant being a hit, how much of Google Instant being a hit is due to it being the default behavior of Google now, and would anyone actually miss it if it were gone?

The share target in G+ leaves me wanting for a "not" operator - i.e. share with "A and B but not C". I really wish they give a special "advanced" geek interface for this - full set operator support. I tend to think "A+B-C" and every time I've got to warp my head to the way G+ or FB thinks.

If Google+ can manage the same speed as Chrome, the future seems as bright for Facebook as it does for IE.

I disagree with this portion of the article:

You have hundreds of friends, but your news feed is always filled up with nonsense from the same 5 friends that seem to send an update every other minute.

I believe Facebook has an algorithm that only displays status updates from the people I interact with most on the service. For example, using Seesmic or Flipboard shows each status update, as opposed to Facebook on the web I seem to see only a small number of updates and I have noticed they tend to be from the profiles I visit the most. I am actually not bothered by my Facebook feed, although I do love the notion of circles. My Mom got a circle all to herself.

The one problem I have with G+ is that sometimes there is gold in the junkstream. Sometimes someone does post something interesting and they would not normally share it with me.

How can we balance over-granulated sharing with under-granulated sharing?

How is this different than anywhere else, including Facebook and twitter? It's a perennial problem.

Those two solve it by encouraging everyone to contribute to the public stream increasing the chance that you will find your gold by looking in the stream. G+ does exactly the opposite and encourages you to not contribute to the public stream.

This whole discussion thread makes me think that Facebook/Google+ will be a new PC/Mac discussion with people taking opposite stances and debating ad nauseam. Is that really worthwhile?

No matter how many users twitter has, I have found myself struggling to [use it] find a twitter client that works on all my devices. I have to install/configure multiple clients, log in just for twitter functionality, and I have to train myself. I am sure there are millions of people in the same position. If it is integrated with G+ though, you get it for granted once you log in along with many other features.

Facebook lists seem to be equivalent of Circles. Why should I be using Google+ except that it is from Google ?

it's not that you "should" use one over the other, but evaluate both to see which works better for you. people are excited about G+ because it's new, it's different (yes, lists and circles are basically the same, but their importance to the platform is different), and it's got google behind it, which seems to make everyone get excited.

i personally like it, and enjoy the list/circle-centric nature of it, but if none of my friends are active on it, there's no reason why I "should" use it over FB.

Someone oughta show this to Calacanis as an example of how to write a honeymoon fanboy article.

Q. what would a social network look like if you designed it primarily for business use and personal/social use was a subset? I think G+ could dominate the corporate collaboration scene in a way that Facebook can't. Seriously, FB is banned in lots of corporates but banning Google? Seriously, I literally can't function without search. I guess you could say 'corporate Z only uses Bing' and yeah you're right but seriously, Google is an extension of my own personal productivity - and that's how i put food on the table. Now imagine Huddle, Circles, blog/tweet, docs etc - work flow project management out of the box. and, oh yeah, you can organise this weeks BBQ with your buddies without it being a hassle... i don't know squat but if you wanted to own a seperate space to the FB lolcat picture brigade - target the grown-ups...

A Google+ extension that tags users mentioned on every page you visit.


I do not see a wave of Facebook users moving to G+. It just isn't gonna happen.

> I do not see a wave of Facebook users moving to G+. It just isn't gonna happen.

“We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone,” he said. “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.” [1] - Palm CEO Ed Colligan, 2006

[1] http://daringfireball.net/2006/11/colligan_head_stuck

I don't have a G+ account, so forgive me the question: since everything seems to be cataloged based on circles where you put people, how does it work for unapproved followers? Is there an 'empty' circle for them?

You can share with them by making your post "Public". Conversely, there's a wild-west "Incoming" section you can browse which contains posts by everyone that has put you in a circle (whether you put them in a circle or not).

To be clear: it's asymmetric so you don't have to "approve" followers or not. Feel free to put anyone in your circles, and you'll see their posts if they make them public, or if they post them to a circle they've put you in previously.

You get notifications when people add you to a circle, so you have the opportunity to add them to a circle if you want, but it's not required. Whether it's socially expected (as it seems it used to be on Twitter), is something of a debate among G+ users currently.

No. They will read only things you post to Public, and not to a specific circle. You will not read any of their posts.

I think Google Circles would finally kill LiveJournal. Ability to friend people without them friend you back is probably why LiveJournal is still alive (in spite lack of new technical features in LiveJournal).

This is one of the problems I faced and blogged last September


Is drag & drop extensively used?

Yes. You can drag users into circles.

"These circles represent a powerful innovation. They allow us to send more personal updates just to our closest friends instead of forcing us to share with all of our hundreds of acquaintances"

Powerful innovation!? Give me a break. This should be called an "obvious innovation" or "trivial implementation". How is it any different from having mailing lists?

Only trendy bloggers even know or care about Google+ right now.

I love the sensationalism of the headline. Very exciting, concise and a good summary of what's to follow.

I genuinely enjoy the techniques yellow journalists use to get page hits :)

This gif from the article is great: http://singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/faceboo...

I'm still waiting for my google plus invite.

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