Friday I posted some thoughts from a couple of my pals out there in the Blogosphere covering the latest changes with Google+ and Facebook. I had also asked Mike “TheSocialTweep” Grosheim his opinion.
He responded with such a great amount of information I felt it needed its own posting. Here we go…
Let me start with Google+. It’s nice to see that G+ is finally available to the masses without the need to beg someone for an invite. It’s impressive, if you think about it, the growth rate compared to Twitter and Facebook when they first launched. It’s equally impressive that they did it all in less than 3 months. After they opened the flood gates, Google released a blog post and a follow up press release. There are supposedly 99 or so changes that were made over the past 3 months. Some of those changes will have no effect on the average Joe, but there are a few worth mentioning – for better or for worse.
First, they have the added features to Hangouts. They took Skype and amped it up allowing multiple people to video chat at the same time. The newest features to Hangouts are a little puzzling only because Google’s position is that they are creating a search friendly social network yet they are doing a hell of a lot to focus on video/streaming. However, these new features are really just Skype and Ustream thrown together. Personally, I’m not a big live streaming guy. Looking at the global impact though, I think it is a very smart move for Google. Hangouts now include some of the better features of Twitter, Facebook, Skype and Ustream all in one place – you can have multiple “face-to-face-to-face” sessions, while recording it all to export to your website/blog or YouTube while streaming live around the world. When asking others their thoughts, the biggest reaction was ‘That’s creepy.’ In my opinion, it really isn’t creepy at all – well, no creepier than Ustream or recording yourself lip dubbing your favorite song and hoping for a million views or the billion dollar industry of charging $1.99 a minute to let men watch you vacuum your living room in a g-string.
It’s actually a really great opportunity to bring people together to talk about a similar interest – ie a few of the great marketing minds – and they all have the opportunity to play host and answer questions with real-time feedback from their colleagues, great debate and sharing it all, again, in real-time. Like Groups on Facebook, you will be able to name your Hangout and create an ongoing fan base. But unlike other options out there – for instance Ustream – everything will be server side and users won’t need to invest in expensive software to manage multiple people on the same stream. Bravo Google. The fact that all of this can also be done from your phone is a great move for Google.
Over the next few weeks they will be rolling out even more features. I’m not sure how I feel about some of these. Screensharing is an obvious bonus. Hopefully it will be a one-click option to copy the screen and share it to other social networking or at least create a link to the screenshot. SketchPad and Google Docs on the other hand don’t seem to be all that amazing. It looks like they are trying to include something similar to Video Conferencing, which is a great idea to bring in business users, but since they don’t have business accounts yet and they don’t allow Apps users to create accounts, the majority of the people who would benefit from such an add-on won’t have access. They are kind of moot.
One thing that Google has done very well with over every other social network is listening. Although they are sticking to their guns on some basic things (like using your real name) they are listening to what Plussers want and giving it to them. People wanted search within G+ and they made it happen. They are also listening to what people want when it comes to mobile features with new options coming out in the next few weeks in addition to some significant function changes to +Mentions and +1′s.
Facebook should be taking some notes. Facbook really has nothing to lose when it comes to their network. Young and old, tech savvy and computer idiots, from every corner of the globe. They are all using Facebook to connect; and, while a large portion of them have migrated over to Google+ there will always be a need to keep that Facebook account active and routinely check in to keep in touch with Grandpa and Aunt Tilly. Facebook’s saving grace is that, as a tool, it is very easy to communicate with people. Although a large number of Babyboomers, Gen-Xers and Gen-Yers have made the transition over to Twitter, as a communication tool, Twitter sucks. Facebook did make the change (maybe to be more like G+) to allow more texts in updates and comments, allowing a better conversation. But, where Facebook succeeds in making their service better, it is preceded and followed by at least 10 failures.
Facebooks successes and failures are a direct result of its leadership. Mark Zuckerberg is an ******* genius when it comes to social networking and connecting people. His biggest flaw, which is apparent in Facebook itself, is that he has ADOS (Attention Deficit OOOOOOOOH SHINNY!!!) Facebook moves from one upgrade to the next without fixing the bugs from the first upgrade. The flaws are endless, but who cares when you can just scrap it and make something better. Have they really gone better this time? What seems to be nothing more than a way to compete against G+, this new stream crap is awful on so many levels. The biggest issue is that its not something you can opt out of or change in your settings. You’re stuck with it.
The new RSS style updates and updates from the friends you communicate most with being above everything else is a huge turn off for many, and that includes me. Facebook says it is to keep people better informed and up-to-date. I call bull****. They have done nothing more than taken a GooglePlus-esqe feature and made it their own. And frankly its annoying as hell. Google is making changes people want. Facebook is making changes they think people want. And by the time they realize that people hate it, it’s too late.
I like Facebook. I really do. But, they make too many changes too fast. By the time people are just starting to understand that latest change, Facebook changes it again. Come on Zuck, I know it’s hard, but build it and stick with it for a while.
Facebook or Google – or Twitter for that matter – these are just changes to make a better network. It’s an all out war and starting to turn into sibling rivalry. Hopefully something good comes out of all of this. In the mean time, we can sit back and deal with the imperfections, bitch a little and hopefully someone will hear us.
Thanks again Mike.
- The Bald Fat Guy