Constant status updates, "checking in" everywhere one goes, looking for potentially clever and witty status updates, uploading 200 photos five seconds after getting home: These are all symptoms of a serious Facebook addiction. Many have recognized the signs and have admitted to an addiction.
However, Facebook's monopoly on social networking may be ending with the emergence of Google's social network, Google Plus. Google Plus combines the core features of Twitter and Facebook. However, its unique features are setting it apart from Facebook.
Announced this past summer on June 2011, Google Plus enterned the cyber competion of social networking sites. Facebook previsouly held the monopoly on the web; however, now Google Plus attempts to create a greater competition rivaling Facebook.
A few of the new services Google Plus offers is the Stream that is equivalent to Facebook's News Feed. Just as on Facebook, one can share videos, photos, links and locations with friends on Google Plus. One can do the basics such as update statuses and comment, and they even have a "+1" feature similar to the "Like" button. In general, these features are very similar, currently putting them at a fairly equal playing field.
However, at this point, Google Plus doesn't have an application like the "Ask a Question" polling application of Facebook.
Google Plus offers a feature known as "Circles." "Circles" can be used to organize friends into categories and groups, such as "Friends," "Family," "Co-workers," "USD classmates" and so on. Google Plus users can specify exactly which updates, photos and links are shared with each group. Facebook has developed something similar in response to Google Plus's unveiling of the "Circles". It has the starred friends or favorites feature, but Google Circles is a much easier system to navigate due to its circular map format.
The video chat revolution is upon the cyber world, and both social networking sites have incorporated video chat features. Facebook video chat is still working out some kinks because it tends to freeze and sometimes not connect. As of now it does not support group video chat, but its privacy features are commendable. When a friend is invited to video chat, they must accept the invitation before video is enabled.
Meanwhile,on Google Plus "Hangout," one can video chat with up to 10 friends and there is no "invitation" application. This means anyone can attempt to video chat another user at any time. However, it lacks the tightend security that Facebook offers with the invitaions and accepting the invitations.
Overall, Google Plus is a safe site with great privacy protections for its users. It takes a little more effort on the user's part to be safe on Facebook, because privacy settings must be manually changed in order to ensure the greatest protection. Google Plus, on the other hand, does this automatically.The privacy settings in Google Plus are built in and easier to change than those on Facebook.
Google Plus is simple and surprisingly refreshing. As of now, it has all the features of Facebook: chatting, status updates, "check-in" and photo/video sharing. It also is free of multiple pesky applications such as Farmville.
Over 50 million people have joined Google Plus, making it the world's fastest growing site since its official launch on Sept. 20. The question is, can it sustain its popularity and draw Facebook addicts to its side? Facebook currently has over 800 million active users, over 50 percent of which log onto Facebook on any given day. Facebook is undeniably the most popular social networking site in the world.
Another benefit of Google Plus is the accesibility to blogspot integrated into the site.
Both sites offer picture sharing. Google Plus uses Picassa while Facebook continues with the typical picture sharing setting.
What Google Plus is still missing that Facebook offers are the business pages, the Facebook games and Facebook questions.
At the end of the day, Facebook is still the top dog. Perhaps Google Plus just needs more time to become established and gain momentum. In the not so distant past, MySpace was the site to be on, and Facebook was that weird site only college kids used. However, over time, everyone followed their friends to Facebook. Perhaps once all of our peers make the switch to Google Plus we will follow with the same Lemming-like mentality that led us to Facebook. Only time will tell though if Google Plus will remain as a main social site or go to the peripheries of Facebook.
Although the addiction to Facebook is unlikely to cease in the near future, props to Google Plus for establishing itself in a Facebook-centric world. Mark Zuckerberg began a social networking revolution, and his legacy very well may withstand the Google Plus invasion.