Thursday, June 30, 2011

Googlebook vs Facebook

Googlebook (ahem, "Google Plus") is out. I like it. It might actually let me quit Facebook. But it's not a toaster; I can't just choose one or the other based on how I'm feeling that day. If I were going to hardcore switch, I'd need to convince a bunch of people, and if I'm going to convince a bunch of people without fanboyism, I need to be honest about the pros and cons.

Googlebook pros/Facebook cons:
- Circles are really nice. It is intuitive how to share one thing with my CMU friends, one thing with my Seattle friends, and one thing with my family. Facebook has groups but they're not as much first class citizens.
- I could see Huddles (on the mobile app) being very useful. I've group-texted before and it's always been dumb.
- open data open data. I can get anything out of my Googlebook profile easily. I cannot get things out of my Facebook profile easily (if at all).
- wasn't there something about Facebook owning some weird rights to your photos or wall posts or something?
- I trust Google more than Facebook. Feel free to debate this; my opening volleys are the above two points. Furthermore, (warning: rhetorical trick ahead) nobody trusts Facebook more than Google.

Facebook pros/Googlebook cons:
- there's no bar above me on all Google properties reminding me of how many Facebook notifications I have. That's an attention splitter right there.
- your Picasa photos are in Googlebook. Particularly, those photos you posted a while ago on Picasa, which nobody ever looks at, are now right on your Google Profile, which is now as big as your Facebook Profile. Your public photos are "more public." That's going to go fine for most people, while some will have huge my-boss-saw-me-smoking-pot mistakes and complain about privacy. I think it's not a terrible change, but be careful!
- on Googlebook, if you share a picture of you smoking pot with your friend, your friend can reshare it with the world, unless you disable resharing. Again, not a killer, but it is a thing to learn.

Okay, that's what I can think off the top of my head. What am I forgetting?


EDIT: here's another thing: Some people are uncomfortable with Google owning all your information. As someone I spoke to recently said, "they already have my email, my calendar, etc, and now they have my social network too? Who knows if they start reading all my data and knowing where I'll be and when, etc etc" I guess in this case, an upside of Facebook is that it's not Google. And I can dig that: it's theoretically a lot easier to end up in "creepy integration" territory if you don't have to cross corporate lines. The best counter I have to this is that Facebook is trying to build the all-your-data empire too (e.g. fb messaging), and I'd much rather have Google do it than Facebook.

3 comments:

Todd said...

Inertia. I've already spent years adding photos, tagging photos, commenting, inputting my interests, joining groups, (and for some people, Farming a Ville). I don't want to have to list all of my favorite bands I pretend to like again, or have to re-add (or worse, download and re-upload) and re-tag pictures of friends.

Nick Carter said...

I've got a longer post brewing about this, but I think I disagree with Todd. Profile inertia is part of the reason I dislike Facebook. It's actually pretty exciting to go through an re-enumerate the social graph again. It's the fourth time I've gone through this (Sixdegrees, Friendster, then Facebook); the first two failed because there was nothing left to do with the site after you finished the enumeration phase, but are valid as a testament that people find some intrinsic joy in the process of drafting their friends into a new service.

Dan Tasse said...

Yeah, I'd kinda rather debate everything but inertia, because here's how a million future conversations will go:

me: hey, use Google+.
he/she: but INERTIA.
me: I know I know but Google+ is better and here's why.

(snark about facebook depending on inertia deleted)

(also, yeah, I find re-enumeration kind of fun too.)