Photo: Illustration: Ellis Hamburger
Google+ just opened to the public a few days ago, and millions more people just signed up.But will they stay?
Google+ is a great social network, but it’s not as good as Facebook.
Especially the new and improved Facebook.
Seeing a Google+ stream filled with the same 10-20 people is boring.
Signing in to Google Chat (within Google+) and instant messaging with the same 10-20 people is boring. Most of the people are only there because they're signed into Gmail.
Almost all of our friends use Facebook and Facebook Chat, which makes the experience more immersive and fun.
Even Google execs aren't using Google+ anymore.
Google's 'Circles' feature, a means of controlling who you share with and what news you see, was just picked up by Facebook.
Facebook calls the feature 'Smart Lists,' because Facebook's iteration of 'Circles' can auto-create themselves.
We like Smart Lists better, unless they're notifying people for no reason.
Remember the user interface Google+ lifted from Facebook?
Facebook must've had a good laugh when Google announced Google+, knowing that its big interface revamp was a mere couple months away.
Only once you're friends with someone on Facebook can they mention (tag) you in a post or picture.
On Google+, anybody can mention anybody, which means it's easy for your Notifications area to get spammed.
Twitter mentions work the same way, of course. Except when you're mentioned, a big red number doesn't illuminate inside of your Gmail/Google Search interface.
The big red number begs to be clicked, when in reality, you've been pestered by another person you don't know. Just ask our CEO Henry Blodget how annoying that can be.
The news Stream in Google+ is filled with epic posts. If somebody writes a long post that receives many comments, you're bound to lose a whole page on your computer screen over it.
It takes a lot longer to scan updates and see what's really up with friends and family.
Facebook just took everything annoying about Facebook (like people over-posting status updates, music they're listening to, and incessant photo commenting) and crammed it into a live News Ticker.
News Ticker enables you to see what's happening right now (one of the best things about Twitter), but only when you want to. See someone playing a song in Spotify? Click it to hop right into that song.
The News Feed combined with the News Ticker blows Google's boring Streams out of the water.
There are dozens of companies (like Zynga) whose businesses are already built around Facebook Credits, and Facebook's new Open Graph platform will only solidify its lead.
Open Graph will enable developers to create more immersive apps that thread themselves tighter into the Facebook platform.
Facebook already has partnerships with the best of the best like Netflix, Spotify, Nike, Zynga, and more. Google+ only today got CityVille, one of Zynga's biggest properties.
What is Google+'s ace in the hole?
The fact that it isn't Facebook. From the get-go we noticed how frequently people posted to Google+ about how they were tired of Facebook.
Google+ symbolizes a fresh start, and this is one of the main reasons many people are excited about it.
But we think Google+ has the same problems Facebook has--what many call 'Facebook fatigue.' A common sentiment is that Google+ is fresher and less tiring than Facebook.
In reality, the idea should be called 'social network fatigue,' because no matter what social network you're using, the act of constantly sharing and commenting can be exhausting.
People don't care as much about 'killer features' as they do about communicating with everybody they know.
Facebook has added new features to directly compete with Google+ such as 'Smart Lists' (Google+ Circles), Skype video chat (Google Hangouts), a Facebook Messenger app (Google Huddle), and intense privacy options.
But, most people don't even know how to use these features within the 'new' Facebook. This also means none of these features are 'killer app' enough to convert a large number of people to Google+.
There is not enough space for two social networks that have much of the same functionality, especially when one has all your friends on it and the other doesn't.
There's just not enough draw to switch, because using both is exhausting.
Google+ has some neat new features like live web broadcasts and Google Docs collaboration that will help it become something (a new blogging platform, perhaps?), but not a something that will beat Facebook.
Especially the new Facebook.
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