So my last rant was more or less announcing my intention to try out as captain of G+s cheerleading squad, despite my best intentions. Here we have, as promised, my ten reasons to use Google+ without deleting your Facebook account.
1. Migration time – The numbers on G+ usercount are absolutely staggering. Limted to 200,000 people last weekend, they’re now past 10 million and headed for over 20 million 48 hours from now. Personally i’ve seen one in four of my FB friends pick up over at G+, and it’s already moving beyond the early adopters. That being said, 3 in four HAVEN’T moved yet. Not only that, plenty of people aren’t likely to stay over at the other side until they’re missing out on something, and so far it hasn’t happened. Events, groups, all the (love or hate them) things that FB still has are going to keep people from moving for 6 – 12 months. This time next year will be a different landscape, but for the time being most people are going to stay put.
2. It’s not meant to simply be Facebook in another format. G+ is an attempt to encapsulate Twitter and Skype as well. Because adding someone doesnt immediately constitute a two-way flow of all information, it can at times be more like following people on Twitter. As a result, there is arguably a closer link between Facebook “friends” and G+ “friends”. Just because I add you, doesn’t mean you’ve added me or even if you do, doesn’t mean that you’ve made me visible or added me to the circles (equivalent to facebook’s groups) that you can see.
3. Nothing on G+ actually hasn’t been done before. The circles feature and privacy settings are both there on Facebook, so if you really don’t want to make the jump you can set your FB profile to be just as controlled as your G+ profile – it just takes a lot more clicking to do it. ESPECIALLY when it comes time to delete profile, which as we all know involves waiting 6 months, deleting cookies, avoiding any site with a “connect” link (Seriously, look it up!), sending Zuck one of your baby teeth via AirMail, and chanting “there’s no place like home” at full moon;
4. Ubiquity – Despite the almost-impossible task that is describing a social network to any new user, everyone now knows what FB is and more crucially how it works. A large number of both your friends and mine will either not know how to use a new system or not care to learn it, and despite my own knack for new tech I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. As a result, many of your existing networking contacts Will Not Move. Call it ludditism, call it laziness, call it conservatism, it’s a fact.
5. Mobile devices – The app fiasco rages on. Apple are blatantly keeping a G+ app from arriving on the App store because of…no, no bullshit here, it’s anti-competition and they’re fooling nobody. Sooner or later it will cave, however FB is already on all of our smartphones and in the case of some new models (no, i’m not advertising) integrated to the point of actual branding on the handset (HTC ChaCha for one). Android shmandroid, nobody is launching a G+ dedicated handset like this for the rest of the calendar year, if not further.
6. No REAL gain in privacy – I touched on it above with the “no new features” point, but really I don’t see why anyone trusts Google more than Facebook. Both make all their money from knowing who you are, who you know, what you like and – most crucially – what you click. Add to this the fact that you remain logged into google+ while you use google search and you see that the potential for catastrophic publication of extremely sensitive personal info is huge.
7. The Apps are coming! The Apps are coming! – Zynga, producers of such overwhelming bullshit as Farmville, Mafia Wars and all that other horseshit you don’t want to see on Facebook now make more money from FB users than Zuckerberg himself. This is obviously too much for Google to pass up. Don’t forget, they like money too. Before long, the same horseshit will appear on your stream. While I don’t doubt that there will be increased options to block this rubbish, it’s still going to be part and parcel of any financially viable social network. Google plus isn’t going to be run as a charity and as such the ads and apps are only a little while around the corner.
8. Inevitable content/feature wars – Facebook will respond. They’ve already added video chat (even though it’s complete shite) and are likely to pull something else out of the bag in the coming weeks. Think of yourself as less of a user and more of a customer, with two giants trying to win your attention. For that reason alone i’m keeping my FB account open as well just to see what they offer me next.
9. Businesses will not benefit – Maybe Google are pretending to be all about the advert-free stream, maybe not. But realistically for those of you planning on selling our heralding your wares to a huge number of people, FB is still the place to do it. Google have warned business not to start profiles (a warning that’s been mostly ignored for now), and as time goes on it’ll be ignored even more but the market is still FBs if you want clicks and cash.
10. This one may reek of nostalgia, but both services are free to use, lots of fun, and hugely popular ways to kill a few hours (or months) online. Why burn bridges?