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Google’s Thoughtful Response to Facebook [Pt 1]

*this was my article for a student publication in our university.*
by Acezon Cay

Google’s Facebook competitor, the Google+ Project, finally arrives – and this will be its second
shot at taking the social networking giant out of cyberspace. Packed with interesting features and twists
on the social networking model, Google+ is a smart, attractive, and a robust social network offered by
the search engine giant.

The company dubbed Google+ as a “project” rather than a product, emphasizing it’s function of
making Google itself more socially active than being a standalone social network. “It’s ‘Plus’ because it
takes products from Google and makes them better and ‘project’ because it’s an ongoing set of
products,” said Vic Gundotra, the senior vice president who supervises Google’s social products.

A core proposition of this project is privacy: the opposite of what Facebook and Twitter’s
broadcast archetype. The product itself is based on the Google Circles feature, which lets you share and
view content available only from your explicitly identified groups of your contacts called “Circles”, and
pretty much no one else. It’s easy to use and has a great feature because it protects your stream from
reaching people out of your circles. And if you to publish content publicly, the service is well adapted to
that environment too.

Google+ Circles vs Facebook Lists and Groups

Sharing material with your circles is very easy in Google+. The idea of this feature is that you
can drag-and-drop your contacts to different types of Circles, which then you can use to share data
specifically to a number of Circles.

For example, I share photos from a party in UP to my buddies in the “UPD Friends” circle. On the
other circles, my “High School Friends” for example, I share all my memorable photos and videos about
our batch. Just drag your content, choose your circles, and boom – sharing privately is that simple.

On the other hand, Facebook has two features similar to Google+: Lists and Groups. I had a hard
time using this feature because sometimes, content is shared throughout my friends instead of only
posting it to a specific list. Its interface is also not as intuitive as the Google+ Circles, as finding friends on
a List could take a long time especially when you have many.

Google+ Stream

This is where the magic of privacy happens. When posting content through your stream, you can
limit to which circle/s that content would be available. Akin to Facebook’s News Feed, where you can
post photos, videos, links, similar to your status updates.

One feature that I like the most is the “Share” area on the upper right side. It is included on the
black navigation bar above called the “One Google” bar, which also contains quick access to your Mail,
Calendar, Documents, and other Google products. With this kind of feature, no matter where you are in
Google, you’ll have the power to share something.

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