Facebook vs. Google+: Which Social Network is Best?

Managing Friends

Who sees all these posts? With both Facebook and Google+, filtering the audience is pretty easy using lists. Building and maintaining friend lists used to be a chore with Facebook, as even Mark Zuckerberg once agreed. But recent changes make it a lot easier. That cluttered left navigation column is handy for its prominent placement of friend lists. Simply clicking on one brings up the news feeds for everyone in the group. A “Manage Lists” button on the top right of the page allows filtering what shows up (status, photos, game updates…) as well as quickly editing the list to add or remove people.

Facebook also provides a jumpstart by automatically creating a few “Smart Lists” based on a user’s profile—with groupings for Facebook friends who went to the same school, worked at the same job or even live in the same city.

Friend lists are central to Google+. As soon as people start, they create lists by looking up people and dragging their icons into various circles, such as Family, Friends and Acquaintances. Users can create as many circles as they like (and put the same person in any number of them), but Google+ won’t suggest any groupings, as Facebook’s Smart Lists do. (Google has hinted that such a feature may come later, though.)

Building Circles can be tedious, but it can also raise intriguing questions. Who really is a friend? Who counts as an acquaintance? Are all family members also friends?

People can share a Circle—say one for members of a club—with others, who then have the option to add or delete members. Like with Twitter, users can also make a Circle available to the public, say a hotlist of celebrities or experts in a topic whom a lot of people may want to follow.

Winner: Facebook

Automatic Smart Lists provide a good start. And other lists are easy to customize by quickly changing members or selecting what kinds of updates appear.

Facebook vs. Google +

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  1. Adam Says:

    “But Facebook allows posting to only one of those groups per update.”

    That’s not true. I post to multiple friend lists all the time. Just select “Custom” and you’ve got much more powerful add/remove list options than Google+.

  2. MarcXW Says:

    Wow was this article biased,… BTW did you take into account the fact that Facebook has official mobile apps available on every platform??? Because Google + doesn’t. Facebook should win just for that.

  3. Sean Captain Says:

    Thanks for commenting.

    Adam, thanks for the tip.

    MarcVW, thanks for the input. Would you explain in more detail how you believe the article is biased?

  4. Ole Says:

    Good article. I find it hard to say that one platform is better than the other because that is not only a question about features and design. The kind of activity that is going on is also an important aspect of the “decision”. A few thoughts:

    – Many people will use both Facebook and G+
    – G+ and Facebook study eachother’s every move and it might very well be that they will end up looking more and more alike. Facebook’s implementation of the subscription feature is one example.
    – I believe that people in a few years time will start asking questions about what they really are getting out of the many hours they spend on social networks. What’s the return on social networking hours so to speak. The winner will be the one that helps people get more value for money. I’m leaning towards G+ on this end.

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