Nearly half of Facebook users access the site from a phone. And for many smartphone addicts, the handheld is more social than the laptop. Both networks offer similar mobile apps. As on the web, Google+ is easier to navigate—despite squeezing in several extra features that the Facebook app lacks. (The very similar iPhone and Android phone versions were tested.)
Google+ has a clean design. Low-fi icons on a Google-esque white home page link to most of the same key sections on the website, such as Circles, Photos and Profile. And those sections have a top nav bar, as on the website, for digging deeper. In short, it would be hard to get lost.
Extras include group messaging and the ability to create friend-list Circles right in the app. The Android version can also automatically upload all pictures from the phone’s camera to a private online album. Google+ doesn’t yet have apps for iPads or Android tablets.
Facebook is characteristically busier, but the limits of a tiny screen help keep it in check. It opens to the basic news feed, with buttons for posting status updates and checking messages. The gory details are revealed only by clicking a button that opens a massive menu with items including Timeline view, events, friend lists, groups, chat and many others. It’s dense, but at least it’s hidden. The Facebook iPad app is virtually identical.
Clean design is even more important on a tiny screen, and Google+ efficiently packs in its many features.