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From the author of Doing the Same Things, Differently

Doing the Same Things, Differently

As you can see, there really aren’t a whole lot of differences between Google+ and Facebook. Yeah, if you want to do multi-user video chat, you go with Google+. And if you need to invite people to a lot of events, Facebook is the network of choice. But for day-in, day-out social communication, they both do pretty much the same thing.

So it’s not that you can do different things on either network; it’s that you can do things differently. And that may be important.

Look at how each site is organized. Facebook puts pretty much everything you and your friends do on a single home page. You have the News Feed of friend updates, a list of friends available to chat, upcoming events, you name it. It’s not really organized at all; what you get is a big bucket of stuff, all in one place.

Google+, however, is very well organized; there’s none of the clutter and chaos that exemplifies Facebook. Some of this is a design choice; the Google+ interface is clean and, well, Google-like. (The Google search page is well known—and justly so—for its Spartan interface.) Everything is very well organized, and the design is open and airy. You have a short row of buttons at the top to take you to specific pages on the site—Home, Photos, Profile, Circles, and Games—and a nice navigation sidebar on the left side of the page. It’s easy to see where you are and find where you want to be.

Google+’s Stream is similar to Facebook’s News Feed, but also more organized. Because you can group your friends into different Circles, it’s only logical that you have the choice of filtering your Stream by Circle. Click a Circle in the left sidebar and you see only posts from members of that Circle. That sort of clear organization is near impossible to attain in Facebook.

That’s the benefit of Google+’s Circles, of course—being able to categorize different types or levels of friends, and deal with them individually. Facebook essentially forces you to lump all your friends into a single group, and send all your updates to every friend on your list. (Although that’s starting to change; now when you post on Facebook, you can send the update to everyone or just to friends.) Google+ lets you sort and categorize and organize your friends in ways that almost limitless; you don’t have to share everything with everybody—you can differentiate what you send to whom.

Then there’s the way the two networks handle messaging in general. Facebook lumps all the messages you receive into one single bucket. The way Facebook thinks, it shouldn’t matter a message was public or private, whether it was sent via chat or email, or whatever. For Facebook, a message is a message is a message and you view them all in one consolidated Messages center.

Google+ does not do it this way. There is no centralized Google+ message center; you deal with each different type of message in its own place. It’s organized, it’s logical, it’s clear cut—which describes pretty much everything about Google+

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