OK, Google+ and Facebook Are Competing, But This is Just Getting Ridiculous
By: Hillel Fuld
Is it just me or is this whole social media space getting overcrowded and overhyped? Take two of the hottest names right now and look what is going on. In fact, let's just focus on what the two platforms, Google+ and Facebook announced last night alone.
Facebook revamped its entire UI with the most noticeable announcements being the news feed. Now, the UI is organized by top stories, which means that the updates with the most comments and likes appear first. Sound familiar? At first, I did not see any way to view recent updates, but there is an option to see that, it's just not the default.
Now, I am aware that everyone uses these things differently, but I just do not see someone logging into Facebook in order to read the posts with the most likes and comments. In fact, quite often the posts with the most engagement are the ones I want to read the least. They are often the posts written by people who have many friends and more often than not, the update is some lame quote, profound thought, or random link. I don't know about you, but I use Facebook to read and stay updated about my friends and family. Top stories just do not work for me.
The thing is Google+ is doing it and the stories that appear on top of the Google+ feed are not the most recent updates but rather the updates that have the most recent comments. I didn't get it there and I don't get it on Facebook.
But it doesn't end there, far from it. Both Google+ and Facebook announced many new features yesterday such as a Google+ API, Google Hangouts going mobile, a new Facebook news ticker and a corner for real time updates. The thing is, from a consumer's point of view, both these platforms are busy copying each other instead of innovating.
Take the group messaging feature for Google+. It was called Huddle till today. Any guesses what it is called now? Hint: Facebook released its own messaging app, we discussed it here. Yes, the Facebook messaging app is called Messenger as is the Google+ messaging feature. Then again so are the apps from MSN, Yahoo, and others.
Google releases Hangouts, Facebook partners with Skype for video calling. Facebook has likes, Google has +1s. Google organizes the feed based on engagement, Facebook changes the way its news feed is organized so it is based on engagement. You can circle on Google+ without the need to be approved, so Facebook adds the Subscribe button, which does just that. Enough!
This is seriously getting ridiculous. What both these companies are doing is like kids fighting over a toy so much that the parent has to take it away from both kids. The toy being mine and your time spent on their platforms. It is getting so childish and receiving so much attention, that it is only a matter of time before people get fed up and look elsewhere for their social media needs.
Is MySpace still around?
Jokes aside, someone needs to tell Facebook and Google+ that users are not going to be won over by simply copying each other. The bottom line is, the platform with the best UI and the richest feature set will win this game. Daily UI changes, slow feature releases, and confusing security settings are not exactly what users are looking for in a platform with which they share every last detail of their lives. Just sayin...