Dear Google, Why is Google+ just a Facebook with better clothes?

I love Google+ as compared to Facebook. I have started to love it a lot more in the past couple of months, since I have started using it every day to check feeds and share content.

It is a much better, cleaner design and the concept of creating and sharing with your contact circles is very intuitive.

Google+ has got a lot of attention when it was launched over a year ago. They have churned out new features with the latest being Events.

But Google+ is simply failing as a alternative to Facebook because it has a flawed strategy in place.

Google+ has very little activity on it

At the beginning of the post, I mentioned that I have started to use Google+ a lot more over the past two months. But this choice was not involuntary as I wanted to adopt Google+ more and dig deeper into it.

But I still hardly see posts from my friends or family members on it. When  I share a photo album with my family and close friends, I paste the link on my Facebook account. My close contacts have all have signed up for Google+ but are simply not active on it.

I simply come across more discussions, reactions and comments on Facebook to whatever I share when compared to Google+.

Google+ is not proactive!

Google+ seems to be waiting for Facebook to be make bad decision rather than do something different. It is not taking the fight to other social networks. It has Hangouts which is a great feature but nothing else really stands out.

Also Google has not got its act sorted out on APIs for third party developers. This is hugely important for Google+ to grow organically. There simply seems to be nothing happening on this front.

A Facebook competitor cannot be just a clone!

The news feeds, posts shares are pretty much borrowed from Facebook. They have +1 which is similar to the “Like” button on Facebook.

That makes Google+ a clone of Facebook. It looks better designed but it still lacks some Facebook features like Groups – which are very popular among hobby groups. It is surprising that Google+ has ignored this and not integrated their own Google groups service into Google+.

I wont say, Google+ has missed the bus to success. It has a great mobile app and some very good features. But Google+ needs to evolve into something unique otherwise it is at the risk of being just a Facebook with new clothes.


Chris L. October 1, 2012

Really? Does Facebook have a decent email system built into it? How about a public feed? Simple method of organizing a users contacts into groups (friends/family/other)? What about the ability to store, edit and share files? A decent news aggregator? The ability to import/export ALL of your information? How about games that don’t spam my news feed? Privacy settings that don’t change each week? Integrated maps and calendar for events?

Sorry, but even though Google+ is a younger service, I feel it beats Facebook in all ways but one – the number of people who use it. It is entirely accurate to say that Google+ would be a much more active place if it had a user base the size of Facebook’s. It’s one of very few things the service seems to be missing and it’s not enough to make me turn to Facebook for my social networking needs, nor would I recommend Facebook to anyone over Google+.

Aditya Kane October 2, 2012

@Chris L: As you mentioned Facebook has many services which Google+ has in a better format or design. But Google+ does no see any level of interactivity which Facebook has. It is not about recommending one social network over the other but really wondering why is Google+ not picking up. It is a new social network agreed but it does have the power a Google backing full on (which was an advantage Twitter and Facebook did not have).

Also over the last year, Google+ has not done something new other than release features (albeit better designed) which already existed on Facebook.

Chris L. October 2, 2012

This is true. And the one thing Facebook will always have over Google is time. Facebook started solely as a social network. Having explained to friends who use Facebook about the advantages of switching to Google+, I can tell you first hand that each and every single one of them has had the same response: “All of my friends and family are already on Facebook.” In other words, it’s too much work and highly unlikely to get them to switch. I have managed to get people to use Google+ on a regular basis, but I know for a fact that Facebook is still their primary social network.

Since Facebook has become the standard in social networking, it will take a massive effort (not just a company backing) to move so many users to a different network. Just like Google has become the standard in search – imagine how much effort it would take to get so many people to stop ‘googling’ everything and start using an alternative.

Mohammed Faizan Ansari October 5, 2012

I am amzed to see such an article by an expert. You should explore some more on what Google+ has in it for you. And as you talked about interactivity in your reply to Chris, I must say: its just a matter of time; Google+ is surely a winner in providing features better than facebook and twitter but its too late for people to shift to any other platforms.

Aditya Kane October 5, 2012

Google+ provides better features, better design but nothing significantly unique compared to Facebook.

I am not a fan of Facebook myself for various reasons but I use it more than Google+ simply because of interactivity. And social by definition is all about interactivity.

It is never too late for people to shift to other social platforms as long as it is unique. Look at Instagram a social app for photos, which grew only on mobile platforms. The reason it grew so rapidly was because it was different and unique.