Google Plus

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About

Google+ is of course Google's social networking site and a big competitor with Facebook. I'm a huge fan of Google+ - it's clean and (fairly) easy enough.... and some of their features such as "Google Hangouts" (which can be used in tandem with the editing of Google documents) - are incredibly useful to use in a workplace settings. As well as the innovation aspects of Google+, I'm am also every interested in the social aspects and very interested to see how the "battle" between Facebook and Google+ will play out. On this page I intent to keep track of a few statistics over time, but you'll also notice a large article below where I discuss some key differences between the two sites.

How Many People use Social Networking

A rough breakdown of how the average American spends time on the internet

According to a 2011 poll, the average US citizen spends around 22.5% of their time online looking at social networking sites and blogs (see article here). That's a massive amount of time!.... now compare that to the amount of time people spend on current events and world news: just 2.6%.

Social networks & blogs 23%
Online games 10%
Videos 4.4%
Search 4.0%
Current events/news 2.6%
Other (including porn) 49%

.. sourced from Nielsen's social media report 2011 Q3


Differences Between Google+ and Facebook on a Social Level

If you ask a marketing employee the main difference between Google+ and Facebook, he'll probably tell you the biggest difference is this: Facebook makes money by charging people for extra features (remember "gifts") and 70% of its profit from computer games. Google on the other hand, make 99% of its money in advertising, and yet they've stated they won't put any advertising in Google+. Instead it is more likely that Google is trying to benefit from Google+ by keeping people happy with a less cluttered interface than facebook and thus more likely to use other Google "products" read article. It is, quite interesting to see Google gaining a growing "game base".



This article, however is more focused on the "social" differences between the sites. I've summarized these in the diagram below.

An illustration showing some conceptual differences between Google+ and Facebook


Shortly after listing Facebook stocks went down (mid 2012) and so this was very bad news for Facebook. I do however think Google+ is unlikely to "replace" Facebook anytime in the near future because they are so very different. I've tried to show this in the diagram above, but here's a summary in text.

Some Primary "Demographic" Differences between Google+ and Facebook

Google+ is operates more like a forum where people re-post interesting topics, add groups of people with similar interest (not necessarily friends), and can "hangout" to do work. Google+ is, in a way, "productivity" focused than "relationship" focused.

Facebook is where teenagers will probably always want to kill time by interacting and checking up on their friends/family, posting status updates, playing games, joining "groups" and organizing events. It's interesting that the latter two options (forming "groups") and organizing events to attend is something Google+ doesn't (yet) allow.

As of April 2012 the two respective companies had:

  • Google+ - 170 million registered users (and growing)
  • Facebook - 900 million active users (still over 5x more)


Without a crystal ball it is impossible to predict how this competition will play out, but the insights I do offer here is that the two websites are very different in how they work and what they offer.


Best Image Sizes on Google+

  • On posts the best minimum is 800 x 600 pixels
  • On the profile banner 950 x 180 pixels
  • On the profile avatar or square picture 250 x 250 pixels

The images on posts can be bigger too. The size shown up on mobile devices and desktops varies, small pictures may appear with the black bars around them. More about image editing here.


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