Google+ is not a threat to Facebook

Published: July 15, 2011

Unless Google is willing to make radical changes, it would see this new project of theirs join Buzz and Wave.

This is not the first time Google has attempted to uproot Facebook from its position as the number one social networking website. First, it purchased Orkut and tried to give it a makeover, but failed miserably. Then they introduced Google Wave and Google Buzz but both turned out to be miserable failures. Both Google Wave and Buzz, like the recently launched Google+, offered features which no other website offered, but they failed to survive. So, can Google+ climb to the top and fill Google’s void in the Social Networking world?

The first question that comes to my mind is whether Google+ really wants to take on Facebook.

Google’s two most important and advertised features ‘Huddle’ and ‘Hangout’ have no relation to Facebook. While Facebook has recently introduced Facebook video chat, it has only been introduced to challenge ‘Hangout’. ‘Huddle’ is also in no way going to help Google attract Facebook users but rather users of messenger apps like Kik. Other features, ‘Circles’ and ‘Spark’ are the ones which Google hopes to allure Facebook users with.

Facebook virtually covers every aspect of social networking, from sharing pictures to messaging to chatting. It is the complete social networking website on the internet but it does not stop there. It is also a complete marketing solution for large and small corporations. Many companies have begun replacing their websites with Facebook fan pages. It is common to find the link to a Facebook fan page on a billboard or business card. Facebook has one more less mentioned but equally important usage and that is as a gaming website – millions of users log in to their Facebook account daily with the sole intention of playing games.

The problems with Google+

As compared to the ever expanding and growing Facebook, Google+ offers a small set of features which quite frankly should not even be together. For example, what is the link between ‘Huddle’ and ‘Spark’?

The other problem with Google+ is that most of the features it is offering are ones that, in the long run, will almost never be used. For example ‘Circles’ is basically a way of managing your friends in groups. That has been offered on Facebook for years, but how many times have you used it?

Another problem is that ‘Huddle’ is only limited to people who own an Android Phone and soon iOS will also be added to the list. So that leaves only two truly usable features ‘Hangout’ and ‘Spark’.

‘Hangout’ could very well challenge Facebook but the only problem is that if Facebook decides to introduce multiple user video chat, ‘Hangout’ will die as Facebook has a directory of 750 million users as compared to “a few million” Google+ has.

‘Spark’ is a watered down version of the Facebook feed which will in no way attract Facebook users to make the change.

Another problem which will hinder users from switching is that Google+ is not easy to use. It is confusing and has a very steep learning curve. This was the same reason Wave failed and could easily bring Google+ down. Google expects you to watch a tutorial video before starting to use Google+ while Facebook, anyone can join and start using easily. Google+ also lacks privacy at this time with anyone being able to add anyone to a ‘Circle’ – one of the reasons Facebook became so popular was that it provided numerous privacy options.

The final problem with Google+ is the chat client. Google needs to introduce a dedicated Google+ chat client rather than integrating an already dying Google Talk client into it.

The biggest problem is that Google is trying to make every feature as unique as they can but that is not what users want. For example ‘Circles’ is much more difficult to use then ‘Friends’ on Facebook. While ‘Circles’ may seem cool, the average user does not want to go through these complications and would much rather have a simple and easy to use website.

Without a major revamp of the website, Google could be heading towards another disaster with Google+. Google needs to introduce more features and attract more users and companies alike. It also needs to make it possible for developers to make apps for Google+ so that they can make apps to cover for the shortcomings of the website as was initially done with Facebook.

For now, Google+ has no hope of challenging the mighty Facebook, and unless Google is willing to make radical changes, it could see this new project of its join Buzz and Wave as some of the biggest online flops.


Mohammed Khanani

The founder and president of Fanats FC and the youngest D-Certificate football coach ever, Mohammad writes on local football issues.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • riley

    Good god this article was god awfulRecommend

  • Topher

    you obviously have not even experienced any of this.. Circles is about privacy..I can post something for my family that my friends will not see and so is 100 times easier than Facebook’s complicated privacy really missed the point on that one huh? Facebook also has no follow…I can keep up with people similar to Twitter without having to befriend them as long as the posts are made public instead of limited in circles. You should really check something out before you rant about it. The learning curve is relatively small compared to Facebooks ever changing privacy settings which is the reason people are upset with Facebook in the first a little firsthand research to much to ask…jeeeezRecommend

  • kyle

    this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about…Recommend

  • Asp7yxia

    dude, what were u smoking when u wrote this??
    i want to have it as well if u dont mind sharing :DRecommend

  • Shiromasa Yamamoto

    Privacy regardless of social and/or information is not as protected as people think on social networking sites such as Google+ & Facebook. If you have an email address or real name, there are companies today who are able to track this information. Most search engines that crawl these sites are able to atleast get Jane Doe’s User Name.

    Both Google+ & Facebook have excellent privacy settings, and different ways to protect it’s users privacy, but both fail to address the real issues at hand. The real issues most people have today about privacy is the amount of information these sites are collecting about its users, the way this information is being collected, and how this information is being used.

    The one thing that social networking sites today don’t want to tell you, is that any site can be hacked! The only way to solve this is for sites not to have all this information about its users.

    Although ONLYMEWORLD is less the 20% complete, they seem to be on the right track regarding both privacy & cyber crimes, as they do not ask their users to provide real names, and email addresses. They offer a social networking platform similar to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Google+ all combined into one. I’m sorry I sound like I’m spamming, and or trying to endorse ONLYMEWORLD, I’m the owner.Recommend

  • Saad Durrani

    Delusion, aren’t we?

    The writer it seems is driven by prejudice. He did not care to check if orkut was ever bought. According to Wikipedia:

    Orkut was quietly launched on January 22, 2004 by Google, the search engine company. Orkut Büyükökten, a Turkish software engineer, developed it as an independent project while working at Google (required by its policy).

    Furthermore, his first paragraph gives the illusion as if orkut was launched to compete with facebook.

    Zuckerberg began writing code for a new website in January 2004. On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched “Thefacebook”, originally located at Facebook incorporated in the summer of 2004, and the entrepreneur Sean Parker, who had been informally advising Zuckerberg, became the company’s president. In June 2004, Facebook moved its base of operations to Palo Alto, California. It received its first investment later that month from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. The company dropped “The” from its name after purchasing the domain name in 2005 for $200,000.

    Facebook launched a high-school version in September 2005, which Zuckerberg called the next logical step. At that time, high-school networks required an invitation to join. Facebook later expanded membership eligibility to employees of several companies, including Apple Inc. and Microsoft. Facebook was then opened on September 26, 2006, to everyone of age 13 and older with a valid email address.

    As far as I know, orkut was at its peak when Facebook was launched. Furthermore, you went on and on about “Facebook this” and “Google+ that” but forgot to mention that Google+ is in beta, and has better privacy controls than Facebook. Furthermore, Facebook’s “video chat” is launched in association with Skype. It requires you to download a software where Google+ Hangout does not.

    Only time would tell who wins but it helps if one does his proper research.Recommend

  • Dreamer

    I never thought that a non political, technical blog could be so devoid of rationality. This opinion piece from its very start lost any objectivity when the words “miserable failure” were used twice in only the first paragraph when describing Google ventures. First, I would like to point a factual error – Orkut was created by an employee of Google, and was never purchased. A little fact check (with the help of Google, dare I say) could have helped. Buzz and Wave were indeed failures. Wave was extremely complicated, and no one really figured out what it was good for. However, unlike what the author says, Google+ has actually been praised for its intuitive design. I found that using Google+ had no learning curve whatsoever, and certain features, especially privacy related, have been made much more accessible than in facebook. The idea of adding people in circles is far more intuitive than making everyone a “friend” and then creating a list, as in facebook. I, for one, never used the facebook list feature, but the idea of circles resonated with me. It makes privacy issues much easier to tackle. And the author failed to mention that facebook rolled out its group chat feature along with video chat, probably to offset any damage by google. Of course, this does not mean that google+ is a sure shot winner. Facebook has a huge advantage of 750+ million users. But to say that Google+ is no threat is just ridiculous. It very well might be, and that is exactly the reason facebook needs to keep rolling out new products to keep itself a step ahead. Lastly I have to comment on the following comment by the author:
    “‘Hangout’ could very well challenge Facebook but the only problem is that if Facebook decides to introduce multiple user video chat, ‘Hangout’ will die as Facebook has a directory of 750 million users as compared to “a few million” Google+ has.”
    Zuckerberg gave no answer to queries about this, and it might be a while before they can introduce this feature. Time enough for google+ to grow some more. Recommend

  • Hamza Balouch

    Dont agree with the Blogger.

    G+ have allot of other things, not only 2-H Apps.

    Circle is one of the very best feature, Second, We can get access to gmail account very easily. Other than that Simply Sign in In Google, You can access Gmail other apps very easily, like Documents, Reader.

    One of my fav thing in G+ is “Data liberation”. You can simply download your profile information, Photos, Videos Etc. Recommend

  • Sparky

    For starters, you talk about privacy. Facebook, my friend has received a whole of flak because of it and its after years and years of countless lawsuits that they’ve gotten anywhere. G+ is more intuitive in that regard. The fact that you can follow anyone doesn’t mean that you’re given the license to invade someone’s privacy. NO!, that person receives a notification, which means if they want to they can block you.

    As with regards to other features, again, google has never said that its putting forward, g+ as a competitor for facebook. Agreed, some of the features do come in the same category but the majority is aimed at bringing a different approach to social networking.

    Fact of the matter is, Google plus is still in its early days, and while, in my opinion its destined for bigger things, only time will tell if it replaces facebook.Recommend

  • Uzair

    +1 for every response above :) Really dude, try to leave you biases at the door when writing about technology. You call every good feature of Google+ a negative! Circles is indeed a big deal, and an awesome way to manage privacy. Facebook is the one that “fails miserably” with controlling who can see your stuff. Privacy rules in social networking, and Google+ has already gone up over Facebook in this.

    Also, Google+ has the typical Google super-clean layout and appearance, so for people like me who value elegant and clean design there is no contest which of the two sites I will use.Recommend

  • CSB

    I’m glad everyone here has the same views about the article. G+ is awesome, bro.Recommend

  • Ashar Siddiqui

    I think blogger has not yet explored G+ properly and wrote a quite biased articel. I myself is a facebook fan and I am on facebook ever since it was launched but I believe G+ is more user friendly and more to offer than facebook. G+ has 10m users within few weeks so we can estimate its growth in next few months.

    In short, Google plus is much better than facebook.Recommend

  • SEO

    Can not say anything, Google is not a threat to facebookRecommend

  • Farooq Khalid

    This article is taken from net , I have already read it few days back. Shame Recommend

  • Columbus

    i start reading this article just to know about G+ but in the end users comments were more useful than the writer…Recommend

  • Hassan

    Dude, seriously? You took all this from the internet! You just copied and pasted it here. Express Tribune, what is wrong with you? You should verify content before publishing it. Really disappointed.Recommend

  • Google+ fan

    Wow this guy has no clue what he is talking about, google+ is barely out and it’s already got 10 million users, I applaud google’s efforts and would love to see all of their apps integrated into google+.

    The Idea of Wave was awesome, for things like trip planning or a comon photo album I hope it still takes off. I have had to reset my facebook privacy setting several time because whenever they made an update my old settings were dropped.

    I would really like to see an option for you to be able to approve tagged photos of you before they are actually tagged. Just in case people tagging have no common sense.Recommend

  • Habiba Younis

    yawns Recommend

  • mParadox

    “Another problem which will hinder users from switching is that Google+ is not easy to use. It is confusing and has a very steep learning curve. This was the same reason Wave failed and could easily bring Google+ down. Google expects you to watch a tutorial video before starting to use Google+ while Facebook, anyone can join and start using easily.”

    That made me chuckle. Anyone who first logged into Facebook the first time, knows how bloody confusing it was to navigate through the damn site. And thanks to the unannounced interface changes everyone and then, it only got more confusing.

    Google realizes this that not everyone is a tech wizard so they’ve kindly put up a tutorial video so that we don’t screw up using. Unlike Facebook which pretty much expects you to screw up.Recommend

  • G+ (me) = -FB

    Who wrote this? Link to blog please?

    How is this even a technology blog? it’s just a rant… I don’t need to go over the positives of G+ since everyone’s pretty much touched base on all or most of the ones I can think of. But Facebook has really fallen apart as far as privacy and function for the user. Sure it’s better than Myspace, but its becoming a lot like it now. I’ve seen more people on Facebook get hacked than I did in Myspace. I’ve seen Facebook arguments about the stupidest stuff because you couldn’t separate your comments easily to a certain group of friends and only them. The Facebook wall only has two options “ON” or “OFF”–I hate that. I also hate the fact that the privacy statements and notifications in Facebook can never really be turned off. The Facebook Feed is nothing like G+ Sparks, Sparks is more like or’s homepage if anything. Hangouts and Huddles are great, its fast and easy to use all across the board. Sure the Huddle is only available to a short audience but it’s not G+’s fault, it’s Apple and the Window’s market.

    At this point Google is doing what it does and exploring the different avenues of the Internet and the people who use it. The internet is always growing. Social networking is still new in the history of the existence of the internet. Why stop at Facebook or G+? I’m not a fan of Facebook. I do enjoy G+ but I’m sure someday I’ll fizzle out of G+ to something better if and when it comes along. I’m only human.
    The absolute worse thing about Facebook is the Event Invites and lack of control over who can say what on your wall. In Facebook you have no control.

    I want my privacy. Recommend

  • hADIA

    Express tribune don’t give chance to true original writers and give only chance to copy paste writers even I have also tried several times to post my useful blog, but they don’t publish it…wow…Recommend

  • Confused

    I was quite skeptical of Google+ in the start, but it has been quite successful. I mean, its not public and it’s gotten everybody’s attention, so many people are giving out their emails in blog comments just to get invited into it.
    Still too early to tell if it’s an actual threat to Facebook (it’s just started), but I would not underestimate it. Maybe Facebook has gotten old with time to some…Recommend

  • Bilal

    anyone has download google+ andriod app?Recommend

  • IndyTom

    Great title. Here are some other gems:

    “Facebook is not a threat to Myspace”

    “Internet Explorer is not a threat to Netscape”

    “Android is not a threat to iPhone”

    “Outlook is not a threat to Lotus Notes”Recommend

  • Usman

    :D :D Honestly, enjoyed comments more than the blog! Recommend

  • jpub

    The author is correct in saying hardly anyone uses Facebook group permission and this is why very few Facebookers realize what exactly they are sharing with whom and Facebook doesn’t promote this knowledge. Circles on the other hand is really the whole point to Google+. Its encourages you to understand your privacy, it even has the ability to to view your profile as it appears to others (you select who) so you can confirm you are cool.Recommend

  • Jeddy

    With tremendous difficulty I have few of friends (my extended family) on Facebook and convince them it is something useful – it would be practically impossible for them to join Google+Recommend

  • Shahbaz Younis

    Not agreed with author, google+ is far better than facebook, in every aspect and privacy settings are very easy than facebook, also friends circle is an awesome option to channel with buddies of ur choice. Dude better you should checked that out before writting this blog. Recommend

  • Pablo Chuken

    You have no idea of what you are taking about. Lame article. Recommend

  • Choas A.D

    My Lord, what a rubbish article. Try sticking to Google for more than 1/2 hour use, mate. It’s frikkin’ easy.Recommend

  • Usman A

    not a bad article at all i agree with the authorRecommend