Google+, Facebook, Spokeo and You
It seems like everybody is talking about Google’s new social networking platform, Google+ (Google Plus). The conversation inevitably has focused on the similarities and differences between it and the almighty Book (Facebook), and whether its features are attractive enough to draw users away from said Book. It’s still early in the game, of course, but at least it’s safe to say that Google+ has already received a lot warmer welcome than Buzz or Wave, their previous forays into the social sphere.
As the screenshot attests, Facebook and Google+ have a lot in common; so what makes Google+ stand apart? Well, a few things: your Facebook friends – whether they be family, friends, co-workers or mortal enemies – are all lumped into one all-encompassing category: your Friends list. Like MySpace before it, Facebook seems to sometimes emphasize the number of friends you have over anything else. Google +, on the other hand, lets you arrange your friends into different networks, called "circles," where members of your circle can chat and share content with one another (pictures from a summer picnic in your "Family" circle, mp3s of vaguely threatening German techno in your "Mortal Enemies" circle, etc.). You can even do group video chats in your circle. Managing your circles and adding friends is a cinch, and can generally be accomplished with some intuitive dragging-and-dropping.
Another way Google+ is different than Facebook is in the "Friend-ing" process itself, as Google has done away with having to "approve" friends; you can add others to your circle and they can add you without having make a "Friend Request." (It’s a little like Twitter in that sense: you can ‘follow’/’friend’ them and they can follow/friend you if they so choose.)
In addition to Gmail, Google+ also incorporates other Google products, including Picasa and Blogger (names soon to change) which will allow users to share pictures and blogs until the sun explodes. You can be sure that Facebook will be introducing plenty of new features to keep ahead of the competition, however – they’ve just incorporated video chat into the service, for one, so get ready for a real social networking "arms race." You can also be sure that Spokeo will be evolving alongside networks like Google+ and Facebook. Spokeo’s Email Search function, which pulls data from nearly every social network known to man, as well as our Friends feature (which allows you to keep up with their every Tweet, Flickr upload, Blogspot blog and YouTube favorite) become more and more useful with every day, as more and more of us continue to connect and share online.