Can Google+ steal users from Facebook? Yep. There are good reasons to switch from Facebook to Google+, ranging from ease-of-use to respect for data privacy.
When people ask “can Google+ beat Facebook?” they’re misstating the question. It’s not about one site versus another site. Google+ is bigger than that. The reason Google calls it the “Google+ Project” is that Google+ will become a central part of Google’s whole identity. It will reshape the company. So the real question is “can Google beat Facebook?” Put that way, the contest seems a lot more even.
Facebook, of course, has a huge head start, but there are good reasons for people to seriously consider dumping Facebook for Google+. [See our Hands-on Review]
1. Integration with Google Services
The biggest wedge Google has for driving people toward using Google+ is integration. That is, Google will build Google+ social networking features and tools into almost all of its existing online services from Search to Documents to Video (YouTube). Google+ is already integrated into the navigation bar at the top right of almost all Google products; this lets you monitor all Google+ events (updates, messages, etc.) as well as share content with friends without ever leaving the Google service you happen to be using. Millions and millions of people use Google’s free services (Gmail, Docs, Search, etc.), and with Google+ bound so tightly to them it may start to seem silly to jump out to some other site (Facebook) to do your social networking.
2. Better Friend Management
Google is right that the “Circles” concept is more in line with the way we make friends in real life. We have many different kinds of friends, and we interact with them and communicate with them in very different ways. Facebook’s Groups feature lets you form ad hoc groups of friends, but compared to the way its done in Google+ it seems cumbersome. After all, Facebook’s Groups feature is pretty new; it was “built on”, while friend “circles” are the bedrock of the Google+ platform.
3. Better Mobile App
If you’re an Android user, you may find that getting content from your phone to your social platform is easier, cleaner more functional with the Google+ mobile app. The app is already great, but Google will seek more and more ways to make your Android phone a seemless appendage of your Google+ social platform. Google hopes to use its huge Android user base as a wedge against Facebook, whose mobile app, while nice-looking, is a little clunky to use.