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Caroline Yetman

Google+ vs. Facebook: A closer look from the front line

The initial Google+ buzz has not yet died down and watching the Google+ / Facebook battle evolve further is extremely exciting to watch for any tech geek.

So let’s take a closer look at developments from the front line this week:

1. Facebook is set to announce some ‘awesome’ news at 6pm today and even invited everyone on Facebook to hear it. This seems to be a new attempt by Facebook to increase engagement and cause speculation.

According to rumours, the ‘awesome’ news is likely to be video chat integration via skype, which will compete against Google+’s ‘Hangout’s’ feature and YouTube integration. I fear Facebook may have already lost the battle here since Google got there first.

2. Mark Zuckerburg was outed as the top Google+ user by Google, while Larry Page, co-founder of Google, is second. It seems Zuckerburg keeps his friends close but his enemies closer. Will Zuckerburg and Page make it to each others friends ‘circle’?

3. Tech and media bloggers have been speculating about Google+’s ability to compete with Facebook Pages for brands.

At the moment, Google’s head of commerce and local, Jeff Huber, confirmed a Google+ response for brands will be coming in the future but for now, they “can’t announce a launch date”.

There is obviously a big demand for it. In fact, some brands have already created a brand profile from a personal profile. I wouldn’t recommend that since, as, Internet Marketing Analyst, Mark Traphagen explains:

When Pages came out, with much better features for brands, those brands went through a lot of agony. They’d already built up a fan base on their fudged personal pages, and its difficult to ask a lot of people to change to a new page…

Since Google is promising brand-oriented profiles and pages, and since their developers say the reason they are delayed is that they are trying to produce something truly worthwhile, I would say your patience will be rewarded if you wait.

4. Sean Percival has today, ‘hacked out’ what a Google+ brand page may look like and to me, this looks like it could be tough competition for Facebook.

The main reason for this is because of its roots. Google is the most popular search engine, and brands care a lot about search. With it’s inclusion of Google +1 and maps features, this could really strengthen a brand’s SEO.  Social media will no longer be thought of as a nicety, but it will become a necessity for any brand wanting to be found online.  Having a brand presence on Google+ ties this up nicely.

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