Facebook is a social networking site that is trying to diversify into other applications (Poke, Messenger, Camera, etc), while Google+ is trying to integrate into the already existing array of Google Apps. CIO has a great article on the differences in the two company’s future direction:
Yet these two sites are embracing opposite strategies for the future. Specifically, Facebook is an integrated social network that is trying to become many different products, and Google offers many different products that it’s trying to integrate into a single social network.
The reason for such opposing strategies is that the problems, constraints and opportunities for each company are completely different. — Why Facebook and Google+ Are Headed in Opposite Directions by Mike Elgan
While the article goes into some great reasons that Facebook and Google+ have different paths, I think that one missed point is why Facebook has been losing active users — not only because teens have been leaving and new teens have not been signing up, but also because Facebook has started more aggressively controlling what you see in your newsfeed — much of which feels like ads.
As my colleague Earl Lear pointed out:
I think what irritates me the most about Facebook is the fact that I personally clicked the ‘Like’ button on her page so that I could keep up with her, and read the content that she posts on a regular basis. However, Facebook has determined that I really didn’t mean to ‘Like’ her content and has chosen to silence her in my newsfeed. The motivation here is clearly to raise the revenue at Facebook by forcing people into paying for ads but aren’t they taking away from my experience to achieve their goals and thus lowering the level of satisfaction with their product?
I guess the question is, if you liked a page, do you expect to see updates from that page? Maybe Facebook should have distinguished between Like and Subscribe earlier so they wouldn’t have to guess what content people want to see.
While people often aren’t keen on the amount of data Google collects about them, they’ve typically been pretty open and truthful about what they’re doing — they even provide good measurement tools for both AdWords and Analytics so you can see what’s going on with your websites.
Will this openness serve Google+ in the future? Will Facebook’s past gaffs cause problems? What do you think?