Current Trends in Social Networking

Facebook and Twitter rule the roost when it comes to Social Networking. But recently, Search Engine giant Google came up with its own Social Networking Platform, aptly named Google+.

Google Plus is “a social platform that rests atop the web and brings all of Google’s existing technologies (plus some new ones) into one place to make it easier, faster, and more fun to share what you’re doing online with just about anyone else”. Sounds interesting. In simpler terms, its a new social networking site created by Google which currently aims to not only compete with Facebook, but many other social sites by combining pretty much every technology Google has, thereby creating the most ultimate experience for any social networking “dude” out there.

This seemed pretty enchanting. Shifting focus back on Facebook, I’ve always wanted to create one of those random popular pages that get about a million likes just because its something new or something cool. Google+ was both of this. Hence, I recently created a Google+ Page on Facebook and started inviting all my friends there. I even posted a few links, added photos to make it look all “official”. I was pleasantly surprised to see that within a week the member count went beyond a 100, just through a simple network of friends. I also started inviting people who wanted to join the page and members kept pouring. It stands at 250 now, which is pretty good. However, by this time some bigger geeks created auto-invite mechanisms and Google+ pages kept pouring in. Others became more popular and got around 10k Likes. I guess it was then that I decided to leave my page as it is.  My purpose behind the page was to test out a few things, and I’ve got my results. Heh heh.

Anyways, it seems that the advent of Google+ has really shaken Facebook to some extent. Google already has its Gmail users who will be a part of Google+  automatically whether they want to or not. I had filled out something called as a “Google Profile” months back and now I see that its purpose in itself was to be integrated with G+. With the already enormous database of existing Gmail users, Google+ will have the the most rapid growth in terms of members compared to any Social Networking Site. It’s estimated to have 20 million users by now. And it’s just been a little more than 2 weeks since its launch, not counting the fact that they’re still not completely open to the public yet.

Its been awhile since Google has come up with own brilliant thing, the previous one being AdWords launched a decade or so ago. Google+ is set to become the creation that is set to make another booming impact to the Internet world, more specifically the Social Networking scenario. They were unsuccessful before with some of their previous endeavors, namely Google Buzz and Wave. Google Wave at least looked promising, but couldn’t really deliver and lacked performance. Buzz was something I didn’t even glance at; it just looked annoying to me. These technologies did lead critics to do what they do best – criticize Google for exhausting their think tanks while making profit from taking over companies who worked on Blogger, Orkut and YouTube. I think Google+ should shut those critics up.

Google+ is growing like a weed.

Talking more about Google+, there are Sparks, Circles, Hangouts and Streams. People who have heard of Google+ will probably know what they are. To those who don’t, Google it. =P Personally, the Hangout feature looked most pleasant and appealing. The Streams are informative and serves as a good source of knowledge for friends who view your streams. The Google Plus One plugin has already integrated itself with most sites and is rapidly being integrated into others (see the chart above). To combat the Google+ “Hangout”, Facebook has collaborated with Skype and introduced Video Chat. Skype users can hook up with Facebook friends using Skype, while Facebook friends can video chat on Facebook now through Skype. This was released just a week after Google+ was made open by invitation, though Facebook claims that they’ve been developing the video chat feature with Skype for 6 months now. I guess had they released it a week earlier, it would have looked much better. Google gained the preemptive advantage.

One would think that Google+ would have stirred up Facebook in some way. Of course, this was sudden and nobody knew about it, unlike Tulalip by Microsoft whose news has already been leaked to the public. Very recently though (and god knows why), Facebook changed their chat system and completely screwed things up for themselves. In the new chat, you cannot see all of your friends online, just a select few. These select few are chosen by Facebook by analyzing your profile and determining the friends with whom you interact the most. The analysis however, has been a complete fail because the results are completely not what one would expect. Instead of showing the friends I interact with the most, it showed me a list of random friends with whom I have just talked a few times, or newly added friends. Count on Zuckerberg to anger members, especially at such a crucial time:

If you’re angry with the new chat system and wish to express your opinions, join this Facebook Page: Petition to get the old chat back.

I think its pretty clear now that Google+ has become a real competitor to Facebook. Pretty soon, even if you want it or not, you WILL be on Google+ simply because you’re already using Google in some way or the other. Be it the Google Search Engine, Blogger, YouTube, Gmail, Buzz, Wave, Google Docs or even its browser Chrome, there is no escape from Google.

It’s just a matter of time before Google integrates some of these features into Google+ and a user will then, TRULY be endowed with a social networking site that provides, literally, everything.

I recently saw a video which I believe explains my ideology pretty well:

 

So is it a goodbye Facebook? Give your opinions here. 🙂