On 28th June, 2011 Google rolled out the beta version of its highly anticipated social networking site, Google Plus. It is no secret that Google has long been wanting to get a slice of the social networking market. So, what exactly is Google Plus and how does it compare to Facebook? In this post we are going to look at Google Plus Versus Facebook and examine some of their major differences.

Simply put, Google Plus has integrated many of the best features from our favorite social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, in one convenient package.

Google + v Facebook

Photo by Mike Volpe - CMO Hubspot

Google Plus versus Facebook – A Brief Comparison

You’ve probably seen some of the cartoons poking fun at the rivalry between Facebook and Google+. While they’re all in good fun, there’s a grain of truth to them as well. By all accounts, Google is trying to oust Facebook as the King of Social Media – and if any company is up to the task, it’s Google. But is Google+ a contender? Let’s compare the two and see.

Facebook

Once merely a hangout for college students, this powerhouse has become the goto network for family, friends, and even businesses and government entities. You can chat with your grandmother in Sydney, play a game of Bejeweled, post pictures of your wedding, and encourage people to sign up for your mailing list – all without leaving the site. Not only that, but Facebook has it’s own advertising network, making it easy and cost effective to get your business in front of your target audience.

Facebook also allows users to set up both private and public groups where you can dish about common interests and invite others to join the discussion. You also have the ability to set up “facebook pages” which are specifically designed for businesses and other entities.

Google+

1. Sharing Information

The new kid in the social media market has a lot to offer. Unlike Facebook, Google+ is not an all or nothing venue for sharing information. It allows you to pick and choose who can see your content, making it a bit like your Facebook wall with groups mixed in. Not only that, but Google+ gives you a lot more sharing space, whereas Facebook limits individual wall posts to 420 characters.

Although Facebook allows you similar sharing controls with lists, these are far from easy to find and use. Facebook is in the process of introducing easier controls over sharing of information, probably in response to Google+’s success with Circles, so it will be interesting to see how this all pans out, but for now, Google+ gets my vote on this one.

2. Hangouts

If you prefer to mingle face-to-face, Google+ has you covered with a nifty little tool called Hangouts. Using your web cam and mic, you can chat in real time with co-workers, friends around the world, or even total strangers. Whenever someone in one of your circles starts a Hangout, it will show up in your stream, so pull up a chair and join in.

3. Streams

‘Streams’ is probably the thing Google Plus does best. It offers you a way to filter the content you see. If it’s your day off and you don’t want to hear about work, click another stream. Feel like reading about a particular topic? Make a circle dedicated to it, then choose it from the “streams” list. You’ll hear only what you want, when you want. No more miss-mash of information sorted only by time of creation.

4. Google Rankings For Your Profile

And finally, probably the most exciting (and most speculated about) feature of Google Plus is the way your Google profile will quickly climb the search engine rankings. Use your keywords in your profile and get ranked in Google.

5. Personal Accounts Only….For Now

At this point in time, Google Plus is only available to private individuals, but business accounts are on the menu for the future, so watch this space.

Summary

In the battle of Google Plus versus Facebook, which one is the better choice? Well, it depends on your needs and how you choose to manage your social networking. One thing is certain though, Google Plus is a true contender in the highly competitive social media marketplace. If you’re not a member yet, you should make it a point to get on board, because Google Plus is going to play an important role in social marketing.

In my next post I will be walking you through how to get started with Google Plus and talking you through some of the Google Plus features in greater detail.

Are you already using Google Plus? If so, I would love to hear what you think of it so far and how it is stacking up against the established Social Networking sites. Please leave me a comment below…..and don’t forget to share and Google+ me :-)