For well over a year I have been trying to get my friends — heck, anyone within earshot — to set up a Google+ account and give it an honest try. Every time I post on Facebook about how people need to switch, someone asks me to be specific about why. This post exists to answer that question as specifically as possible so from now on I can just direct people here instead of continuing to write down the same reasons over and over again.
#1. The first and most important reason you should switch to Google+ is because it gives you more control. Facebook users constantly complain about how frustrating and messy the security and privacy settings are. That is because the security and privacy settings are in fact frustrating and messy — there’s a real problem there. Google+’s settings are much easier to understand, implement, and monitor. You will know more intuitively what is being seen by whom and what isn’t.
#2. Recently, as part of an effort to increase Facebook’s revenues, Facebook capped the number of friends who can see any one of your posts. This is frustrating for someone just using Facebook socially, but for those trying to reach audiences and and fan bases, it is down right maddening. On Google+, all of your “friends” (G+ calls them “circles”) will be able to see all your posts. Why else are you spending time collecting groups of friends on Facebook, other than wanting to reach them with your posts? Don’t you want to know all your friends at least potentially can see everything you’d like to share with them?
#3. When you close your Google+ account, you take all your data with you. Your Facebook data belongs to them forever and ever. Google+ allows you to easily download everything you’ve ever posted, and then you can delete your account completely. If that were the only difference between Facebook and Google+, that would be reason enough for 900 million Facebook users to ditch it and switch over.
#4. Games are handled better. I despise Facebook games. I don’t play any of them, and am constantly getting invitations to play the games my Facebook friends are playing. Google+ has similar games, but you either play them or you don’t. You will never have to tolerate a barrage of game invitations, nor will you ever be notified that so and so just earned a cow in Farmville.
#5. Google+ handles photos far better. It integrates nicely with the Google-owned service Picasa, and gives you a huge amount of control over the posting, editing, and sharing of your photos. Facebook doesn’t even come close. If you’re a photo person and haven’t checked out Google+, you would love it.
#7. Video “chats”. If you are a Google+ user, you can open your app, click on one of your friends, and select “start hangout.” That person will be notified and within seconds you can be video chatting. In the tests I ran, Google+’s video chat quality is far superior to anything I was able to get on Skype.
#8. Circles. This is Google+’s equivalent to Facebook’s friend lists. Do you remember how Facebook made some pretty drastic changes to the way friends lists were set up, making it more intuitive and easier to group people? That was in direct response to Google+’s circles idea, which is still better. Organizing your friends into groups is unbelievably easy on Google+, and sharing with certain individuals or groups is much easier as well.
#9. On Google+, you can share posts with people who don’t use Google+. Yes, you read that correctly. You can put a non Google+ user in any of your circles and when your post is shared to your G+ stream (wall), it is also emailed to those in your circles who do not use Google+.
#10. Google+ eliminates the constant flow of minutiae and irrelevant information from your stream. You won’t see that so and so just liked such and such, or that person x and person y just became friends, or that Joe just commented on Cindy’s post. Unless you want want to.
#11. Events, like everything else on Google+, are less intrusive, less in your way. They are also easier to read and laid out better.
#12. You can disallow comments on a post by post basis. Sometimes you just want to put something up but aren’t looking for comments or discussion. If you’re using Facebook, sorry – you’re gonna get discussion whether you want it or not.
#13. Ads. Google+, like Facebook, depends on ads for revenue. Ads on Google+ are less intrusive and take away less from the user experience. You’ll notice this immediately.
#14. Group hangouts. Video chat can happen between multiple people. It is essentially video conferencing.
#15. Facebook allows you to edit certain posts. Google+ allows you to edit all of your posts.
#16.Because Google+ doesn’t barrage you with constant irrelevant details, what you see is cleaner. It is less about knowing every last mundane detail about every one of your friends, and more about interacting with them.
#17. You have a What’s HotWhat’s Hothttp://support.google.com/plus/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1686118 stream, where you can see popular posts from your friends and across Google+. This turns up some really fun content.
#18. Google+ has Communities, where groups of people can organize themselves around common interests such as board games or The Big Bang Theory. These are fun and allow you to engage with others with similar interests.
#19. If you see something you don’t want on your Google+ stream, click a button and you’ll never see that kind of thing again. This is in contrast to Facebook which allows me to ban, say, individual game invitations, but offers no way to simply turn them off.
#20. For those who use and enjoy Twitter, you can use hash tags and see Google+ trending topics on Google+. For those who don’t use Twitter and care nothing about this, you can ignore this without affecting your experience at all.
#21. The above 20 reasons point clearly to one conclusion — Google+ is better. Why not use the better product? The answer most would give is, “Because my friends aren’t on it.” That’s a great point, obviously, and I will address that in my next post.
Related resource: 20 Reasons Why Google+ is a Must