Facebook Does More To Make Google Plus Viable Than Google Ever Could

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know I am no Google or Google Plus fan. I have repeatedly discussed my views on what can only amount to a failure on Google’s part to get in and actually dominate or at least become relevant in the mainstream social space.

This opinion is of course based on a premise. That Facebook doesn’t lose this on their own. What does that mean?  I believe this battle is Facebook’s to lose, rather than something Google has to win.

Let’s face it, neither of these two giants are consumer privacy friendly. Facebook however, has mastered the art of pissing their user base off by consistently overreaching their power and control of their users information, as well as keeping users off center by changing the rules, settings and functionality of privacy management.

1) Privacy Policy Changes

2) Making managing privacy settings near impossible to understand and stay on top of.

3) Changing users settings without their consent.

4) Most recently – Changing users profile content without their consent.

Really, this list could go on and on. If you are unaware of the recent blunder Facebook tried to do secretly to all of their users, see a great post by my friend @susie_parker called “Facebook Changed Your Email and Didn’t Even Tell You“.

Is it possible for Twitter to be the only social network managed by people that are at least smart enough to not piss off their user base? Sorry for the tangent…

I am completely amazed at how one of THE most prolific companies that has ever existed on this planet can continue to be so stupid. Is it stupidity or arrogance? Most likely it is a combination of both. Regardless of the medical issue or character flaw contained within this company’s leadership and displayed secretly in their board room, there is a significant outcome that is becoming more and more likely to surface.

Loss of market share to Google Plus.

Facebook is continually alienating its users, egregiously stepping on privacy and user information controls. I can’t think of too many other things Facebook could do to consistently hand Google and it’s mostly cricket filled network an upper hand in the social media battle.

I have a few suggestions for Mr. Zuckerburg and the Facebook board:

1) Stop messing with your users privacy.

2) Make privacy and user control a top priority in your business.

3) Deploy a focused campaign that builds trust with your user base that is based on actions, not words.

4) Quit making changes to your system (for at least a while) that frustrates and upsets your users.

5) Lay low – You already created a mess with your IPO and a ton of bad press as a result. Chill out, sit down, shut up and focus on 1-5 above.

Failure to take these common sense, immediate steps will even get this Google hater to start spending time on Google Plus, let alone the millions of other users that will someday soon, have had enough. You’re driving off a cliff Facebook. You might want to hit the breaks before it’s too late.


43 thoughts on “Facebook Does More To Make Google Plus Viable Than Google Ever Could

  1. I am a Social Media aficionado and my Facebook usage has dropped by at least 50% in the past three months.
    I _do_ love Twitter. G+ is a little clumsy for me to use, but it is proving a great place to make connections.
    I do believe FB has shot itself in the foot.

  2. How does a social network made for the people and about sharing peer to peer play foolishly with its users privacy?

    My simple advise for Facebook is:
    LISTEN to your users and you will keep them.

    My question for Facebook is:
    Whatever happened to keeping your social network simple?

  3. Jiminy “Cricket” here from the “Plus” side –
    I recently read a post where the writer said that the only way Facebook will fall will be as a result of a huge huge privacy issue.
    I also just read that 20% of FB users don’t use privacy controls and 68% don’t customize privacy settings for apps.
    Do you think the average FB user cares about these “back end” changes as much as we do?
    When they changed the Timeline, I heard a lot of opinions, pro and con from friends; I haven’t heard a squeak about this latest “email” issue.

    Do you think that Facebook counts on this apathy to justify these changes?
    (Just realized this sounded like an interview :-)
    Great post, Robert!

    1. hahaha here’s the thing Ray. Leaders in an industry that leave a platform will be followed by their friends, family and audience. Remember six degrees of separation? Won’t take too much to make that happen. Remember MySpace?

      Facebook is it’s own worst enemy. They better realize it or they will be in a bad way IMHO

  4. Robert,

    Good post – Realistic argument.

    I have to say that Ray does make a point in that many people don’t even know they should care about privacy and technical issues.

    However, there are people that know the difference, like you and I, and we have the power to socially influence the social space(s). Would we take our friends with us to another place if we were made angry enough. I think that answer is YES!

    I don’t love Google+, but I also think we can’t totally discount the possibilities just yet.

    On the other hand, maybe we need something like Facegoo+ to get people running in circles on yet *another* social network. With the right people and a good video channel, maybe both might be left crying on the corner. {chuckle}

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts,


  5. Robert, first you show your soft side over in our Facebook group, now an indication that you may give G+ a try? You continue to make my day with your surprises my friend! On a more serious note, I think the lack of respect Facebook has shown towards it’s users’ wishes was the original reason so many were fed up, closed their accounts and moved to G+. I personally love G+, it is filled with smart features and the conversation is always way more intelligent (at least within my circles), not to mention the hangout o n air feature which has helped open a new chapter in my efforts. However, I don’t want Facebook to fail and G+ be the other major social network, for reasons that I have mentioned previously in my blog. Monopoly is not good for anyone, whether is Facebook, Google or Facegoo+

    1. Never said I was going to spend time on G+. I am sure you have great conversations on G+ with smart folks, but what’s your ROI there Sherry?

      Yes, I can be a softy at times. ;-)

      1. I will know in a few months, after a few rounds of the weekly workshops. Besides, I mainly use G+ to get food for thought, Facebook to me has become quite boring, but there’s always something thought-provoking on G+. I have had the most reward for business purposes from Twitter, I love Twitter.

      2. A lot of social media can be boring, but if you use it for marketing, that is no consideration. Heck working in an office is boring, but you still have to do it and do your best. I choose to be where the users are that deliver the biggest bang for time invested and achieve actual results. For me/us that is Twitter and Facebook. :-)

  6. I don’t get the reason why you hate G+, BundlePost !

    You don’t like privacy FB policy and tools, did you really try to have a look

    at G+ privacy tools ?
    1 – Settings are very simple to understand and use
    2 – controlling to who you share is so basicly easy : you just select the target circles
    3 – Data Liberation Front allows you to any time retrieve and/or erase any of your data for any of google service. Which leads to the second part of the question :

    at Google global privacy policy ?
    having unified the privacy policy/tools/settings of all of google services is a huge help for users (and proof of hearing of users requests) : we don’t have to set up things for maps, then for search, then for youtube, then for picasa, then docs/drive, etc … We just have a powerful and intuitive tools top run all of them.
    It is better for us because it is SIMPLE though (and together with) being spread in a lot of services.

    Did you ever try a Hang out ? A Public Hang Out on Air ?
    You would then understand how no contest this feature is compared to FB features.
    You would also understand the way engagement is build there : strongly.

    Well, it’s ok to know that your colleague’s neighbour’s nephew has eaten a sausage 5 minutes ago, but is this engagement ?
    On Google+, you don’t mainly (even if you of course can) get news from people you somehow know IRL, what they are doing or what they photo’d/video’d/saw on the web !
    You mainly have the twitter level of interest (for example a lot of intern searches for hashtag, or built-to-follow-hashtag streams), but you have the time/number of words to clearly express yourself and get your point made out. You have also the possibility to include any hashtag about it, not just the ones 140 signs allow you to gather your words, your link even shortened, and your hashtags.
    Just go read some G+ posts and please unbiasedly compare.
    Please do this real try. You may stop hating G+ for unclear (reasons by the way).

    Of course all of us, including the hottest fans, are too lazy to paste our social graph already designed in FB towards another network.
    So it’s highly understandable we don’t.
    But we often already are on YouTube. Or on Gmail. Or on Picasa. And we very often search on Google Search or on Google Maps. Just to mention the most popular end services. Then you can add mid term service Chrome and bottom services like android, chrome (and eventually even products like Nexus phone or pad).

    So these are the user base components to paste on G+ ! And google makes it everyday easier to do so.
    Just forget about your “ghost town” thing. Google+ user base IS google user base, or more accurately IS MORE AND MORE DAY AFTER DAY and will very soon definitely be.
    So get a consistent social graph will be quick, simple, easy, and not at all be as tiring as just pasting the one we’ve already built in FB. Way far from !

    I still have my Facebook account on. But typically, I just share links to some of my G+ contributions (posts, pix or Hang Outs).

    1. Yikes!! Now there’s a book.

      Feel free to read my many posts about Google and my dislike for them as a company. Privacy settings aren’t the issue for me. Privacy POLICY is…

  7. Robert, For all the reasons you mention and more, I all but quit using Facebook months ago. However, if people are content frittering away their time on the trivial pursuits that are Facebook, privacy and respect won’t motivate them to change anything. Bread and circuses. Good for Facebook, bad for everything else.

    1. I agree with your decision if your target audience is not on Facebook, or you don’t use social media for marketing. If they are and you do, then I would suggest you not cut off your nose to spite your face. (no pun intended).

      In social media marketing, you must have a presence where your target market is. It’s not about you or your like/dislike for a platform, but rather what and where your target audience are into.

      My two cents…

  8. Great post, Robert. In fact, I was going to write something pretty much along these lines but my editorial calendar was pretty full this week so I figured I’d move onto other priorities.
    That said, I was flabbergasted by this recent move to change everybody’s address to @facebook.com and I have shared this info across my network, just like I will share your post. Will Facebook care? Most likely not. But I am certainly keen on putting more efforts on my Google+ presence, hoping that platform will eventually give FB a run for its money… ;-)

    Cheers from Quebec City,

  9. Hello Robert,

    I have been saying for more than a year and a half that FB would be the next MySpace. A network that doesn’t care about its users cannot survive.

    As far as Google+ is concerned, its success has nothing to do with FB’s blunders. It’s a very different platform that caters to a different audience. The engagement is not as big, but is of quality, unlike what I keep seeing on FB.

    People who are reluctant to join G+ will never really do anything there. Which is a good thing, because I want to continue seeing quality posts.

  10. Personally, I don’t see Facebook and G+ as an either/or decision. They both have their place and ‘purpose’. Facebook was started on a friend/classmate foundation, and that’s basically still at it’s core…friends and family. You mostly connect with people you already know. G+ is more discovery, meeting new people with similar interest, connecting with colleagues, and being exposed to more of the world outside of friends and family.

    Even though fb pisses people off quite frequently, I don’t see any mass exodus anytime soon. Too many people are hooked and fb is a big part of their lives. On the other hand, I do see more and more people becoming active on G+, because they see it’s value, not so much because they got mad at fb and ‘jumped teams’.

    I spend some time on both, fb for friends and family, G+ for a more ‘professional’ environment, not cluttered with so much trivial mumbo jumbo.

    Regarding ROI, if you are only on either just as a business investment, fb is probably the place to be RIGHT NOW, mainly through advertising, promoted post etc, but G+ can’t be ignored, as it begins to play a more important role in SERP results, in the FUTURE.

    1. If we were discussing Twitter and FB I would agree. However, G+ was designed to be and IS a direct competition to Facebook. Without mass market appeal it can’t sustain Google as a company. The challenge is that the masses won’t switch OR spend any amount of time there to ever achieve that, baring Facebook continuing to piss off those same masses. There is a tipping point and Facebook is walking a thin line over the next 12 months.

      All my humble opinions

      1. IMHO, maybe indirect competition, direct? no. I think G+ is doing exactly what G wants it to do, and it’s here to stay. It’s not supposed to sustain G, they don’t need it to. It’s purpose is to gather social intelligence data, and pull that into making the search results based more on social, than on the link graph.

        I’m sure they may take some pleasure in delivering a good punch in the face to Facebook, but I don’t think they are expecting a KO blow.

  11. I am spending more time on Twitter and Google Plus, As a photographer i find more sharing of my work and for several years of being on Facebook I never touched close to the amount of followers I have on G Plus which is closing in on 22,000.

  12. Great discussion you started here Robert! Here is my take …. Facebook you stick with a social platform for Family and Friends …. Google+ you stick with just Business platforms.

    But for me….. I only need LinkedIn … sorry, but I’m a huge fan of that platform that simply goes under the radar while everyone is having issues with Facebook and can’t make up their mind about Google+

    I’ve been using LinkedIn heavily for my business for 3 years now. I can’t even imagine leaving that platform, nor will I as that is where my clients, customers, partners and companies I want to connect with hang out and actually do business!

    1. Here’s the problem… Google is integrating G+ into search and everything else. One of two things will happen. The average user will get pissed and use another search engine (as I have) or it will remain business focused and be a huge downfall for Google.

      Linkedin is a given and should be used by all business people.

      Facebook will only defeat itself.

  13. great post!
    I have a few questions:
    1. where those leaders (followed by ‘their people’) will go in case they are tired of Facebook? There is no other platform large like FB at this moment
    2. Who cares what Facebook or Google do? privacy issues, changes, constant invigilation – of there is a group of people who cares, who are closer to how everything is build but even bigger group of users – are people who care about interaction with their friends/family/etc. and they are not really into Facebook background activities (people who set their privacy settings once and that’s it)
    3. I think the question is what the majority of users want? and so far they want Facebook ;)

    I like the “Stop messing with your users privacy” advice or I should say: “stop messing with your users”

  14. Interesting stuff.
    I don’t agree that they are direct competitors, hence the reason that there hasn’t been a mass exodus from FB to G+
    Many of my friends opened a G+ account and then immediatley started to compare with FB. Complaining that there wasn’t a like button, the colour scheme, the lack of activity, the lack of groups…..etc etc all reasons that I considered to be irrelevant. No one complained about privacy settings directly although, like yourself Brundlepost, two of my friends who are heavily committed and subscribed to the Apple way of doing things didn’t like it simply because it is a google product and as such they had no desire to try it.
    I think that Googles only error that they made with G+ was they launched it a little too early. If it were launched today with the features that it has now AND it was marketed in such a way that it couldn’t be portrayed as a FB alternative, then I think the take up rate would have been significantly better.
    Here in the UK, it’s not “cool” to be associated with G+ The reason being is that most people do not know enough about it to be able to form a coherent opinion and as a result G+ is deemed problematic, barren, pointless and a failed social experiment conducted by “Big Brother”
    Facebook will eventually see a decline in popularity and traffic, it’s natural. They won’t fail, it won’t suddenly cease to exist and any big shifts in their business model will have nothing to do with G+. They are poles apart, they both serve a purpose and they both do it very well. It’s the users that “dabble” in G+ and spend the time looking for faults that make it difficult by imagining a war that just doesn’t exist in the FB and Google + Boardrooms :D
    Incidentally, I found this blog on G+ then decided to sign in with my twitter account ;o) Ironic huh?!

  15. What’s funny is that Facebook has done this since day one. Sure, might tick off some of the user base but the rest really don’t care. We adapt and move on.

  16. LOVE this! I totally agree! I don’t use any sites that require FB plugin logins because I know what and how much data is transferred in the process.

    I’ve written about FB’s arrogance (it’s totally arrogance, not stupidity – ha!) and how it’ll be its downfall. At some point, people will finally say “enough is enough!” Great post, Robert!

    1. I think you’re right Liz. Unfortunately, with Arrogance comes stupidity. Look at Apple and their rapid leak of market share to Android. There is no place for arrogance in business. Especially when you are out in front.

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