This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Differences between Google+ and Facebook

I've been spending a lot of time on Google+. I've created a page for myself and four other pages, a couple for my hobbies, Historic Images of Phoenix and Brad's Tropical Paradise, and two that relate to my business, Cartoon Illustrations by Brad and Caricatures for Special Events by Brad. My goal here is to become familiar with this new interface, both for my own satisfaction, and so that I can advise my clients as to its value.

What is most interesting to me is that while Facebook and Google+ are structured differently, Google+ has been designed to be used a certain way and Facebook hasn't. Please let me explain.

Structurally, Facebook is based on *Walls*. Everyone has a wall, and theoretically, people go and write on your wall. But I was talking to a friend the other day who made me realize that most people who use Facebook don't do this, even though that is how it was designed. If it surprises you too, it's because, like most people, you don't realize how Facebook was originally designed. And that's why adapting it to how people do use it over the years has been so difficult for Facebook.

The way that people actually use Facebook is that they write on their own walls mostly, and hope to get a response from a friend who sees it. You can, and I do, go over to someone's wall and write something there, such as *happy birthday, Mikey!*. But very few people do this. So, in addition to the wall, Facebook includes an ability to message people directly and privately. And there are other parts of Facebook that allow you to do other things, but even though I've used Facebook for years, I really can't figure out where they put all this stuff. And then there is the issue of privacy, which means that most people lock down their information, posts and photos, to only people who already know them.

Google+ has been watching this, and have simplified their interface. Really the only thing that you need to look at is your *stream*, which is the equivalent of News Feed in Facebook. You can't write on someone else's stream, so you write on yours, and make comments on what other people have posted. All in one place - the stream. And they have solved the problem of privacy, by creating *Circles*. Circles are people that you want to communicate with which you place in *friends* , *family*, *business contacts* or whatever you want. When you post something to your stream, you select right then and there, who will see it. And you can check what people are seeing by selecting *View Profile as* on your profile page. You can see what your posts look like to the public (if you choose to post publicly), or to anyone in your circles.

As of this writing, Google+ is still a little glitchy, so I can't recommend that you jump in just yet if that kind of stuff makes you nervous. There are still error messages that pop up, and last night it was unable to upload photos for a while. I'm a regular give of feedback, so hopefully they will be reading the stuff I send and get the interface to work flawlessly.

And when they do, it will work better than Facebook, because it was designed to work that way, not adapted.