I’d be remiss and frankly lying if I told you that Google+ means nothing to Facebook. It does. In fact, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg just recently set up a profile through the service to check it out.
But, from the looks of it, he doesn’t like it. And for good reason. Google+ is, in many ways, competing with Facebook. But whereas Facebook emphasizes that updates and information be sent out to all of your friends, Google+, on the other hand, wants users to share in different groups. Want to let your close friends at home in your wild night while insuring that your parents are in the dark about the details? Not a problem. Google+ lets you set up a group with your close friends, and share messages, pictures and other information on your most likely deplorable actions.
And while Facebook has certainly tried doing this before with Facebook Groups, Google is banking on the fact that Facebook’s previously failed efforts in ‘grouping’ will translate to droves of people picking up Google+ for all of their group-based sharing.
They are also hoping that with features like Huddle, something that allows you to message entire groups of friends, users will be more inclined to utilize Google+ as opposed to Facebook or other alternatives, as a way to connect and meet up with friends.
But ultimately, Google+ doesn’t seem to be aiming to replace Facebook. Instead, it looks to be forming closer connections between users and the people they care about. Whereas Facebook is, in many ways, a place where people can scream from the highest mountains to many of their close and not so close acquaintances, Google+ seeks to create a community where intimacy between users thrives, and people are consistently sharing information that is both interesting and relevant to others.
Still, Google+ has an exceptionally high barrier to climb before it’s even accepted as a decent alternative to Facebook. Even a massive company like Google can’t expect everyone on Facebook to jump ship, regardless of how well executed their solution is.
Will Google+ become the next juggernaut in social networking? It’s hard to say. But, if early previews of the service are any indication, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.