It was bound to happen eventually.
Google has been trying to develop a viable Facebook alternative for years now, and it looks as though they may have managed it. First Google Wave and then Google Buzz launched then faltered, but the recent introduction of Google Plus might provide Facebook users with an actual choice.
From his listening post in the Gadget Lab at Wired.com, Charlie Sorrel shares his perspective; “It has been said that the biggest feature of Google Plus is that it’s not Facebook. However, there’s another feature that may be of interest to all you Gadget Lab photo nerds out there; the photo integration. It turns out that G+ is a pretty sweet way to manage and view your shared photos.”
It only makes sense that Google’s most aggressive attempt to unseat Facebook will include a Google photo site with some substantial improvements over Facebook’s version. The improvements by themselves seem pretty small, but when you consider the cumulative effect of these four advancements, it becomes clear that Facebook might have something to worry about. For instance;
Google Plus Photo Albums Load Quicker and Easier
I always like it when I can do the same job using less keystrokes. Consequently, I like uploading photos to Google Plus since I don’t have to toggle or configure the photo before I post it. It seems like a little thing, but new grandparents and old soccer coaches will appreciate how two keystrokes per picture can make a difference when you’re uploading 150 or 200 pics.
You Can Upload Instantly and Sort Later
If you’re lucky enough to own an Android, you will be able to upload photos instantly to your Google Plus gallery from your phone. If you don’t want to immediately decide who gets to see what, you could load them into a private album for sorting later on. If you own an iPhone or a Blackberry, you will be able to enjoy this option as soon as Google develops the corresponding apps for those phones.
Both my son Justin and my friend Vinny have Androids, and they both think they’re great. Justin in particular has been slowly educating me about the advantages of his Android over my iPhone, and I believe my next phone will be an Android. As a result, it doesn’t bug me too much that Google is taking it’s time in developing the iPhone app.
Google Plus Photo Displays Look Better
When my friend Vinny uploaded pictures from a 4th of July fireworks show onto Google Plus, he was very pleased at the results. Google can handle high resolution images – up to 2,048 pixels – so nothing was lost in the translation.
It turns out that, thanks to Google’s increased resolution, oversized thumbnails and remarkably elegant lightbox view, Google Plus’s display capabilities often exceed the standards of some professional photography websites. So, whether you’re perfecting pet pictures with your Android or dabbling in infrared photography with a digital camera, your Google Plus photo galleries will make you look like a pro.
Google Gives You More Control Over Who Sees Your Photos
On Facebook when you “friend” someone, you pretty much assume that one friend will be just as interested as another friend in your thoughts, photos and “likes”. Google, however, gives you the options of putting your friends into circles, which is more in line with the way we manage “friends” in real life.
While your “friends” from high school might get a kick out of the pictures from your last Halloween party, the guys at the office might not want or need that much information. The new Google Plus photo sharing Circles will help you make more responsible decisions about who gets to see you in the Batman suit.
Is It Time to “Unfriend” Facebook?
While Google has accomplished great things with their Google Plus photo sharing, I would hesitate to declare a winner in the current scuffle. David Seaman from BusinessInsider.com agrees, saying that Google Plus “… will be a huge success, and Facebook is in trouble – although by no means obsolete.”
It’s likely that Google’s new gadgets will attract a whole spectrum of picture posters, from tweens with cell phones to pros with digital infrared cameras. It’s just as likely, though, that Facebook will then respond with better gadgets and more privacy controls.
It’s too early to tell if Google Plus will be a serious competitor to Facebook two or three years from now. One thing we can be reasonably sure of, however, is that watching these two virtual heavyweights duke it out will a pretty good show, regardless of the outcome.
About the Author:
James Martell is well known as an affiliate marketing specialist in outsourcing and SEO. He is a sought after speaker, affiliate marketing trainer and podcaster. James is host of the longest running affiliate marketing podcast on WebmasterRadio.FM (since 2003), and creator of the Affiliate Marketers “SUPER BootCamp”, where he teaches others how to make money with affiliate programs. James lives in White Rock BC, a seaside suburb of Vancouver on west coast of Canada with his wife, Arlene and their 4 kids.