Google Plus is obviously still in testing mode, despite its impressive growth. But if the search-engine giant really wants to up the ante in its competition with Facebook, here are seven features the veteran social network boasts that are not yet offered by the newcomer.
Yes, Google is commonly referred to as the search-engine giant (see above), but so far, only other users are searchable within Google Plus, but on Facebook, all public content is searchable.
So, let’s say you want to find reactions to a breaking news story. You can do that on Facebook, while right now, it’s not possible on Google Plus. That’s pretty ironic.
Application Programming Interface
Right now, Google Plus does not play well with other applications. For example, foursquare users can have their check-ins automatically appear on Facebook, but there is no way to accomplish this on Google Plus. Google is obviously working on releasing an API, but it’s not there yet.
Moving past the controversy created when Google did not outline its brand page policy for Google Plus, causing companies and organizations to create pages that were subsequently deleted — from a user standpoint, some of the information shared by brands on their Facebook pages is actually of interest and useful. It’s not all, “Please buy our product.” Google must clarify its policies on brand pages sooner, rather than later.
While users probably don’t miss ads on Google Plus at all — especially the targeted ads that appear in the Facebook sidebar, which often focus on one word a user types in a status report, and then deliver ads for products they have zero interest in — revenue is revenue, and Google is missing out on some serious revenue, with Google Plus approaching 20 million users.
Not running ads during the trial period is understandable, and seeing them appear when Google Plus “officially debuts” would not be a surprise. But if they don’t appear when the site moves out of beta, well, that would be interesting.
Although photo tagging has been known to raise privacy concerns, it is also the most efficient way to let friends and contacts know when they appear in users’ photos. Overall, the interface to download and organize photos in Google Plus is well organized and easy to use, but the lack of tagging is a glaring omission, thus far.
It is pretty much a given that Google is working on a gaming platform, and that it will attempt to lure game developers that are unhappy with Facebook’s terms, but it’s not here yet, leaving fans of Farmville, Scrabble, and the like dependent on Facebook, for the time being.
Events and Birthdays
As of now, Google Plus does not offer the ability to organize events, while the feature is widely used on Facebook, albeit sometimes not wisely. Events are social, and should be part of a social network. In addition, the percentage of Facebook users who have avoided awkward conversations due to Facebook’s birthday reminders on its homepage must be staggering. Yet not only does Google Plus have no matching feature — birthdays aren’t even part of users’ Google Plus profiles. While this is certainly a minor issue and no reason to quit Google Plus, it’s also an oversight that should be attended to.
Readers: Can you think of any other Facebook features aren’t yet offered by Google Plus?