With all the hype surrounding Google+, two weeks ago I surmised that we were looking at short term excitement and that Facebook already had the same Circles concepts, just hidden and that they would change that to eliminate Google+’s only edge. As stated:

Facebook will revamp the user interface to interact with ‘lists’ which they’ll likely rebrand as well to make it something with a more catchy name and of course they’ll be able to grab headlines for a few days with this. Since Facebook already dominates this market once they turn this switch on there’s very little reason for anyone to use Google+. There just aren’t enough users currently and to convince people to switch just to be hip isn’t going to cut it.

How far away is this? No idea but I presume that Facebook would be pretty close on this one and would likely want to ensure that what they release is polished and not a beta and they’ll likely want to hit the market with updates to their mobile apps at the same time to ensure an effective blow.

And done. Today Facebook announced a series of improvements to their website that impact a lot of control and privacy features, and included in this bundle is a quick way to control who you are sharing information with (just like Circles). Generally, what they did is take features they had and were hidden and made them inline to clean up the way it’s viewed and make it far more obvious and easy to use. So you can control who can see your profile, approve getting tagged in a photo before it appears in your profile and of course, sharing controls. “The control for who can see each post will be right inline. For each audience, there is now an icon and label to help make it easier to understand and decide who you’re sharing with.”

Here’s a little video for those of you who are into visuals:

The web page updates are be released over the next few days. They’ll need to update mobile apps as well to integrate this but again, I wouldn’t expect this to be too far off.

OK glad this whole Google+ thing is done so the five people I know who use it (but are as vocal as 50) can finally get in line and just use Facebook again like everyone else.

via WinSuperSite


  1. I tell you people were talking about Google+ like it was this innovation that changed the game. Darn fools. Yes now we can now all return to our lives without the irritating invites and articles on how to maximize Google+ for business.

  2. @Doug Simmons: Of course I would. But MS learned their lesson here already and I think they are staying clear of competing with any of these services directly. Rather, they want to aggregate your social services thus getting the benefit of all that data without all of the work to actually create a new social network. I see that more in line with them and then adding social services as a layer to existing ones (like adding Skype to Facebook or aggregating in Outlook or with Live srevices).

  3. Whatever this circle thing is, that Google+ had some appealing feature which you say was its edge against Facebook and now that Facebook just made a circle thing in response as well as more privacy stuff Google+’s edge has been nullified so that’s the end of that, not so sure you’re right.

    Another edge of Google+ is that Google does, whereas Facebook doesn’t, a whole lot of other things used by quite a few people and they’re tying in Google+ to those services and those services into Google+. There may even be other features and traits of G+ that Facebook hasn’t implemented [yet]. So this huge expose right here about this circle stuff, as a fan of Google I’m not too worried.

    By the way, is it just me or are you people displacing the amount of Windows Phone 7 stuff you talk about with Windows 8? Starting to see the writing on the wall with WP and moving on to hoping that the next big thing (versus, say, Nokia and Mango and more Katy Perry concerts) will get consumers to buy the same telephones as you? Giving up already? Writing this thing off only eleven or so months in?

    Oh, congrats on the fruity tile patent.

  4. @Doug Simmons: Well that’s just the thing, ain’t it? For once, MS didn’t just make up their own knockoff of something, they threw money toward the front runner, erm, invested in Facebook and have built connections from their existing services to it. Isn’t that what you want them to do more of? At least, that’s what you think they should do with WP, no?

    Again, I may be an idiot about a number of things, but I’d like to think I’m fairly sensible when it comes to bigger picture items. Google+’s presence makes Facebook better. So Google, continue to push Facebook’s hand with this and in turn, I’ll sign in once every 3 weeks so that you’ll have fresh data to mine and sell to companies. It’s a fair trade and everyone wins.

  5. “I wonder if you’d have a different take on it if it were Microsoft’s service.”

    Considering that Microsoft is part owner of Facebook, it is their service. For what it’s worth, Facebook and Twitter are still growing at incredible rates, in spite of Google+

  6. What circle thing in facebook you guys are talking about??? I don’t see any difference as a result what facebook did.. I mean I always post stuff on my wall to friends, never public.. why would I?
    What I want is to be able to categorize my friends (family, co-workers, buddies etc.) and then post something that only a specific category of friends can see. As long as Fb doesn’t do that, it’s still the same.. and NO, I don’t want to open a Google+ account!!!!

  7. @Vince: You can. You can do it now and the update makes it easier to find. From: http://mobilitydigest.com/facebook-will-cut-googles-legs-off/
    “The ability to share with as many or few as you choose and not just share with all. What some of you know is that Facebook already has this ability – it’s called Lists. If you go to your friends then on the top right you’ll see ‘manage my lists’ and you can make ‘circles’ within Facebook.” In the update if you go to custom you can make ‘lists’ that are the same as circles.

  8. What they should do is fix their slow upload program.. it takes forever to upload pictures… even typing becomes a problem if you type too fast. Their input box control sucks.

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