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Facebook remains a behemoth, but G+ has actually succeeded in exploiting a couple weaknesses of FB that I didn't really notice until an alternative was presented:

1. Poor handling of friend lists - Facebook originally had far more fine-grained controls - you could post on a friend's wall and not have it sent to all your friends, for instance. They tried to bring this back with friend lists, but these are harder to create once you have a high volume of friends.

2. Friend decay - In the real world, friends come and go depending on our location, job, hobbies etc. On Facebook, they stick around forever. Google+ doesn't have a friend decay feature, but benefits from being a "fresh start" for our most recent friend groups.

3. Confusing privacy controls - Sometimes I don't even fully understand Facebook's privacy controls. Google+ is pretty simple - create a group, share only to that group.

4. Facebook groups - In theory these should render Google+ Circles useless, but Facebook groups removes control from the user - I've been added to tons of groups I don't want to be part of and spend a lot of time trying to remove myself.

Ultimately I hope that Facebook pays attention and improves its own services -- that'll be great for consumers.
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Friend decay is especially a great point. Absolutely right.
I prefer G+ in general anyway. FB is tired, awkward and over-cluttered. I do think you've highlighted good points here.
google plus seems to have the crowd sourcing advantage and seems to be paying attention.
Over all I think FB feels a pressure to force more and more of our content public to compete with Twitter, which has resulted in less control for the user.
Also like the friend decay thought - but also think that like w/Path, it seems that G+ has a much nicer way of "unfriending" via Circles which makes it less of an overt social statement than Facebook +Dave Morin
Google+ could simply add an option to Circles: "Make group" and everybody can see who's in it. Or "Make public group" and everybody can join.
The thing that worries me is that now that facebook is finally getting some real pressure, they might actually make a site worth using
Competition between G+ and FB will only lead to both becoming better products, and FB becoming more responsive to consumers.
Yes, also when it comes to Iphone and Ipad apps Facebook is really behind... especially when Google plus will launch their Iphone App
Friend Decay is a strong point. Facebook was the jumping off point. I think + is just evolution.
I couldn't agree more. Facebook has done way too many mistakes to just walk out like nothing ever happened.
The scary thing is... I have a huge feeling Facebook will once again do an overhaul just to compensate for the growing threat of G+ to it.

When Zuckerberg was threatened by the fast growth of Twitter, he attempted to "Twitterize" Facebook, forcing users to publicize as much of their status updates as possible. It was a mess, but eventually, Facebook got over its insecurities of Twitter.

If Facebook once again irresponsibly attempts to change its interface to adapt to the new demands of users upon the rise of G+, it will lead to the users being alienated once again.
+Jason Tippitt hey, I know you! :-) +1 The group thing on FB is horrible, being added to groups against your will and then having to undo it all. Events are mostly all spam and not events at all. I cannot stand that FB opts me into these things and I have to extricate out. I hope to never see groups or events or invitations to anything on G+.
Great point, Jett. I remember when Facebook was "Twitterized" and I didn't like it at all. Almost made me want to spend more time on Twitter, validating it as a great platform.
Facebook can simply make friend lists more visible and match the Google+ Circles feature, won't hurt anyone.
G+ is new and FB seems old and tired, but have social networks really reached that level of authenticity?
I'm loving the way I can share photos from Picasa only with certain circles. Now my photos aren't isolated on the Facebook island, but integrated into my whole photo "system." I'm also liking the refresh of my friend list. All good.
Agreed on the "friend decay" concept. And to make it work better, youd also want a "rekindle relationship" reminder.

That is, once in a while I'd appreciate a poke from my comms system saying, "You've periodically had concentrated positive interactions with Person X, but you haven't pinged them in a while -- want to see what they're up to and maybe give them a poke?"

That would allow me to feel comfortable with an aggressively decaying social graph. If I'm not interacting with someone, make them fade away fairly quickly... but poke me again when they have a major life change or it's been a long while. (But, of course, let me say "No thanks" if I don't want any more reminders -- e.g., for an ex. :) ) 
I agree with you, Helen. No matter what they say about Circles , it's quite intuitive for me. I like how you can quickly sort through the stream just by clicking on a specific circle from the left sidebar of G+.

And I'm pretty sure the G+ team will further polish up the usability of Circles and I'm looking forward to the developments!
I'm surprised at +Dieter Schwarz's comment — the lack of event scheduling is one of the few things that Facebook does easily and Google+ doesn't.

But I definitely agree with +Pete Cashmore's closing sentiment. I run a .Net development team in my day job and the virtuous circle between C# and Java, feeding into each other has always struck me as A Very Good Thing™. I would love for Google+ and Facebook to provide that feedback loop to each other — that could only be to the benefit of everyone.
+Jason Tippitt [nods] You nail it with the use of "stalking". Somebody suggested using circles in some kind of two way fashion. If there was a closed circle for the Phils say (why did that leap to mind :p ), I'd happily join. Everybody shares with each other.

People promoting "groups" would be fine. Signing me up for them or giving me an inbox where I have to sift through endless junk just to maintain is what I never want to see. Hopefully "groups" would develop like that here although please don't call them groups. :)
+Jett I agree that FB will likely do an overhaul to handle the threat from Google+. Much of their new newsfeed stuff was a reaction to Twitter, and made sure that existing FB users had no reason to switch. Facebook are smart, and will likely use this as a learning exercise in figuring out what they can improve upon.
+Jason Tippitt Affiliate, ha. If this is some attempt to get me to sell Amway for you, hit me up re that with a snookering "Event" on FB. :p
Agreed with all your points pete!
+Pete Cashmore I hope that takes them long enough so I can bring all my friends here. I like it better hehe
I've said it before, I'll say it again. Privacy Control: Google+ has it, Facebook doesn't. Game over.
True. Ultimately, Facebook has both the advantage and disadvantage of having millions of users on their side. They have the upper hand in this simply because the underlying goal is to keep users from switching.

But similarly, due to the huge number of users, Facebook should tread lightly on executing another major overhaul. They were under fire countless times for not informing users of sudden UI changes. I, myself, am ready to move out of FB because of this lack of responsibility from their part.

But as you said, +Pete Cashmore, Facebook has had years of successful experience in the social networking game. Who knows they'll play their cards right this time?
Let's be honest - there is no such thing as privacy. Doesn't matter how many controls you put into place, all it takes is a few drinks, a disgruntled frenemy, a clueless newbie... If you don't want it public, don't post it anywhere. The internet is the permanent record your parents warned you about
Plus has events via calendar. All they news to do is add a way to invite circles.

Hangouts are going to make workplace virtual meetings far more interesting than WebEx teleconferences. 
Amen to the point about Facebook Groups. That is particularly annoying. I get tons of email about groups I don't want to be in, don't care to hear about and have a hard time removing myself from all of them. Ugh.
Yeah, it would be awesome once all Google services are integrated seamlessly. A Google+ and Google Calendar sync would be golden!
+Pete Cashmore - Don't forget about downloadable data! You click on your name in the top right of your screen and it brings you to Google Accounts. From there you mouse down to data.
I personally don't see the point to putting G+ to fight with Fb. Let G+ find its own niche and just watch it grow.
Not sure if I'm keen on the reshare feature of limited circle posts - doesn't that defeat the purpose of having a private post?

Whatever, they're on the right track with this... just a few tweaks!
Does Facebook have an operating system? Google has two that we know of. Integrate all of Google's apps and services and wonder if Microsoft is going to be forced to buy facebook.
I have to agree with you there Antonio. Technically to be called competition you have to offer the same "exact" service but G+ is beyond FB so at most they are opposition. However, G+ doesn't really need to compare itself to anyone else because it has enough to stand alone on its own two feet while still in development. Besides FB is doing enough on its own to create dissatisfaction by not allowing G+ advertising or allowing G+ users to take their friends emails to G+ (because an app was disabled by FB) when those emails belong to the user and not the company so users should be able to do what they want with their own data.
+mik m - from what i understand based on the facebook announcement, zuckerberg created the video chat service so his neighbour can talk to his grandson. :) (a literal interpretation of his presentation)
I don't fully agree with what I read above from Pete.....I feel that i do have a lot of control on facebook, true, not 100% but at leat 98%. I don't have the problems you are describing Pete
+pete cashmore+ I don't fully agree either, and between skype and facetime, my videochat needs are taken care of nicely. I understand the ins and outs of this whole thing quite well. What no one has been able to explain is WHY i need a third service to post my bullshit on. That, and Facebook and Twitter integrate so well that it's virtually seamless.
I'm pretty sure G+ will grow on its own. Google is on the right track with Google+ and they have this battalion of people from the Tech community who's been very supportive and responsive all the way!

Whether or not it blossoms to gaining its own successful niche, I still have a feeling Facebook will keep hounding on its tail.

Facebook is stubborn that way. It's proven itself to be one through the years. But I agree with +YungJun that Facebook is already creating enough dissatisfaction for itself that there are huge chances for Google+ to succeed this social networking race.
I agree this could force FB to respond to these weaknesses they didn't have to respond to because there was no competition.
You're not alone. Netpop Research found that 80% of Facebook users don't trust the site. Tough metric when CRM/relational businesses rely on trust. Download our report for free: "Trust is Social Currency, the final report in the Netpop | Connect series, examines how users of Facebook, Twitter and other major social sites feel about the privacy of their personal information. It also examines the impact of privacy concerns and distrust on perceptions of social brands."
+Marie Almstrom and +Christa Marzan - privacy issue for example is like if you play games on FB. To play those games you have to allow 3rd party consent and they are allowed total access to you if you stop and read whereas you don't get full disclosure of them. If you don't play games on FB then you are safe there. Also FB just recently (as in maybe at least a few months ago) updated their browsing to enable a "more secure" web browsing experience. They have an two browsing experiences: Turn off secure browsing?

*We can't display this content while you're viewing Facebook over a secure connection (https).
Would you like to temporarily switch to a regular connection (http) to use this app?
You will have a secure connection upon your next login.* Now you tell me what is wrong with that picture? Shouldn't you have secure browsing all the time like when you are on a bank's web page for example? Google+ uses the most secure browser setting to begin with. If you forget to log back in after leaving the unsecure browser then your privacy is more vulnerable. +Pete Cashmore you or your crew should maybe touch on that a bit more?
Really Josh, just like on facebook somebody wants us to click on a link, how do I know that link can be trusted??????? Google+ can easily become another facebook in all aspects...there can be untrustworthy people sending us virus just as easily
Thanks +Pete Cashmore this is great analysis that gets to the point. I like the idea of 'Friend Decay' Google + is unburdened of the word 'friend' and has the flexibility and ease of use that is Circles. The people it will ultimately attract are as you said some who want a fresh start and others who never adopted Facebook or who are on Facebook but never really used with any great commitment. The latter category I would put myself in.
I also LOVE that I can edit my comments after posting them! and the Hangout kicks butt over Skye
We cannot play the games on secure browsing, true, but if your not gaming, then you have nothing to worry about, you can stay in the secure setting!!!!!!
I don't like that I can't hide posts of a woman being punched in the face or getting slapped in the ass then a pie in the face over and over again...........there is no option here for that
Thank you Andrea, didn't know mute meant the same as hide
+YungJun Yang +Marie Almstrom +Pete Cashmore Yung,jun, i get what you're saying, and am very interested in the privacy issues for no other reason than it seems to be a sore spot for everyone. The impression i took away - and i could be very wrong - is that 'circles" enables you to share with a small group of people rather than posting publicly on your wall. Ideally, you can post your drunken pics from vegas with your circle of frat brothers, but not your mom. But in the real world, all it takes is one of those frat bothers to share a pic - anywhere - and whatever privacy you imagined you had is over. all it takes is a print-screen key combo.

In +Pete Cashmore addressed PB friends list info as being poor, and perhaps it is. I have in several private groups on FB - one is even listed as "secret", and you can't find it anywhere, nor can you forward posts from it. The beauty is these lists show up in my regular FB feed, but responding to them WON'T. Comments and responses will only show up in the lists. To me, this is better than what G+ is offering (and still not foolproof, mind you. drunken friends with print-screen buttons exist everywhere)

Having been a 14 year old girl at one point in my life, i know for an absolute fact that if you don't want anyone else to know something, don't tell anyone. Or only tell people you can trust. But never, ever write it in a note.
+YungJun Wan: To be fair to Facebook, they are rolling out a requirement (by 1 October 2011) that all application developers must support HTTPS for their applications. Thankfully (from the point of view of someone who builds applications on Facebook on behalf of clients of my employers), that's something they've given the development community some notice of, so we can inform our clients and make sure we can procure an SSL certificate for them, roll it out and test to make sure there are no bugs in our code that hard-code non-SSL links.
when I am on facebook, I only publish to the people I want to see certain posts.....that is not a problem.....I created different lists to put people in and then I can select which list I want to see a post. For example: all gamers on a gamers list, they are the only one's who see my gaming posts...etc I don't see a problem there either.
To protect against viruses that is something YOU the consumer must do and have a good antivirus/malware/spyware protector(s). There are hackers/identity thieves everywhere and to fully protect against that, you would have to stay off a computer 100% and not have a smartphone neither. Google or FB isn't responsible to protect you from 100% viruses but what they are responsible for is protecting to the best of their ability and FB isn't doing that where Google is. If you want help on seeing how trustworthy a link is for example on Chrome or Firefox (as I do not use IE unless I absolutely have to) I have an add on called WOT - Web of Trust and it gives me rating on websites/pics before I even click. Red is bad, Yellow is caution, Grey is neutral (or not yet rated) and Green is good. Links that people post anywhere whether it's here or Facebook I see those ratings. If it's gray I have to decide whether to trust it or not unless it's a site I already know but hasn't really been rated and if it turns out to be a bad one then I have my PC protection which for me is malwarebytes for malware/spyware which actively runs while I am browsing so immediately things get blocked and you have to pay for that feature but it's relatively small in comparison to say getting your computer totally ruined and I also personally choose Eset NOD32 for my antivirus but there are other good ones too. Then I use Comodo Firewall personally. These programs stop the virus from spreading and if it doesn't automatically eradicate them, I just have to run my scan and then just delete where the files are quarantined at and my computer keeps running great. I won't elaborate much more into that but going online is as much of a risk as driving your car and hoping you don't crash or get crashed into or get a speeding ticket. That risk is always there just like there will always be a risk of getting a virus/hacked. Some risks are bigger than others depending on how you as the individual handle them. G+ isn't an antivirus program. It's just a better and safer way to socialize online with friends and strangers :)
Couldn't agree with you more Mr. Cashmore
Competition brings out the best in us. I hope you're right about FB.
I wasn't talking about the groups Mark, I was speaking of my own personal lists that I can put my facebook friends into, such as my family list, my high school friends list, my fb gamers list etc. I compare my lists to google+ circles
Ditto on +Mark Bienvenu. Glad that I'm not the only one whose confused by people often comparing Circles to Groups. First time I heard of the Circles feature, I immediately likened it to FB's Friends Lists.
Definitely. They're nto all that similar to Groups. They're almost exactly the same thing as Friends Lists, but with a nicer UI, easier to use and not hidden away due to the self-fulfilling prophecy that "only power users use them".
It shouldn't be too hard for G+ to create a groups functionality: 1. allow users to share a circle (to a circle or to the public); 2. allow users to request to join a public circle.

Of course more features could be added with time but that functionality is simple and powerful enough to be used for everything from a private workgroup to a public discussion group.
+mark bienvu. I agree and I disagree. When I friend someone on Facebook, I have the immediate option of putting them in a group to make my personal organization easier. This is no different than dragging someone into a circle (a phrase that is cringeworthy, IMHO) except the person in the circle doesn't have to give their permission. I find THAT creepy. I was able to circle someone on here that has blocked me on fb and now I see their stuff. I'm not stalking, I just wanted to see if I could do and I can. That has the potential for abuse.

And here's just one bug of many I am finding when using G+ on my iPad: you can't highlight someone with the "+" sign when replying or contributing to a comment/post.
Yea- Lois, you found a loop hole!!!!! and this would be the reason why we all agreed to test G+. I don't need permission to put a fb friend on any one of my lists, I just put them, and they have no idea what list they are in unless I tell them
+Lois Aronow - As for sharing, you can disable a post to be shared in upper right hand of post or you can go to your setting and only allow things to go as far as your friends rather than extended friends etc. Hope that helps :)
Yeah, I was getting unwanted email from FB groups that I had joined, only to find out that opting out of email notifications were not handled in the privacy settings, but in each individual group page. So I had to open each group and opt out. But I'm PO'd that "Opt in" was the default! What's up with that?
This is ironic... so how do I turn of email notifications of replies to comments I have made! I'm the kind of person who wants his inbox uncluttered with this stuff... I'll visit the post in question to see further comments.
+Ryan Estrada also made a good pic post of the TOS with G+ vs. FB (follow him). Your photos are your own! Check out Picasa and notice your pics are copyrighted unless you choose otherwise. That is not the case with FB!
ok, now what Andrea, what do I click on next
+Andrea Barton Gurney Hah! That's sweet of you... thanks for helping the + n00b. But once I get the hang of something, I usually really screw it up.

Wait. That doesn't sound right...
+mark - I understand that, and I also understand that being notified is something you can turn on an off. I have also discovered that the block feature doesn't work in the mobile use, IPad or iPhone, If G+ is an attempt to merge Fb and Twitter, I'm not buying it. At least, it's more of a third wheel for me, an extremely experienced but non-tech user. He'll, I was social networking since they called it the BBS. So aside from google collecting data on how people come and go between g+, fb and twitter, I'm so not buying the hype. And no one has given a credible reason or argument WHY it's better except "it has circles!". Tell me why I need another service, or why this is superior the others. In return, spend 5 minutes googling Wave or Buzz and you'll see the same experts touting the same things.
Andrea, you have gone over my head with that one, it sounds like I am being insulted, and I am not sure why, I don't understand what you are talking about in relation to anything I have included in this conversation..........if I misunderstand you, I apologize, but I would appreciate a little more explanation of your comment?
@Lois aronow no one is making you use it. For some people it's a better set up. Circles is cool, but it's gonna have growing pains like anything else. Right now it's hard to Gaige without a constant stream of your friends using it. Let's give it a year and then start talking about wave and buzz. Both of which weren't bad. Wave was awesome but the run of the mill user wasn't gonna figure it out. I don't like the cult of Facebook. I don't like them making everything social when I might not want it to be and their commitment to making it ridiculously tedious to set up privacy. If anything, Google+ is giving Facebook a check up from the neck up. They've already introduced muting and hiding users on the app. 
Hah - +Lois Aronow, for now I kinda have to agree. Wave sounded so cool. What happened? The promise of teleconferencing itself was cool enough. The path to catch up with the 2 SoMe leaders is littered with junked platforms, the majority of which are Google's.
+Mark Bienvenu: In the notifications overlay, the bottom right has "Mute this post". I don't know if it does, as I've turned all the emails off, but that might stop it emailing you. It definitely stops it appearing with the little red box, though :o)
+tbw +mark I know nobody is making me use it. Heck, I never used friendster or MySpace; gave me a headache - and I was a latecomer to FB. Both FB and Twitter have been really good for me on both personal and professional levels, and have also scratched the constant itch I suffer from as a news junkie. So I lurk around on G+ and see a ton of people saying "I just dropped my FB account! I'm free from twitter!" so I'm just curious WHY. Lemmings? Sheep? Or true innovation I don't yet see or appreciate because I am not a professional techie, albeit an extremely aware early adapter?
when does FB auto enter people into groups? seems I always had a choice. was a dumb group, but I opted in and can opt out.
+Lois Aronow G+ allows all your pics to be copyrighted and not freely shared by just anyone, it has a better way to filter what you talk about to who, it allows you to download your data (just click on your name in upper right and then scroll down to data on the left), it allows you to do multiple things from one place so you don't need to have separate accounts for everything unless you want to. For me I'm a gamer too and have unnecessary processes for me to game at my best doesn't make me game as well so I also like to do that with my computer. I never got on the Twitterwagon because for me it was pointless and still is for me. I have Skype but I rarely use it and if I do it's only as an IM mainly but if everyone who I skype with has G+ well that is something that I don't need to have up as one of my processes on my computer anymore. G+ is a less is more concept to me or it's like going to SuperWalmart/Target/Kmart. You can get all you need at one place IF you wanted but don't have to. It's just that the convenience is there and for a business it's awesome and for someone like me who doesn't want have every single IM service for example just for one person to keep in contact with, it's all here and I can get that off my computer and save that space for other uses rather than having to keep upgrading my PC because it's filled with so much useless stuff. Just have to remember that these things are just all pieces of the bigger picture. It's good to know the details but it's good to remind yourself that these small details all add up to something that's already better than FB right now. Follow +Ryan Estrada because he has a good pic/response to why G+ is great just in its TOS (terms of service agreement).
'Friend Decay' - now that needs an app! :)
Facebook privacy policy is simple: We'll change the rules everyday to see just what we can get away with.
You're doing a great job reporting on the ins & outs of Google+. Very helpful. Facebook is still in a position to turn things around pretty quickly I think, though.
Any word on when this will be open to public or they at least remove max cap?
The ONLY issue I see with G+ circles is that it can make cheating much easier. You can have many circles that don't include them (one for sexting, one for flirting..etc). and have full online/off line relationships they'll never be aware of.
Option to edit post (spelling errors) and to write longer post is - for me - the best of Twitter and Fb combined.
wow, this is awesome.. esp #3. So glad i followed you. :) Learning many things every single day..
Absolutely, competition of the giants always results to the benefit of its consumers - ideally :)
facebook start in college environment, that's a +, lot of social media user in my country are students
I totally agree with your points. I think circles is so important. Too many people have shared information unintentionally and circles acts a fail-safe; YOU CHOOSE what to share with whom. It''s easy. One circle can't be confused with another. That's where I tend to have issues with FB. That and 'Friend Decay' are points that FB really needs to take a hard look at.
the only weakness i found using google plus is the way you can communicate with your friends using the android app. On facebook you could write on your friend's wall. On g+ you have to write what you write the message (in the form of status) and then select the friend(s) you want the message to be shared with...
I actually think its better this way, because I usually write first and then add the person with whom I would like to share the post. And G+ goes one step further as I can share with a bunch of groups of persons within seconds.
Definitely agree with the friend decay part
But I think G+ does a great thing with Groups, now I know I can directly post stuff to my Family without having to select recipients...
Americans only Liking G+, rest of the world still sticks with facebook. if G+ comes up with new features then facebook also can do the same. G+ may have 25 million user but active users are very very less
Facebook users will have 800 million active users that is very much lower. And the SPAM will be in those 800 million?
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