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Students try Google+, favor Facebook

Dan Brombach | Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Google released Google+, the most recent challenger to Facebook’s social networking dominance, this summer to a limited number of users.

On Sept. 20, the tech giant expanded access to all users 18 years and older.

A number of Notre Dame students created user accounts on the site during its trial phase this summer. While students said they liked the number of new features Google+ had over Facebook, some, like sophomore Elliot Badar, felt recent Facebook updates have closed the technological gap.

“I really liked Google+ at first because it had a lot of cool features that made it different from Facebook, like group video chat or the ability to choose who you share certain information with,” Badar said. “Now they’re no different because Facebook just adapted and took all these features.”

Due to the loss of this innovative edge, many Google+ users still favor Facebook, simply because it continues to be the most popular social networking site. Facebook has over 800 million active users according to its webpage.

Sophomore Chas Jhin continues to use Facebook because more of his friends and family have stuck with the site.

“Facebook basically copied all of Google+’s new things over the past month, so I’d say that I prefer Facebook simply because everyone is on Facebook and nobody is on Google+,” Jhin said.

Other critiques ranged from the site’s layout to Google’s emphasis on integrating online services.

“I really don’t like how Google+ doesn’t have a wall feature,” Badar said. “I also don’t like how it tries to integrate my email and my social networking.”

On the less technical side of things, some students have chosen to remain with Facebook to avoid the time and hassle associated with setting up and maintaining a new account.

“I considered going on Google+,” said sophomore Kyle Craft, “but I ultimately didn’t because I knew that maintaining two social networking accounts at once would be too much work.”

Jhin is highly skeptical of Google+’s ability to eclipse Facebook as the primary social networking tool.

“Maybe if Facebook starts a nuclear war and everybody deletes their account, then I’ll consider embracing Google+ over Facebook,” Jhin said.

Time and patience will determine how Google+ develops and ultimately fares as a social networking site, but some are already offering bleak forecasts.

“I can see Google+ being the [retired NFL quarterback] Ryan Leaf of social networking ⎯ getting off to a promising start, but ultimately proving to be an incredible disappointment in the end,” Badar said.