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Facebook, Google+ duke it out for No. 1 spot

Published: Monday, October 17, 2011

Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08

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MCT Wire Service

Facebook, Google+ and Twitter are the most commonly used social media tools on the internet.

With the launch of Google+, Google's social networking site which launched this past June, Facebook has added many new features to combat their only rival. Google and Facebook have been feuding the last few years to see who can claim the lives of internet users. Facebook as of May 2011 has almost 652,000,000 users worldwide, according to howmanyarethere.net. Google+ is estimated to have passed the 20,000,000 mark in late July said Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. The subtle differences of both social networking sites could determine who wins in the future.

Facebook has been stealing the most talented employees from Google for the past few years, most notably Google Maps creator Lars Rasmussen, who left Google in October 2010.

"It feels to me that Facebook may be a sort of once-in-a-decade type of company," Rasmussen said, after a "compelling personal pitch" from Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, Steven Hutcheon wrote after an exclusive interview for The Sydney Morning Herald.

If Google+ can wrestle away the hearts of Facebook users in the future, the theft of their employees would just seem like a small blip on their radar.

Instead of just having friends on Facebook, Google+ offers something they call "circles." The difference between these features is that in Google+, people can choose which circles of people get to read their posts. For example, users can group a person they work with into the "co-worker's circle" and add that same person into their "friend's circle." If they want to send a message out to their friend circle, that co-worker will also get the message, if you allow it, because they are also a part of your friend circle. A video on YouTube titled "what is Google+ and do I need it?" shows many of the features that Google+ has.

"Google+ is a great idea and I do have an account, but they just don't have the wide base of people that Facebook has," said Mike Kim, a DePaul student who uses both. "Maybe when it catches on, I'll start using it more."

Facebook owns the social networking world and only time will tell if Google+ can match up to the standards that Facebook has set.

Facebook has already implemented a few changes to their site, presumably due to Google+'s emergence. Their biggest addition, called Timeline, will launch as soon as Facebook hashes out their legal problems with Timelines.com, a small Chicago based company that started in 2008 and filed their lawsuit against Facebook on September 29.

Timelines.com's learn more section states "Almost everything you find on Timelines is created by our community. Registered users can record events and contribute descriptions, photos, videos and links related to events. Unlike a wiki, the site is built to display various (and potentially conflicting) descriptions of the same event from many different contributors."

Timelines.com feels that Facebook is infringing upon their trademark and they fear that if and when Timeline launches on Facebook, their site will be driven into the ground.

Facebook's Timeline will turn everyone's profiles into a timeline where all your favorite pictures, events, posts, and apps will help shape your life story.

Even though the official launch of Timeline is unknown, Facebook users can enable Timeline whenever they want. A quick search on the web shows users a step-by-step tutorial on how to initiate Timeline.

YouTube also has a video displaying what Timeline is all about. It starts with a screen saying "Andy Sparks was born. August 14, 1974" They keep scrolling on, showing pictures and posts, stopping when there are important moments in his life. His graduation, wedding, and first born child are all displayed on the Timeline.

"Timeline seems weird and interesting, Facebook just gets more intense and personal as time goes by," said Julia Sciger, a DePaul student.

It seems Facebook is trying whatever they can do to delay Google+'s success. In addition to adding a "Top Stories" and "Recent Stories" section in their Facebook pages, they also added a new ticker that has generated mostly bad reviews from users.

"I don't think it's that bad, I just think people are just overreacting to change," said Jasmine Ortiz, a DePaul student.

Facebook is always looking for the new "game changer" when it comes to new applications.

Whether Google+ steps up and challenges Facebook for their social networking crown remains to be seen, but having a choice in the matter is refreshing.

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