Facebook, Google+ Make Big Updates – Web Weekly

Posted By abod on September 26th, 2011

The Facebook Revolution

Over the last week, hardly any of the regular users I’m friends with on Facebook has refrained from sharing their frustration with the changes Facebook rolled out. Count me in among those

who aren’t eager to embrace the changes. Doesn’t their gazillion dollar budget have user testing?

In case you haven’t poked around lately, here is a rundown of the latest features that rolled out over the last two weeks.

  • Subscribe feature allows you to follow people you aren’t friends with, as you would on Twitter or LinkedIn
  • Filter the amount of information you get from current friends.
  • Smart friends lists filter friends into automatic groupings. You can manually move people around into groups too, and it’s a lot easier than it used to be.
  • News ticker stream of user updates in real time, in case the regular news feed moves too slowly for you
  • Spotify Integration brings free music to Facebook
  • A “timeline” shares all of your life events through text, photo, and video shares on Facebook. It’s a colorful, searchable, index of your entire life. I find the idea innovative but frankly a little creepy. Facebook already knows way too much about me! (Timeline is still in a limited release testing stage, but ReadWriteWeb gives you the rundown and a shortcut to trying it out for yourself)

Overall the features are a nice upgrade and unsurprising, given that Google+ went public this week. Facebook is struggling to stay relevant as Google+ proves itself as a rival. But before you start feeling sorry for Facebook, take a look at its bottom line. Total revenue is expected to reach $4.27 billion this year, more than twice as high as the $2 the company is estimated to have earned in 2010, according to eMarketer.

Google+ Goes Public

google plus signupJust before the f8 Facebook convention, Google+ opened its doors to everyone (join Google+ here), though I find it hard to believe that anyone who wanted an invitation couldn’t have logged on already. Along with the public release came some new features of its own:

  • Hangouts, or group video chats, are now available on your mobile phone (Android and iOS), and are now called “Messenger”. Fring picked up on this missing feature and started offering group video chat capability already, which I wrote about last week.
  • Search! That’s right, the geniuses at Google figured out how to let you search Google+
  • Screensharing – share your photos and game scores or whatever else is on your screen with others
  • Google Docs collaboration with others in your network

Klout also added Google+ to its influence ranking system. And influence it has, the newest social networking site on the block got 10 million new users within two days of its public release!

In what’s believed to be a security measure, Google+ doesn’t let you have a vanity url, so your profile has an ugly string of numbers tacked on to the end of it. But there is a workaround! Just follow a few simple steps to redirect your Google+ url and you’ll look real smooth.

More Headlines

  • The Wall Street Journal released a Facebook app that keeps you updated with all the headlines and stories within Facebook – no need to click to the website. (Mashable)
  • A false rumor spread the netwaves that Facebook would begin charging (Huffington Post). C’mon, the fact that it’s free is why we put up with all the changes!
  • News sharing site Digg redesigned the platform so that users now share links of interest within a given genre (New York Times)
  • Bing partners with mega deals websites for one-stop deal hunting (Search Engine Roundtable)

Cool Tools of the Week:

  • LocalHero: Find people with a given skill in your area nearby or within your network of friends
  • Pipl: The most comprehensive people search on the interwebs
  • GPanion: Get all your Google apps in one place
  • Share a Gift: Join forces with your friends to buy a gift as a group

Note: I’ll be taking an Internet hiatus over the next few days for the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah. There will not be a web weekly published next week. Shana tova to all who celebrate!

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