Google + circles explained, Facebook needs a similar feature

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Having used Google + for a few days now it is clear that there are both major similarities and major differences when you compare Google’s new social network to Facebook, many think that the biggest difference is the fact that Google + allows you to group contacts into circles which means people don’t have to broadcast everything to everyone all of the time, this in turn means that if people use Google + intelligently you will not be spammed by shares which don’t interest you.

Let’s explain things a little better. When you add a friend on Facebook they go on your friends list, however on Google + you put people into certain circles. When posting photos, status updates, videos and links etc you can choose which circles see the content you are sharing, here is an example of when this comes in handy.

As people can be in more than one circle you could perhaps have a circle which consists of fans of a certain subject matter, as I am a football fan I will use this as an example. If I wanted to share a link which talks about a football rumor I could target this at people who are in my Football Fan circle (see below). This means that lots of contacts which have no interest in a share about football will not see it.

As previously mentioned circles work both ways, it could result us all seeing more targeted content, this means that I may not see a status update from a female friend asking for tips on make up etc, that would be great. If everyone uses circles correctly it should mean that the Google + Stream should be far less ‘spammy’ then Facebook’s news feed.

Circles also allow you to have one social network for both professional and personal usages, you could have just two circles which your friends are split into, one called work, the other called fun. This would allow you to direct boring work-related shares towards your work contacts, without causing lots of boredom to your friends. Likewise if you wanted to share something unprofessional on Google + you could just share this type of content with contacts in your fun circle, perhaps you want to talk about how drunk you was last night, this would not be a great thing to share with contacts who know you professionally, but it would be something which you may want to share with your friends.

Many think that it would be a good idea for developers to add a similar feature to Facebook, we think it would be great if it was an optional feature as it is currently one of the biggest differences between the two social networking services, what do you think?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1246442563 Scott Pearson

    I’ve only been playing with Google+ for a few hours, but it would be nice if the circles could be sub-categorized.