Google+ vs Facebook: A Turf War? [Infographic]

Searching the web, I found this interesting infographic by Technobombs.com, which gives a feature by feature comparison of Google+ and Facebook. Everybody is talking about it at the moment, so I think it is a good idea to take a closer look at both social platforms which although enable social sharing,video chat and connecting with friends, yet have some subtle differences.

When Google launched its +1 Button two months backs, there were instant comparisons to Facebook’s Like Button. And now when a full fledged site is launched, some similarities are definitely obvious.

Great potential for businesses
As I said in my last blog post, both of these companies are the names to reckon with and are trying to build on their capabilities to capture the maximum mind share. Though one is in nascent phase and the other one has been there and seen it all, yet they have been quite neck to neck in terms of features.

When thinking about social networking, it is also important to keep in mind that apart from just trying to connect with friends, these platforms have a significant business potential, because almost all brands use it to reach out to their customers. But Google+ is yet to launch its brand pages and APIs. According to me, it is not possible to analyse the full potential for Google+ unless the business part is launched, though.

New features
Something missing in the infographic is the group chat feature launched on Facebook recently, allowing users to have a conversation with multiple people at the same time. Last year, groups were introduced where people can chat in groups, but now it will be possible to have ad hoc chats, which is same as Huddle on Google+.

Personally, I feel it would be really interesting to see the upcoming innovations and gain insights into the way ahead. Would each of these platforms carve out a niche for themselves so that both can co-exist – or would one take over the other in terms of market share?

Here, you can have a look at the infographic:

google-plus-facebook-comparison1

 

Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.

 

Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.

 

Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.

 

At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.