While Facebook may still hold the title for being the world’s largest social media platform, the once high flying social network should definitely be concerned with recent gains from Google within the social media scene. Many may be familiar with the Groups feature of Facebook, in which users are able to connect with others who share their common interests. Despite being a much newer platform, Google has managed to now surpass Facebook’s Groups feature with the quickly growing presence of its communities feature. In fact, in a closer analysis between the Groups and Communities, it’s obvious that Facebook no longer holds its once touted title any longer.
I made several comparisons between Facebook Groups and Google+ Communities in order to get an idea of how the two platforms compare socially, and how effective each has been at attracting users to these useful features. I compared the size and scope of various Groups and Communities that shared the same or similar ideas, and the results were astounding, in the sense that Google Communities seem to be favored over its rival.
Since joining Google+ in December of 2012, I’ve joined a good number communities, most being centered around IT and other technology related subjects. When I joined the “Gaming” Community of G+ back in mid Jan of 2013, there were approximately 51,000 members, and at the time of this writing there are approximately 76,643. In a time span of less than two and a half months, that’s a dramatic increase of over 25,000 members! In contrast, Facebooks largest gaming group “Gaming Help” had only 18,200 members total. While Facebook did have a good number of smaller gaming Groups in which the member threshold numbered in the hundreds, this was hardly comparable to the many similar gaming communities that continue to pop up within Google+ on a regular basis. When tallied up, Google’s largest gaming Community had 58,443 more members than Facebooks largest gaming group, which represents a quite remarkable difference in sheer size between the very similar social connecting features of each platform; in which of course this appears to be in Google’s favor.
I then decided to compare generalized IT related categories between both platforms, and not surprisingly, Google+ again came out on top. Only this time the differences seemed almost exponential to the last comparison! The largest generalized IT Group on Facebook totaled approximately 6,909 members, while the largest IT Community of Google+ had a whopping 21,175 members. Also, the second largest IT Group on Facebook totaled only 1,343 members, and the majority of lower sub Groups had less than a 1,000 members in total each. While Google Clearly beat Facebook in the IT category for the largest generalized Group or Community, Facebook still won in terms of having higher numbers in its various sub Groups. Either way, again, Google+ is declared the winner!
In comparing IT News Groups to Google+ communities, again Google managed to grab the upper hand. The largest IT News Community on Google+ “Tech News” totaled approximately 22, 318 members, while the largest single Group featuring the same idea, also called “Tech News” totaled only 1,158 members total. That’s a difference of 21,160 members between both related sections on each platform, again Google gobbling up all the wealth. Smaller sub Groups and Communities between both platforms remained similar, and didn’t have vast differences in their numbers.
Next on the list was a comparison between social media and or networking categories from both platforms. This time Facebook took the spot light with its largest social media Group totaling more than 40,000 members (the groups name is “Social Media”), as compared to Google’s largest Community in the same category (Social Media Strategy) that holds only about half that number with an estimated 20,338 total members. Even Facebook’s second largest social media Group (Social Media as its named) beat out Google’s largest by almost 9,000 members! In fact, Facebooks third largest in this category had over 9,000 members respectively, not to mention its smaller sub groups totaled in the tens of thousands when combined together, clearly giving Google a black eye in this section, or did it? One more thing to note about Facebook's largest social media Group is that the entire group consisted of nothing but spam! In fact, I could not find a single post that referenced or discussed anything about social media at all. Facebook clearly loses.
On the other hand, Google isn’t trailing too far behind, as its second largest social media Community “Strategic Social Networking” now has over 6,900 members and is quickly growing whih is quickly growing larger in numbers. And, Google’s third largest social media community “Social Media Marketing” now has over 5,200 members as well. Either way, Facebook won this round, but from the data supported above, it’s obvious that Google+ Communities are quickly gaining traction.
In the evaluation of web design related communities, Google topped out yet again, with its largest Community in this category “Web developers, Web Designers, Web Coding” scoring in at over 32,343 members among its ranks. On the other hand, Facebook’s largest Group in this category totaled only 9,837 members. That’s a difference of 22,506 members between both platforms, and yet again, Google comes out on top. Both had hardly comparable sub groups for our generalized categories.
Of the four generalized categories for which data was collected, Facebook only scored a higher number of members for one, the social media category, which again was nothing more than spam, while Google scored dramatically higher in the others. Considering the age and lack of functionality that hampers Facebook today, as compared to the newer to the scene Google+ platform, Google is clearly gaining ground fast. It’s likely only a matter of time before Google surpasses Facebook at the social media category as well.
Part of the benefit to Google is the fact that Facebook, despite all its attempts to run in line with the times, has failed to make necessary and much needed changes to its outdated interface that appears to lack good navigation characteristics, and in turn has begun to lose traction and interest among its users. The interface never seems to change, being mainly a plain white background with tiny fonts that are hardly readable by the average person. Either way it goes, given the data presented above, Facebook should definitely be concerned about the fact, there is no longer any doubt, Google is quickly gaining an upper hand in the social media wars. While Facebook still remains to be the worlds largest social media platform today, they no longer hold the title for the worlds largest social platform in terms of tailoring to user specific interests, as Google has clearly taken this spot. After making the comparison between the four generalized categories of both platforms, Google came out ahead by over 40,000 members plus, even with Facebook leading in the social media category.