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The (new) social network

india Updated: Aug 12, 2011 12:29 IST
Pranav Dixit
Pranav Dixit
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

There’s one more reason to waste time on the Internet: Google’s brand new social network, Google+! We got so excited that we didn’t care that Google says it’s still in a testing phase – we stacked it up against Facebook and Twitter anyway. Does it pack enough punch to blow them away?

The story so far

Google
Google’s latest salvo at arch nemesis Facebook in the social networking space is kicking up a storm in the tech world. Currently in a limited, invitation-only ‘field test’ which means that everyone and their brother is dying for an invite.

Facebook
750 million users – that’s 10 per cent of the world’s population – and counting! The world’s biggest social network shows no signs of slowing down. You’re hooked. So is your boss, your mom, your 93-year-old grandpa – and your dog.

Twitter
Twitter came as a pithy, no-frills, alternative to Facebook and was a runaway hit. Particularly useful for spreading the word, chatting up your favourite celebs (or trolling them), blowing your own trumpet or simply engaging in pointless babble.

Killer features

Google
Looks deceptively like Facebook at first glance. Digging deeper reveals features like Circles (to sort contacts into friends, 3 am buddies, losers and so on), Hangout (multi-user webcam chat) and Sparks (to quickly find stuff you care about).

Facebook
Farmville. No, we're kidding. This is the best social network for sharing pictures, photos, videos, links… anything you want. Has a Circles-like ‘Lists’ feature buried deep within the clunky, interface (along with the rest of the privacy settings).

Twitter
No clutter, no rambling. Bang out your post in 140-characters or less and get done with it. View photos and videos right in your stream. Have long links that you post shortened right then and there. Tweet from anywhere: you PC or on the go.

Ease of use

Google
Facebook fanatics should feel right at home. Posting, uploading pictures and sorting people into Circles is a snap. Google isn’t particularly known for gorgeous user-interfaces but Google+ looks clean and classy.

FacebookFacebook

Much like Microsoft Windows, Facebook isn’t really the easiest thing in the world to use – we are just used to it. We find that the general interface could do with some de-cluttering and simplification. Also, that hideous photo-viewer needs to go: now!

Twitter
Twitter is so minimalist that it couldn’t get any simpler. Type your tweet in the big box at the top, hit ‘Tweet’… and that’s it. Replying to @Mentions, retweeting and searching is a breeze and the interface is snappy and responsive.

Privacy

Google
This is Google we’re talking about. Once you sign up, you sign your life away.

Facebook
I beg your pardon?

Twitter
Twitter does collect your personal information to sell it to advertisers, but unlike Google, it doesn’t really have all your private mail, pictures from that party where you got sloshed, your phone number and your credit card numbers.

On the go: apps

Google
Has a great app for Android phones (iOS version coming soon, worry not). Everything possible on the site is possible on your phone. Bonus: mobile users also get an exclusive ‘Huddle’ feature for quick group chats.

Facebook
We are rather fond of the Facebook mobile app. It does a good job at squeezing the full-blown site down to a tiny screen. It does have a few rough edges though and we think it could use a little spit and polish.

Twitter
No matter whether you use an iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone, or even a plain old Nokia, chances are, you’ll find a Twitter app you like. Our favourite? Tweetdeck!

Creepiness quotient

Google
High. Not only will your Google+ notifications show up at the top of every Google service you use (including Gmail), it will automatically grab every picture you click from your phone and put it up in a special folder.

Facebook
High. Facebook doesn’t exactly make it easy for you to delete your account if you ever decide you’ve had it with Mark and his cronies. Sure, you can deactivate it, but Facebook still stores all your pictures, posts and profile information... in a safe place.

Twitter
Moderate. You don’t really have to ‘connect’ with someone or accept a ‘friend request’ to be stalked/abused. All those creeps on the internet out there? All they have to do is type your name to spam you till you scream.

Round ’em up!
Your favourite celebs sorted into the Google+ Circles we think they deserve to be in

Did not need plastic surgery (Really!)
Koena Mitra
Kangna Ranaut
Minissha Lamba

Need a stylist (pronto!)
Amrita Arora
Vivek Oberoi
Vidya Balan

Need a hit (and fast!)
Abhishek Bachchan
Akshay Kumar
Sonam Kapoor

From HT Brunch, July 10

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