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Why do some Facebook users fear Google+?

Sections: Business News, Features, Google, Web, Web 2.0 / Social Networking

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Google+ is still closed to the general public, although there have been ways to sneak people in. Google also opens invites from time to time. However, there are still a ton of people waiting to get through Google’s pearly white gates. At this time, Google+ is getting a lot of positive feedback from a certain segment of the public. But at the same time, some people I know don’t want anything to do with Google+. They have this strange bond with Facebook that causes them to get somewhat protective of it. The mere notion of suggesting Google+ to them creates an almost immediate skepticism and animosity. I look at it as the “leave Facebook alone mentality.”

The people I’m referring to don’t run in the same circles as most of the people who read this site and sites similar to ours. They aren’t a part of the tech crowd. They don’t try to jump on what may be the next big thing. They aren’t on the cutting edge of new technology. These are the types that get so comfortable with a service (in this case Facebook) that they refuse to participate in anything that is even remotely similar to it. They won’t sign up for Twitter and they won’t sign up for Google+. Why? Because they tell me Facebook can do all of that.

What’s interesting is that these same people are the ones that also complain about Facebook. They don’t like all the game invitations, they hate the integrated chat and message box and they hate the spam. I tell them Google+ doesn’t have that and they should at least check it out. Still, they refuse.

They’re also the ones who post Facebook statuses warning others about the next privacy-obliterating feature that Facebook is implementing. They were outraged and creeped out when Facebook started scanning photos with facial recognition software. Even with all of Facebook’s privacy scandals in clear view, they continue to type away on Facebook as if nothing happened.

I actually convinced someone close to me (who adores Facebook) to try Google+ the other day. They were very hesitant to input their name and gender. In fact, they didn’t use their full name because they were concerned about privacy. Can you believe that? Someone who spends hours a week on Facebook posting information and pictures about themselves, friends, and family becomes darn near frozen with concern over privacy on Google+. Even after I showed them the privacy options and what their profile looks like to other people on the web, they still didn’t feel safe. They also have a Gmail account in which they list their full name, so it’s already out there. Despite that, the privacy concerns still exist.

I also explained how Circles work and how you can choose who sees your updates and what updates you see. Their response? Facebook has Groups too. Did they take the time to make groups? No. Will they take the time to categorize their 300+ “friends” into groups? No. Their News Feed is just as crowded as mine is. The ease of use doesn’t matter to them. All that matters is that Facebook did something similar first.

I understand why someone wouldn’t want to switch from Facebook to Google+. Google+ is pretty lonely right now and isn’t as active as a typical Facebook feed. But to flat out refuse and scold Google+ without even trying it speaks volumes about Facebook’s grip on the public.

I learned that the biggest barrier to getting a hardcore Facebook user to consider Google+ isn’t the hassle of learning a new network and essentially “starting over.” The biggest barrier is the seemingly psychological bond they have with Facebook. A bond that is so strong, they refuse to even consider an alternative regardless the questionable and shady practices Facebook has and will continue to engage in.

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