Few people realize how important the Google Plus “Real names”policy really is. Maybe it’s just me having spent so much energy taking advantage of Facebook’s completely chaotic structure over the past years. Sure, it ran contrary to most Facebook official policies but any business person would be an idiot not too. What? You can see all the ‘friends’ of your competitors’ fan page. That is often their customer list. Damn sure I will take them even it has to be done one by one manually from a user profile. Facebook has plugged the holes over time but Google Plus in comparison feels like a straight jacket from it’s beginning. No free lunches here.
So point No1: 1. How strict and honest a social network is.
And then today everyone is talking about the “new” Facebook, changing their profiles to “look slick”. Looks like a waste of prime screen real estate to me. Hello? Most people are still on 768 pixel vertical resolution you know…that big picture takes almost all of it up! And these new fangled timeline adjustments of course will fly over the head of most users who have started whining about the “great old interface” as usual… Point 2. Simplicity
It sort of reminds me of the WordPress vs Tumblr debate. Users get used to something simple and figure out how to work around it. Hash tags and loads of third party developers built the ecosystem that works for million of users. Then Twitter added photos, then comes video and…before you know it we have another Facebook like experience on our hands. And then we will need complex settings and choices explained to get it to do what we want it to. How our privacy is controlled. Who sees what. Point No3 is Control.
As anyone who has worked in the software industry knows, there is no perfect interface. Every user wants something different and it will depend on their experience, background and …well…their mood really! Your energy levels at different points in the day even. What Facebook and Google are getting better at is getting the interface to morph constantly using intelligence, a little user input and a whole lot of bravado. It takes balls to change a user interface, especially when you are a market leader with everything to lose. But Facebook is right to do it now while it is still a virtual monopoly.
As users switch from software to online applications and from computers to smartphones, a lot of the old “big boys” in software better pay attention… HP, if you really want to get into software, don’t go chasing the SAP business model…