Thom’s up, Thom’s down

Story by Thom Fountain

Thom’s Up:
Facebook’s improvements

I know, I know. Facebook changes and everyone loses it about how the improvements are confusing or creepy for roughly six
hours (the average lifetime of any outrage on the Internet) before they get used to it.

It happened last month and in a few more weeks it’s going to happen again, but this time in a much bigger way. Facebook has announced
(and already acted on) completely redesigning profiles as Timelines, which pulls your entire Facebook history into a single page.

Now this seems a little invasive (and it certainly could be), but luckily Facebook improved something much more important: privacy.

With new features like Subscribe (which allows people to follow your public updates without seeing anything else about you), it’s easier to use Facebook both as a personal resource for your closest friends and family and a social mechanism where you can interact with people from all over the world.

Other new partnerships, such as Skype for video chatting and Spotify and Hulu for sharing music and TV, have increased what you can do on the platform and streamlined the process of social sharing.

Facebook has been a little touch and go in the last few years, but it’s great to see the company take it’s biggest pitfall by the horns. The new privacy settings allow you to specify who sees each individual post and are incredibly deep.

Word has it Facebook will be rolling out a lot more features and changes in the next few months and I’m hoping to see the Internet giant continue to suck our time in the best way possible.

 

Thom’s Down:
Google+’s unprovements

Get it? Because it hasn’t improved. Ever.

I was really excited when Google+ launched by invite this summer and jumped right in. It blew up initially and seemed like it was the future of social networking and social media.

Then, well, nothing.

The service grew for a few months then stagnated. Now that it’s launched publicly it’s actually losing users at a pretty substantial rate.

The problem with Google+ is  it came out of the gate pretty much done. Unlike Facebook, which (like it or not) offers updates and new features every 6-8 months to shake things up and keep users active, Google+ hit the ‘start’ button and then backed off.

On top of that, Google broke a few pretty important promises and hurt themselves in the process. When news organizations and companies started creating profiles for their businesses Google shut them down on the basis that a specific businesses page would be coming — but as of now, roughly five months later, no pages exist.

And the fact that tech journalists were the ones most affected didn’t help the reviews.

I haven’t completely given up on Google+, but it’s looking rough. There are too many sites to keep up on to begin with, so unless Google can figure out a way to make Plus stand out, it may go belly up before it even splashed.