With the addition of a new player, Google Plus, into the social media space you may be wondering what sets it apart from Facebook behemoth. After spending several months using Google Plus I can say that there is a strong list of features that set it apart from Facebook. Everyone looks for something different so I’ve tried to focus on features from a more technical standpoint.One of the things that sets Google+ apart from Facebook is something that most articles don’t really focus on and that’s photos. With Picasa running the back-end for photos in Google Plus it gives you greater control and flexibility than that of what Facebook offers.
You may not think much about it while using Facebook or Google, but there is a difference in how your photos are managed and stored.To begin with you have the maximum number of pictures within an album. On Facebook you are limited to 200 in any album including your mobile uploads album. With Google+ using Picasa the maximum number of images per album is 1,000. When talking about a single album it might seem excessive to need 1,000 images, but it’s better to have that much available for you if and when you need it. I currently have a total of six albums on Google+ that go over 200 images, one being over 500, which would have had to been split into multiple albums on Facebook.
The bigger difference between the two services is when you use the photo feature as a back up for your personal photos. Now most people wouldn’t look at it this way but think if you were to have all your images stored on your personal hard drive and it were to die. You could end up loosing all those images. Unless of course you have them backed up somewhere and that is where Google Plus comes in.I did a small test uploading the same image to both Google+ and Facebook and then downloading the image. In both cases the image was shrunk by both dimensions and size. However, the Google Image maintained a lot higher quality than it’s Facebook counterpart. You can see the results of my test below:
The original image was 1728 x 2592 and 1.1 MB
When uploaded to Facebook it was re-sized to 432 x 648 and 43.6 KB
However, On Google+ it was re-sized to 1365 x 2048 and 190 KB
As you can see, if you are looking for a true backup source then neither of them are going to work for you, but if you want to maintain as much image quality as possible then you should go with Google+ to store your images. As a side note, if you use Picasa directly to upload your images you do not loose any image quality but are restricted on disk space.
Finally with regards to photos if you have an Android smart phone with the the Google Plus app then you can set it up to automatically upload any photos you take to a private folder. Now if you doing a lot of sexting then this is probably a very bad idea. Even though this folder is completely private and there is no way to share it you can move images out of it or share images from it which will then move the images. This is a great feature though if you take a lot of pictures of kids with your phone or use your phone to take pictures more than your digital camera. Should you loose your phone before you have a chance to off load the images you’ll still have the photos you took. (Another side note is there are SD cards you can get for your digital cameras that will do this too)
This is just one feature set out of many. There are others that one could argue Google does better than Facebook but many of those are more of an opinion now with recent changes. However, there is still quite a ways to go for Google Plus before it can truly compete with Facebook and I plan to address that in a future post.