Facebook Rolls Out New Features to Combat Google+

Facebook Rolls Out New Features to Combat Google+

Facebook has been busy evolving the site with new features that are clearly defensive responses to Google+. These features include changes to photo upload size, display design, as well as expanded features for status updates. Finally, they announced the end of Facebook Deals which offered Groupon-like social buying.

Photo Changes

Photos are arguably one of Facebook’s most popular features as they get 250 million uploads a day.  Google+ allows users to upload images up to 2048 pixels.  In response, Facebook has upped their size from 720 pixels to 960.  Granted, it’s not Google+ big, but when you are as large as Facebook, you can’t triple the resolution size without opening another datacenter or two.

Along with the increased photo size, they have also changed the color of the lightbox from black to white.  This is a welcome modification since the contrast before was a dramatic departure from their

Status Updates Changes

The really big change is the addition of some great new Google+ like features to status updates.

These changes include:

  1. Easier friend tagging
  2. Location tagging without having to check-in to a business
  3. Status update visibility options

Facebook users have been able to tag people in status updates by typing @FriendName for quite some time.  Now, this can easily be done by clicking the friend icon and typing the first few letters of their name.  A list of matching friends will pop up with a thumbnail image of their profile.   While friend tagging is old hat, the ability to tag a location is new.  Before users could only tag themselves in a location by checking in or allowing their friends to check them into a place.  People no longer need to use the mobile check-in feature. This opens up a wide range of possibilities.  For example, people can now update their status and say something like:  “I need to go to YourDealership for an oil change appointment” and the link would go directly to your Facebook Business page.  Your social media rep could respond to them by thanking them for their business and provide them the latest service coupon all before the customer left the house.

The most notable Google+ like change is the ability to specify who can see a status update.  Originally, visibility was designated in the privacy settings and could only be applied to a single category.   For example you could set your status updates to only be visible your Friends.  But sometimes there are status updates people would like to share with everyone like telling the world about the birth of a new child.  Now, people can choose who can see each individual status update.   This level of granularity is another welcome change to their service.

A word of caution, these new features you tempt some companies to incentivize these types of posts/tagging.  Make sure you do not run afoul of Facebook’s promotional guidelines.  If you would like advice or clarification on this topic shoot us a message here and we’d be happy to assist.

Facebook Deals to End

Facebook has decided to end the Deals program after a lackluster 4 month test period.  Facebook Deals was their answer to Groupon and Living Social.  It was only available in select cities so don’t be surprised if you never heard of it.  And, we don’t mean that in a Hipster sort of way.

The good news is that creating a deal for people who check-in to your location will be unaffected.   While this is the end of their group buying initiative, you can be sure Facebook has something else up their sleeve.

Final Thoughts

Facebook’s new feature updates are a clear indication that they are taking Google+ seriously.  Just recently Facebook started censoring any Google+ invite links shared via status updates.  Now they trying to match feature sets blow for blow. Is Google+ a Facebook killer?  It’s way too early to tell.  Facebook is an innovative and adaptive company.   These new features prove that they aren’t going to let Google’s best ideas go unchallenged.


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