As the debate over the merits and pitfalls between Facebook and Google+ rages on, Facebook announced today a wide array of upcoming features that will give users better control over the content they share. In Facebook’s own words:
Your profile should feel like your home on the web – you should never feel like stuff appears there that you don’t want, and you should never wonder who sees what’s there. The profile is getting some new tools that give you clearer, more consistent controls over how photos and posts get added to it, and who can see everything that lives there.
Approving tags in photos and posts
Ever wince at the sight of photos you’ve been tagged in show up on your profile for all your friends to see? You and millions of other Facebook users have complained for years and, at long last, Facebook is finally making your request into reality. Now, users have the ability to approve photos or posts you are tagged in before they become visible on your profile.
On a similar note, you will soon have the option to review any tags people add to your posts and photos. Currently, anyone who can view your photos or posts can tag it accordingly, which is then automatically published live. This is Facebook’s second layer of control with tagging that users will be able to navigate through.
Facebook didn’t stop there. They are now going to make it clearer to users what actually happens when you remove tags or content from Facebook. So when you attempt to remove a tag or other piece of content you will be presented with the following dialog box:
The Google+ Influence
And then we reach what I like to call, the Google+ features. For weeks now, Google+ advocates have lauded the social network mainly for excelling in areas where Facebook have fallen short. For instance, controlling who exactly you can share content with. Google+’s answer to this was Circles. If you really think about it, Facebook already had their own version of Circles for quite some time now in the form of Friends Lists. However, most users never realized the intended benefit and therefore assumed Facebook never had it.
Facebook hopes to change that perception by shifting many of the sharing controls typically hidden away in the Settings page and integrating it alongside the posts, photos, and tags they affect. Previously, an ambiguous lock icon sat adjacent to the share button. Clicking it presented a drop-down menu of friends lists and groups you would like to specifically share with. Instead, this will be updated with an icon and label as well. As a result, you can see at a glance who can actually see the content you intend on posting.
Does Facebook view Google+ as a direct competitor in the social networking sphere? Absolutely. Who will eventually “win”? The company that has failed at social with infamous products like Wave and Buzz and became the butt of many jokes? Or, will Goliath continue to maintain its grip on our lives? We live in very exciting times with companies like these two bringing innovative products into the lives of millions, changing forever the way we communicate and stay connected. I personally hope that both will continue to succeed in their own way, and eventually find their own niche in our lives as Twitter has accomplished in some aspects.
There were several other features Facebook announced but I chose to not highlight. And no, there will not be a dislike button coming soon. You can find the rest in their blog post. Updates will begin to roll out over the next couple of days starting on Thursday according to Techcrunch.
For more information about some of the important features Facebook will be releasing soon, visit the following: