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A couple of  months back, the attention was on the features of Google+, the new Social Networking Site of Google, which were being sparingly revealed to the world, much like a shrewd merchant revealing the end of the silk he is holding out to the customer. Of course it succeeded in generating the huge worldwide interest in Google+ and the phenomenal growth in its membership.  ComScore, a highly reputed business analytics site reported that Google+ now has 25 million users while it took around three years for Facebook and Twitter to achieve the same.

While the membership has no doubt shot up, it is not clear how the users have accepted the features of the new networking platform like Circles, Hangouts, Instant uploads, Sparks and Huddles.  Serious doubts have been raised  how useful and user friendly they really are, despite the added features Google introduced, leveraging on its own Browser, Chrome.

It was expected that Facebook will inevitably introduce improvements to counter what Google would be offering in the new platform. In fact over the course of the last three months it has already silently introduced several small features  and some important one like video chat incorporating Skype.

However, the most important improvement to the site which could counter the much tooted features of Google+ were announced only last week in the Facebook blog. Unlike Google, Facebook has preferred to clearly explain the changes in very simple ‘before’ and ‘after’ the change style, which everyone can understand and are widely appreciated. Though there was favourable opinion from experts, you could only palpate the richness of the goodies offered by Facebook only since a couple of days. To be fair, they have turned out to be good stuff much of the 750 million members of Facebook are going to like and appreciate.  

The changes according to Facebook in a nut shell are:

A bunch of improvements that make it easier to share posts, photos, tags and other content with exactly the people you want, to make this more visual and straightforward, bye moving most of your controls from a settings page to, right next to the posts, photos and tags they affect. Plus there are several other updates that will make it easier to understand who can see your stuff (or your friends') in any context, organized around two areas: what shows up on your profile and what happens when you share something new

The beauty and simplicity of how Facebook has gone about beating the circles of  GOOGLE + is by bringing everything you need to control your privacy in to one simple circle and right where you need to apply them with the click of a mouse.

At the heart of this clever innovation is a drop down menu from which you can select the group of people or person with whom you are going to share. This intuitive sharing engine is then attached where it is required like your profile editing page in which it can be applied to each of the menu item and your wall where you update your status and share your media. The added bonus is the flexibility you get even to change the sharing at a later date, if you change your mind.

This drop down menu undoubtedly is a PLUS over Google+, in which you need to pre select and compartmentalise your groups, who will receive different levels of your favour and get to share what they deserve. To completely match the segregation offered by Google+, Facebook will be expanding this over time to include smaller groups of people like co-workers, Friend Lists you've created, and Groups you're a member of.

Other important changes include a button to show what your profile looked like to others, another to add a location and tag the people you're with. You can add tags of your friends or anyone else on Facebook and can review and approve or reject any tag someone tries to add to your photos and posts..
Article first published as How Facebook Is Catching Up With Google+ on Technorati.

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