Google+ and Facebook are Moving Your Cheese

Google + and Facebook make changes

Google + and Facebook make changesIf you’ve visited your Google+ profile in the last few days you’ll have noticed you’re being given an option to change layout with no way to revert to what you have already.

That’s fine, but when you decide to change, there’s zero information on what you need to do. You can select a new image but Google only tell you the minimum image size, not the ideal image size (it’s 2120 px by 1192 px, by the way – the 16:9 letterbox format of a widescreen movie).

Google+ has also redesigned the ‘About” tab as well.

Now Google snuck this in one day before the change to the Facebook held their event to announce the upcoming changes to the Facebook Newsfeed so maybe Google rushed delivery before getting the user communication and help instructions completed and issued.

The changes to both Google+ and Facebook are built around larger image sizes. Both companies now clearly view the visual elements to be the hook to draw the reader into action – to tell the story or click to get to the story. The image is becoming the headline.

So all this change is fine – change is the only constant after all. But if you’re not the one leading change, then change is being imposed upon you, and so are the costs of change.

For Google+, I’m now going to have to set time aside to redraw my images in the required size, review and update my profile to fit the new layout, etc. This is time I wasn’t planning to spend on these activities so it becomes an unwanted burden – a tax increase if you will for using the service.

For Facebook, I’m going to have to invest time in learning the new newsfeed and its image dimensions, then maybe I’ll have to adjust the way I size images for them to display properly. (Your image at a minimum needs to be the minimum pixel size or larger, never smaller. If smaller it will appear fuzzy.)

Now I choose to have a Facebook account and I choose to have a Google+ account (and a LinkedIn account) and I’m aware that because these companies own the properties, I’m a slave to their decisions. I either need to embrace these changes or leave, because at some point, the existing layouts will be de-supported and the change will be imposed. Google+ and Facebook are moving my cheese.

I think Facebook have made a better job at alerting their users to the change through their news event while Google+ launched in near-stealth mode. But both are burdening me with a cost I hadn’t budgeted for. And if you run business pages or make business posts on these networks, they’ve just imposed and unbudgeted cost on you too!

Interestingly, the media has still be slaying Marissa Mayer at Yahoo for the ‘return to the office’ memo – that, as I wrote last week, has been overblown – but take a look at this newsfeed from CBS (there’s an ad at the front). It shows the team, working in the war room, a messy collaborative environment necessary to bring this idea to fruition. If Yahoo wants to compete with Facebook and Google, the Yahoos will need to return to the war rooms from their couches and coffee bars. No question.