Facebook vs. Twitter vs. Google+

There are plenty of things that are different among the services, but the fundamental difference is relationships and how they affect what people see.

Facebook: Friends are bi-directional relationships in which both sides have to agree to the relationship. In general, the things you post are viewable by all your friends, and show up in the News Feed if Facebook chooses to show it.

Twitter: Following is a unidirectional relationship in which only the follower needs to agree to the relationship (mostly). In general, the things you post are viewable by everyone, and show up on the Home page of your followers.

Google+: Circles are a unidirectional relationship in which the circle owner defines the relationship. The things you post publicly are viewable by everyone on the Internet, but show up on the Home page of people who put you in a circle. The things you post to one or more circles are viewable only by people in those circles, but again only show up on the Home page of people who put you in a circle. To further complicate things, you can add people to circles who are not Google+ users and opt to share things via email with them. Unlike Google+ users, they don’t have to opt in to get your posts.

So while Google+ superficially seems like a social network site akin to Facebook (it has profiles, friends, photos, sharing links/photos/whatever into the stream), the relationship model is much closer to Twitter’s. The question is whether real people will adopt Google+ with its targeted broadcasting model and full set of features over Twitter with its simple broadcasting model and lack of “clutter.”

All that said, it’s a little misguided to compare Google+ directly with Facebook or Twitter. A ubiquitous Google bar with notifications on Google, YouTube, Blogger, Gmail, Maps, News, Android, Chrome, etc. should go a long way toward increasing unique visitors and time spent across all Google properties.

Six Quick Tips for Mega Jump

Mega Jump is an awesome free game for iPhone and Android that I’ve been playing a lot lately. You’re basically a little critter that jumps and grabs coins. Each coin you grab boosts you vertically a little farther, and you try to keep jumping from coin to coin to keep going. Along the way you can get power-ups that will help you get coins, go higher, or protect you from harm.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Don’t “tilt” the game. You’ll figure out what this means.
  • For every 100 coins you collect, you’ll get 10 MP which you can spend on stuff in the store.
  • Characters don’t have any special powers, so don’t buy them expecting any.
  • Power-up upgrades change the power-ups you find in the game, they’re not weapons you can activate from your inventory.
  • Upgrade the magnet power-ups first. They’ll help you get coins faster, which means you’ll be able to upgrade the other power-ups faster.
  • Enter my mega code 6vgk7 to get 500 MP right from the start. Full disclosure: I’ll get 500 MP, too.

What are you waiting for? Download it now from the iPhone App Store and Android Market.

The Bigger Bubble

Recently I’ve been mulling over housing prices and I think it’s entirely possible that we’re in for further decreases in home prices. I could be wrong, but let me throw this out there and see what people say.

In the current political climate, with all the emphasis on having less government intervention, lower government spending, and lower deficits, we could see big reductions in, or the elimination of:

  • The secondary mortgage market as defined by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • The mortgage interest tax deduction

If this happens, there will be big drops in housing prices. I don’t see a free market coming up with the 30-year fixed-rate no-prepayment-penalty loan. Instead we’ll see shorter terms, higher rates, or much greater fees, which will in turn reduce the number of potential buyers. Especially when borrowers can no longer pretend that the interest rate deduction somehow makes the monthly payment “not much more than rent.”

So what do you think? Will Congress actually man up and kill Fannie, Freddie, and the interest deduction in the name of free markets and responsible governance, or will they continue to pander to the home-owning public and bolster the status quo?

Google and Apple are growing the pie

From February 2010 to March 2011, the Blackberry went from 42.1% market share to 27.1% market share. But when you look at the chart, it’s clear that this is mostly due to new smart phone users opting to go for Android and iPhone. Those devices grew by 28m users combined while the overall smart phone market grew by 27.1m users. Still, the fact that RIM can’t get any new Blackberry users is a clear sign that they’re in trouble.

comScore press releases

Update 7/5/2011:

Here’s a Google Chart with some updated numbers.

Click through to view the full-size version.

Damn. Dropped my iPhone.

From a design standpoint, I really dig how the iPhone 4 looks, with its front and back glass surfaces, wraparound metal band, etc.

From a practical standpoint, it sucks. I can’t count the number of times I’ve placed the phone on a flat surface only to have it slide off. The thing is like an air hockey puck. Fortunately it’s usually only fallen a few inches, so no harm done.

But it’s also slipped out of my hand a couple times when I’m pulling it out of my pocket. One time I had my earphones plugged into it, which basically slowed it down enough so that when it hit the ground it only chipped one corner of the back glass.

On Sunday I wasn’t so lucky:

Yep. There’s a crack running from one corner of the back glass all the way up to the camera.

I have the Apple iPhone 4 bumper, and I do use it, but normal 2.5mm jacks and the older 30 pin connectors don’t fit, so I’m constantly forced to take it off if I’m not using the supplied earbuds or 30 pin connector. In this case, I took it off on Saturday to play podcasts in the car through the auxiliary input and dropped it Sunday at the Brentwood Country Mart.

Fortunately for me, I was able to schedule a Monday morning appointment at the Genius Bar, where the nice Apple Store Repair guy replaced the back glass for free (normally $29). I also bought a new case from Amazon, which shouldn’t have the same issues as the Apple bumper.