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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Still Think Facebook's Not Threatened by Google+? Facebook Now Supports "+" Tagging

As a Google+ user (Author of Google+ For Dummies), and also avid Facebook user (Author of Facebook Application Development For Dummies), I often find myself getting my keys mixed up going back and forth from Google+ to Facebook. This is particularly frustrating for tagging friends. When Google+ launched, I found myself constantly putting in the "+" button to tag friends on Facebook, only to realize Facebook's form of tagging was the "@" symbol. It appears some time in the recent past Facebook has now adopted the "+" (plus) sign to allow tagging in status updates.

From the start, Google+ supported both formats. This is no surprise, as Google+ had the most to gain from trying to adopt users that were used to Facebook's tagging format. At the same time, the "+" sign added a level of branding to the Google+ experience making it unique to Google+.

It would seem that some Facebook employees are also enjoying Google+ perhaps a little too much, because someone likely got annoyed enough (or maybe their user testing showed they had a problem) to where they felt the need to support the "+" symbol as well when tagging your friends on Facebook. Now, to tag your friends on Facebook, you can either tag them by starting to type with the "@" symbol followed by their name, or starting with the "+" sign followed by their name.

I think it was awfully nice of Facebook to think of us Google+ users as they integrated this. I wonder how long this has been happening. I only realized it after doing it a few times and not even realizing I was doing it. I always argue Facebook and Google aren't competitors - that would be nice if Facebook's just being nice for this reason. However, I have a feeling Facebook is seeing some pressure from the other Google+ users using Facebook and running into the same issue.

Either way, I'm happy to not have to think twice now whenever I use that "+" sign to tag my friends.

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