Google+ vs Facebook: Which one is best for photo and video

Google+ introduced a bevy of photo- and video-related features recently, spurring the age-old question as to whether it's a better social network than Facebook.

Truth be told...Google+ and Facebook can't easily be measured in terms of their status as social networks. Facebook is all about connecting people, while Google+ is attempting to be a hub for your entire online life. The most recent example is the integration of Google+ comments on YouTube. Some saw it as a streamlining of products and services under Google's umbrella, and more astute industry observers realised it could have bigger implications. 

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Instead of likening Google+ to Facebook entirely, we've just gone the photos and video route. Google+ has indeed amped up its offering for both, though how do those new features compare to what Facebook currently offers? 

Pocket-lint has pitted the two social network Goliath's against each other, so read on to find out which one is the best for photo and video. 

Read: Google+ adds 18 new features for Video, Photos, Hangouts and more

Upload quality

Both Google and Facebook offer multiple methods for uploading photos either on the web or through mobile. Many users may want to upload at full resolution, but this is impossible with Facebook. It compresses everything.

For better quality photos on Facebook, simply check the High Quality box when you create an album. Unfortunately, you can only upload about 1000 photos per album. See Facebook's Help page for more details.

By default, Google+ uploads and stores at standard size with a resolution designed to look great on tablets (2048 pixels on the longest edge). You can store an unlimited number of standard size photos on Google+.

If you prefer to upload at Full size on Google+, just enable it. Full size uploads are available when you upload on your desktop or with Auto Backup on your Android device, and they will count against your Google Drive storage quota. See Google+'s Support page for more details.

As for uploading videos, Google+ on the web and mobile features unlimited video uploads, while Facebook doesn't clearly specify upload limits.

Google+ users can upload an unlimited number of videos that are less than 15 minutes long and 1080p or lower resolution. Videos longer than 15 minutes long or taken at a higher resolution than 1080p will count against users' Google Drive storage quota. See Google's Drive Storage page for more details.

Facebook users can upload videos on both the web and mobile in HD. To avoid the rescaling of videos by Facebook's encoder, use a file with the larger edge of the video not exceeding 1280 pixels. See Facebook's Uploading Video page for more details.

(Note: Don't forget that Google also owns YouTube, the king of Internet video.)

Syncing

You can upload photos manually on Facebook and Google+ (as mentioned above), or you can use Photo Syncing and Auto Backup, respectively. They allow users to mindlessly capture with their phones, while Google+ and Facebook auto-upload everything to a private album.

Just turn on Photo Syncing in the Facebook app to save mobile photos to a private section of Facebook Photos. Users can also easily share synced photos to their timeline from the desktop computer. See Facebook's Photo Syncing page for more details.

Similarly, on the Google+ app, both photos and videos from a phone are auto-uploaded to a private album on Google+. See Google+'s Auto Backup page for more details.

Management

Google+ has many management features, with the most interesting one being Highlights.

Highlights helps users find photos they'll want to share by auto-curating the images they upload to Google+ photos. It basically de-emphasises duplicates, blurry images and poor exposures, and it instead - you guessed it - highlights the photos you will likely care more about. See Google+'s Highlights page for more details.

Aside from Highlights, users can also create a new album from Auto Backups, change an album name, download an album, delete an album and organise an album. See Google+'s Managing Albums page for more details.

Facebook doesn't have a management feature like Highlights. It simply makes users manually organise their photos and videos. Specifically, they can tag photos and videos and create or delete albums. Users can also move photos and videos between albums. See Facebook's Organising Albums page for more details.

Sharing

Google+ users can share their photos and videos with the public, extended circles and circles. They can also share to people outside of Google+ by creating a link. There's even options for sharing with an event. Check out the video below for a quick preview on sharing using Google+.

Facebook has a sharing feature called Shared Albums. A shared album is an album that multiple people can upload photos to. When you make an album shared, just add your friends as contributors. This allows them to add, view and edit photos in the album. See Facebook's Shared Albums page for more details.

As for sharing videos, Facebook users can tag, edit Privacy settings - and that's about it.

Editing

Google+ via Chrome for desktop boasts many tools for editing. There's a lightbox view for rotating and cropping photos, a photo editor for altering brightness, details, hues, etc., and a bunch of creative adjustment controls such as filters. See Google+ Editing Photos page for more details.

Google+ also recently introduced photo-editing features that are automatically applied to any photo uploaded to Google+. Check out Pocket-lint's coverage of all 18 new features. One of the most interesting tools will auto-remove people in the background of photos, if desired.

For more professional photo-editing controls, Google offers the free Snapseed app for iOS and Android and the Nik Collection for $149.

As for videos, Google can now auto-edit videos uploaded by Google+ users. The feature turns shaky camera smartphone clips into spliced, shareable videos with soundtracks and effects. Check out Pocket-lint's coverage of the all new video-editing features.

Facebook on the web doesn't offer much in the photo-editing department, but it does have Facebook Camera and Instagram. Facebook acquired popular photo-editing app Instagram in 2012, and the service has since reached approximately 150 million active users.

Instagram for iOS and Android features editing capabilities like filters, as well as sharing and all the usual stuff, but it also recently added the ability to record, edit and share videos up to 15 seconds long.

As for Facebook Camera, it's a standalone photo app that lets Facebook users post a bunch of photos at once, see friends’ latest photos in one place, play with crops and filters, tag friends, add captions, etc. Check out below for more information.

Standalone apps

Google+ doesn't offer any standalone app for photos or videos, because it bundles all of its uploading, management, editing and sharing features directly within the Google+ app for iOS. Check out the video below for more information on Google+ for Android.

Facebook has a standalone app for photos called Facebook Camera. Its entire premise is about letting users share photos while on the go, post multiple photos at a time and see friends’ latest photos in a single feed.

Facebook Camera users can post to specific albums, edit their photos, add location data, tag friends, designate who can view certain photos and more. Check out the video below for more information.

As for standalone video apps, as mentioned earlier, Facebook has Instagram, which recently added the ability to record, edit and share videos up to 15 seconds long.

Video calling

Video calling is not currently available through the Facebook app, Facebook Camera app or Facebook Messenger app. You can video chat in Facebook on the web, though. See Facebook's Video Chat page for more details.

Google+ has Hangouts. It's a built-in feature that allows users to make free group video calls across computers and Android phones. It also works right inside of Gmail. You can upgrade Chat to Hangouts by clicking on your photo icon in Gmail's chat list. See Google's Hangouts page for more information.

Google+ recently also announced updates to the Hangouts app, Hangouts Broadcast experience and Hangouts' video calls. The Hangout app added supports GIFs and SMS. Google+ also gave users the ability to plan Hangouts with a dedicated landing page, promotion tools and management options (like adding and removing participants). Also, HD is now available for all video calls.

The magic in Google's Auto-Awesome feature is now in the Hangout video experience, too. This will do things like boost light, enable black and white, turn on the blur or focus effect features, etc. Check out Pocket-lint's coverage for more information about the new Hangouts features.

As for Apple devices, there's also a standalone Hangouts for iOS app.

Conclusion

Google+ has everything but a standalone photo and video app, which it really can't be discounted for because it offers features in its Google+ for iOS and Android app. Facebook on the other hand has limitations in upload quality, management, sharing and video calls. 

The obvious winner is...Google+.

Does that mean you should abandon Facebook altogether? No. It just means you shouldn't use it as a primary tool for getting the most out of your photo and video collection. 



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