Facebook Wins Last Week's Social Media Wars--Google+ in 2nd and Twitter Distant 3rd

When Google launched its social network Plus in late June, the social networking space was invigorated with much needed competition.

Sure, there was Twitter and Facebook, but comparing a site that took five years to have embeddable images and still doesn’t have threaded comments to Facebook is like comparing your local YMCA pickup team to the world-champion Dallas Mavericks.

Google Plus is a worth competitor to Facebook already, and Twitter is clearly aware that its chances are slipping away.

It seemed like a lock that Twitter would be Yahoo to Facebook’s Google position -- but now Twitter looks like it might wind up being Lycos or Infoseek. We guess that’s why they fired the product team.

Every week (or two) we’re going to handicap who won the last week in social media with a back-of-the-envelope (BOE) rating system. Please tell us what we missed and where you disagree in the comments below.

The ranking for the past two weeks looks like this:

1. Facebook: 7.75 points
2. Google+: 4.5 points
3. Twitter: 2.5 points

Facebook: 7.75 points

+.5 for Paul Ceglia being dropped by his fourth -- yes, fourth -- law firm. Oh yeah, he got crushed by his classmates and neighbors in this Buffalo News piece.

+.5 for launching a Facebook for Business resource center to help businesses learn how to set up accounts, create pages and gain fans. In 2010, Facebook had more than 1.5M local businesses on its site, and this is a clear F-U to Google+, which suffered through a bitter, bitter fight with publishers over its lack of business pages (and inability to communicate with said pissed-off publishers).

+1 for updating the functionality on its developer site, allowing developers to create and add test users.

+.25 for announcing plans to expand the company’s office space in Seattle. GeekWire reported that Facebook wants the office to accommodate an additional 200 people. The current office only has space for about 40.

+.25 for getting the ball rolling on a second data center in Oregon. Construction is set to start in October.

+1 for launching a bug bounty program that pays $500 a bug (depending on how big a bug).  Those who find a bug must agree not to go public until Facebook fixes the problem.

+1 for teaming up with Vodafone to create a cheap smartphone dedicated to Facebook users in emerging markets.

+.25 for getting a little closer to integrating Netflix -- a task that should be getting easier given Reed Hastings is joining the Facebook board.

+1 for allowing users to display “Expected: Child" in their family section. Should mean no more FB pages for unborn children (a bizarre Facebook TOS violation!).

+1 for allowing users to now tag family members based on relation rather than name. Users simply tag “brother” or “cousin,” which opens the tagging typeahead and displays friends the user has previously confirmed as a particular family member.

+1 for “assisting” in the arrest of a NYC fugitive, who taunted police on Facebook by posting the status: “Catch me if you can, I’m in Brooklyn.” Police found him sitting in front of his computer, browsing Facebook.

Google Plus: 4.5 points

-.5 for the Picasa "tagging is sharing" fiasco, where tagged photos from Picasa automatically appear in Google+ streams (ouch). Frustrated users posted their privacy concerns to the Picasa help forum, where Google employee Brian Rose posted they are working to address the issue.

+1 for updating the speed of the +1 button -- now 3x faster!.

+1 for launching a “What’s new in Google+” blog so rabid users have a place to obsess over minor details that no one cares about.

+1 for throwing a kick-ass beach party for its employees where Larry and Sergey went surfing (and Sergey took his shirt off -- hawt!).

+1 for creating the phrase, “I’d +1 that" at the big beach party.

+1 for +Bradley Horowitz and +Vic Gundotra talking-it-out with +Robert Scoble about nick-names and identity. This tempest in a tea pot has now dissipated and we can all obsess about Ford being allowed to have a business page!

Twitter: 2.5 points

+1 for finally launching in-stream advertising (the most obvious idea that Facebook or Google would have launched two years ago). Promoted tweets come from brands that users are already following and appear at (or near) the top of your timeline. With nearly an $8B valuation and no buzz around filing to go public, all signs point to Twitter having a serious monetization problem. In-stream advertising is a loooooong over-due step.

+.5 for announcing an upcoming feature that will warn people if a tweet contains a link to “possibly sensitive” information. This will help tweeters avoid content that might not be safe for work (and, say it together now, “protect the children”).

+1 for having a dopey celebrity DJ demonstrate the awesome power Twitter has for causing a riot. Hey, not all flashmobs can be for justice and freedom in the Middle East!