The findings from an Eye Track Shop study (findings reported by AllThingsD) demonstrates how users perceive Google+ and Facebook differently – or, as the case happens to be, how they don't perceive them differently at all.
The Eye Track Shop Study
Eye Track Shop, a company that provides eye-tracking technology that interacts with the webcams of participants, has taken a look at how users interact with the interfaces of Facebook and Google+. The study created heatmaps based on the average behavior of 54 participants. The conclusion is that users behave almost identically on Google+ and Facebook.
Here is the aforementioned heatmap:
As you can see, the majority of the attention goes to the main feed, with the notifications on the left and right getting the next most substantial amount of attention. The items further down on the right column (for Facebook, ads, and for Google+, invitations to sub-features of the network) get the least amount of attention.
But it doesn't necessarily happen in that chronological order:
The study found that users look to their stream first, their left notifications second, their right notifications third, their status bar fourth, and the bottom-right of the page last. However, it all happens very quickly.
Most users looked at an advertisement on Facebook about five seconds into looking at the page, and maintained focus for one second. The behavior was similar when Facebook ads were overlaid in a similar position on the Google+ interface.
This means that users are perceiving Google+ as being virtually identical in its UI – unsurprisingly, considering how similar the interfaces look. More importantly, it means that Google+ could take advantage of a similar monetization with ads if they chose to.
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