Let’s face it…people hate change. Especially unexpected change.

People also “hate” Facebook. Well, it’s more of a love/hate relationship. After all, there are 750-million of us over there, and as much as we say we hate Facebook, well…we’re still there, even though Facebook tends to make a lot of small, and not-so-small, changes without any notice.

Over the past week or so Facebook has yet again begun to roll-out some changes to its users. Everything from a new “subscription” option and sharing features to “smart lists” of friends.

And of course, as with any change on Facebook, there is the requisite amount of whining. Even some friends and family were complaining.

Stop. Right now. Stop. Stop the whining.

I’m not some sort of blind apologist for Facebook, but I happen to like the platform, both as an individual user, and as someone who works with businesses to use Facebook for their marketing and customer service efforts.

Here’s the thing: Facebook today is far different from the Facebook of several years ago. Why? Because they have not sat still. They haven’t rested on their laurels. They continue to innovate and seek change, because they understand that NOT changing isn’t an option. Technology advances. Our needs and desires change, and so they have to keep up.

Growing up we used to drive to Florida every summer. I remember our old yellow Bonneville. No air conditioning. Three boys in the back seat. In the days before I-95 went the whole way. It was a long…hot…trip.

But things have changed. I’m not even sure you can buy a car that doesn’t have AC anymore. And they’ve added all sorts of comfort features, and engine features, etc. Today’s cars get more miles to the gallon. And the roads? Well, the trip to Florida is a much easier, quicker trip. But I’m sure there were years when the trip was a nightmare as they built the roads and created “change”.

The point is, change is necessary. Facebook changes, and people whine. Then they get used to it, and they love it. Then Facebook changes again. And people whine.

As my friend Eric pointed out on Twitter:

I wonder if those same people feel that way about the car and medical industry…about their OWN business?

In most cases change is both inevitable AND necessary.

Remember: You don’t have to be there. Facebook is a free platform owned by someone else. You don’t own it. Facebook can do whatever the heck they please with the platform, and all of us are free to leave at any time. You might not like some of the changes, but odds are, you’ll get used to them. And, Facebook has also made changes that they’ve then changed again, because users weren’t happy. You are free to express your displeasure on any of the Facebook blogs or pages that deal with these things. I’ve done that, and I’ve seen them respond in kind.

What I find interesting, is that a lot of folks got all excited when Google + was opened up. There were a lot of features regarding “circles” and sharing and privacy that people LOVED about Google + as opposed to Facebook.

Guess what! The most recent Facebook changes seem to be responses to those features of Google+ that people like. They are taking notice and making changes that people seem to want.

While many were praising Google+ as a Facebook killer, I think it’s quite different. In fact, I think Google+ is the best thing to happen to Facebook in a long time. Before G+, Facebook had no real competition. When you have no competition, you can get lazy, and the concept of customer service becomes less important. If you’re the only pizza shop in town, you’ll get all the business. But if a new pizza shop moves in, suddenly you have to up your game. You need to improve the taste, or improve your prices, or improve your service…or all of the above. That’s where Facebook is now. People have been talking about what they like about Google+, and now Facebook is adding some similar features. Is it stealing? Only if they are copying proprietary patented innovations.

As for Google+, other than this week’s pseudo-release of their API, they’ve been awfully quiet. I’m not sure of the latest numbers, but I know they have more than 25-million users. In my mind, that’s really not much. Yes, it’s a big number, but remember, while G+ is a startup, it is part of Google. And Google has many more users than that. I would expect their growth to be much larger in a shorter period of time. I’m also not hearing much about Google+. I’m not seeing people talking about it much on Twitter or other platforms. And my gut feeling is that people are using it less. That a lot of folks were curious early on, but many have walked away, at least temporarily.

Right now I think Google+ is moving TOO slowly. They have helped Facebook innovate and solidify themselves as king of the Social Media hill. Unless G+ does something fast, it’s going to be hard for them to compete.

Please note: I’m NOT predicting the demise of Google +. I think it has more going for it than either Buzz or Wave did, but then again, that’s not much of a comparison. I think Google+ might be hear to stay, but it’s not doing anything to keep me there. On the other hand, Facebook continues to advance and make changes that are improving the experience for both users and businesses.

So don’t whine about these changes. Embrace them. Toy around with them. Learn them. Facebook has shown that they are smart and they will continue to move forward and change. Google+ was just the fire they needed to have lit under them.

Now, they get it.

What are your feelings on the latest changes with Facebook? How has your opinion of Google+ changed, if at all, over the past two months?