When Google launched Google Plus on a field trial basis, I was lucky to be one of the early adopters of Google’s latest social venture, as I managed to grab an invite through the help of an online friend. As usual, the craze was at its peak for the first few weeks and I proudly handed out invites to many of my social contacts, Twitter friends, Facebook buddies and so on.
My initial impression with Google Plus was:
Wow, this is really ground breaking and definitely better than Google Buzz or Google Wave. Google has done a terrific job assembling all its services under one umbrella and this might just turn out to be a Facebook killer.
4 months down the road and sadly, I am not using Google Plus anymore. I may use it if things evolve in future but as of now, it has achieved stagnancy.
My reasons are simple.
I don’t want to use another social service which has nothing new to offer. More than that, all my friends are more active on Facebook and Twitter; so it goes without saying that I would like to spend more time where my friends are engaging.
Several reports suggest that Google Plus is experiencing a dive in user interest, as hits continue to fall through staged intervals. The “madness” has slowed down and existing users are not engaging with their Google Plus friends and followers. The volume of new sign-ups has fallen down sharply and is way behind initial expectations.
A Usability Study Of Google Plus Circles And Core Features
The following presentation discusses some noteworthy points regarding the shortcomings of Google Plus user interface and why it is failing to leave a mark within its existing user base:
There is Nothing “New” In Google Plus
Why do you use Twitter and Facebook? Both are social sites where you can connect with friends and followers, but why is that Twitter and Facebook are not considered competitors while Facebook and Google Plus are often termed as “fierce competitors”?
Thing is – both Twitter and Facebook provide unique values. They are not just mere duplicates, but have something which no other social site has.
Agree or disagree, Google Plus certainly did not bring anything new to the table. Look closely and you will notice that Google Plus is heavily inspired from Facebook - same skeleton, different wardrobe.
You see, web users are pretty savvy these days. There will always be an initial rush to grab those early seats but if the movie is boring, the audience will abandon their seats sooner or later.
Google Plus is Not Solving A Problem (Not Yet that is)
Google (the search engine) solved the problem of discovering information.
Twitter solved the problem of discovering people who share similar interests.
Facebook solved the problem of discovering and sharing with people you know and care in real life.
LinkedIn solved the problem of connecting professionals on a virtual platform.
Each of these services have a unique goal, a unique voice and a unique mission of their own.
What problem is Google Plus solving? Until now, none.
You can call it the way you want it, but Google Plus is certainly not par with Google’s core philosophy -
It is very important to do one thing incredibly well.
You might also want to read the rant of Steve Yegge, a Google Engineer who accidentally posted the shortcomings of Google Plus in his Google Plus profile (The post was intended to be shared internally with Googlers only). The original post has been deleted but thanks to Google Plus’s re-share functionality and the viral nature of the web, it is still available.
Google+ is a prime example of our complete failure to understand platforms from the very highest levels of executive leadership (hi Larry, Sergey, Eric, Vic, howdy howdy) down to the very lowest leaf workers (hey yo). We all don’t get it. The Golden Rule of platforms is that you Eat Your Own Dogfood.
The Google+ platform is a pathetic afterthought.
Related: Google Plus Tips and Tricks