Seriously, sometimes I get SO disgusted with Google pretty much forcing everyone down their path – and then completely changing path, not finishing the path, or otherwise making all your efforts learning their “vision” completely wasted. I do have to admit, G+ has never been my favorite thing to deal with. It was almost implemented like when Microsoft brought their not ready for primetime web browser, Internet Explorer, to the party with Netscape so many years ago. It wasn’t that it was bad, just so many issues, so much incompatibility, the quirks… No, actually it WAS bad. But that’s another story. You just can’t muscle into the room, declare you’re here, and then expect everyone to skip merrily down your path.
I have always felt like it was a rush to get G+ out before Facebook got too far off. Oh, and to ENSURE that we GET everyone on board as a user, we’ll make it pretty much mandatory for ANYTHING Google. If you want to use anything Google, you WILL have G+. If they had left Google+ as an optional social media platform, I think it would have had moderate acceptance, but probably would have no where NEAR as many users as it does now. It still lags behind Facebook in a large way for general seeing what your friends are up to. At least MY friends. Maybe I don’t have the requisite geeky circle of friends, but if I want to see what’s happening, I head to Facebook.
Maybe that rush to get it out the door never really allowed a lot of the integrations to be better thought out or carried out. I specifically am thinking about their Local integration. If you HAD a local Google listing you were rather hamstrung by the limitations of that format, while new users (read “those that did NOT go down the Google road in the beginning”) could easily create their G+ business accounts with TONS of information that was just not possible in the original version. After being promised for a year that migrations would take place (ostensibly ANY DAY NOW), that finally happened – about a month or month and a half ago for some of my accounts? Seems like those that had been drinking the KoolAid all along might have gotten their glasses filled a little sooner, yes?
Rumors are that Google might be planning to kill Google+ or at least put it into a Walking Dead-like “zombie” mode, as TechCrunch characterizes it — and something Google denies. There are some good reasons for Google to do this, and potentially, it could allow Google to better fight on the new social battlefield, that of single-purpose social apps. Let’s play out the scenario to imagine what might happen.
The Rumor: Killing Google+
For the essential background, be sure to read Google+ Is Walking Dead from TechCrunch, which describes a move to drop Google+ as a product but keep the platform side still going:
What we’re hearing from multiple sources is that Google+ will no longer be considered a product, but a platform — essentially ending its competition with other social networks like Facebook and Twitter. The TechCrunch article goes into depth about the idea of ending forced integrations of Google+ into things like Gmail or YouTube and how teams of Google+ people on Hangouts or photos are being shuffled over to Android.
Like that friend that you probably have that always has grand plans and leaves them about half done – and then moves on to some OTHER grand plan, Google is shifting resources away from the G+ platform. And just like your buddy’s half-finished addition to the family room, G+ will likely sit half done until it’s either put down or sucked into other products. Other projects like Google Talk, the Google Wonder Wheel, and other applications either disappeared or ended up in some half-finished state that has eroded MY faith in Google over the years. My current concern is Google Voice – which has gone into that “We’re not real interested in it and not working on it” mode which portends it being absorbed into another product or even being dropped. I, like many others, have been now using this particular service for a while and any type of interruption would be a real problem. There are bits of GV starting to appear in recent Googel Hangouts code. Will it be “backwards compatible” type changes or will this be the NEW face of hangouts which will negate the way GV can be used now? Enough on that… The final fate of G+? No telling. Our fate? No telling. All the “Must learn how to…” with the G+ platform could well be for naught.
In the long run, the issues with Google+ didn’t especially stem from the design of the product itself, but more from the way it interjected itself into your day-to-day Google experience like some unwelcome hairy spider. Perhaps these changes will scale back the grating party crashing?
On the PLUS side (no pun intended), this expectedly WILL cut down on the forced integrations of everything with the G+ platform. I can’t begin to adequately express the frustration that was the whole YouTube integration/business account integration. If you had a business local setup going on, signed up for YouTube account (since it wasn’t integrated), then you got left in the lurch with G+ moves. Then here it comes and it is now creating accounts for you and mis-associating them. We had several companies with duplicate accounts when the dust settled.
Poor transfer of information to users. Poor execution. Grand plans, but never carried out in any way that inspired me with any confidence. Agile development methodologies are one thing. It’s wholly another to get people working with your tools and pretty much strong-arming them into your big schemes (particularly those of us in SEO) and then changing them. Now Google is off on its merry way to another big plan. I can hardly wait for “G++” in another couple of years. Likely by that point, my toaster will have an IP and it better darned well have a G++ account to access my toasting preferences.
Read the full article over on Tech Crunch – Google+ is Walking Dead
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