I follow 104 people on Google+, many of them early adopter tech types who jumped on basically at day one and brands looking to reach their community in every nook and cranny of the web. Over the last couple months, it seems like the majority of the accounts I follow, including brands, have dropped off the map.
For at least two to three weeks, any genuine posts (instead of “here’s a link to a thing I did or found elsewhere”) in my stream have come from just two friends. The 4-to-6 other people still posting anything are simply linking their own blog posts or copy-pasting posts they originally created on another service, usually Twitter.
The Explore (“What’s Hot”) list seems to have improved quite a bit since I wrote this three months ago, but I can’t tell if that’s because of the community or a tweak to the algorithm that powers the list. Regardless, it is more topically diverse and positive; a refreshing change.
Google+ sharing buttons have disappeared after a couple of recent high-profile redesigns, most notably Mashable. To my knowledge, other sites like BuzzFeed never adopted them in the first place. Some mainstream sites feature Google+ buttons without counters, like CNN and USA Today, while Fox News does not.
Sites that do have Google+ sharing buttons with counters, like Macworld, don’t seem to have broken out of a ratio of around 50:1 in terms of Facebook/Twitter shares versus Google+ shares.
I don’t have any hard numbers from an analyst firm, I only have my wits and eyeballs. But something seems up with Google+.
To make sure we can all play along, the Explore/What’s Hot section is the giant button in the left sidebar titled “Explore”: