Whelp, that’s that.
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+.
Pretty sure that’s the first commitment to Google+ I’ve seen from a mainstream brand, and on printed packaging.
Get it straight people.
This here Google+ is an Android community.
Not a snapple community.
So you and yer bullshit can git outtahere.
To make sure we can all play along, the Explore/What’s Hot section is the giant button in the left sidebar titled “Explore”:
- This analyst firm says iOS sucks Android’s balls
- Here’s how to root your latest Galaxy Nexus Extra HD Petro Mega Dung Conquistador XP with the latest 4.2.1.00.1.-52.beta gamma 52 ROM so you get three extra wallpapers
- God it’s so awesome Facebook and its 1 billion stupid sheeple users all died yesterday let’s write a song about it
- Hey look a Mercedes ad (comments: Jesus, Apple people are retarded)
- Holy buttnuggets that Jobs sure was a jackass
- The Linux phone is going to happen (but don’t forget Apple people hump soccer balls)
- Ooooohhh, money shot all over Facebook users’ faces
- Here’s an infographic proving scientifically that you could buy 1,000,000 gumballs for the price of an iPad I’m pretty sure there is something scientifically wrong with Apple and its sheeple customers
- The 354 most popular Android phones for the next two hours
- This heartbreaking thing happened or will happen so please click 1,000,000 millions likes er I mean “+1s” so everyone knows that this isn’t the same type of brain-dead 21st century chain letter that happens on Facebook because it’s different here
Google could try to look more desperate to increase Google+ usage, but it would have to start paying me
This is the page I was greeted with upon checking in on a couple Google+ friends today.
Incendiary puff piece garbage.
Google can cram its social network down users’ throats all it wants, but they can always opt to not click G+ buttons on websites, and, arguably, they’re not flocking to the actual social stream.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is so desperate to boost Google+ adoption that Page floated the idea a while ago of forcing users to sign into their accounts to view business reviews. Google used to be a search engine. Think about that.
People are avoiding Google+ just fine, same as they avoid Facebook or any other social network. It’s too bad Google chooses to keep avoiding that fact. If Google keeps up this hostility, don’t be surprised if customers slowly start turning to alternatives. Some already are. Shifts like this never happen overnight, but they do happen. Just ask Apple.
[Update: In the interest of fairness, Google released a big update to Google+ for iOS shortly after I wrote this. It seems most, but not all, of the Android features made it over, which of course takes some of the wind out of this piece’s sales. However, I think there are enough other examples, such as Google Now, to make this worth discussing.]
And so it… continues. Google announced nearly two dozen new features for Google+ just before the holiday shutdown and didn’t breathe a word about iOS, though Matt added a mention at the bottom after I noted it on Twitter. This is not an accusation of Matt or TNW, but an observation of Google’s shift in mission and how it’s affecting end users.
Google’s mission is no longer “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” or at the very least, that is no longer its primary directive. Google’s business model is to collect as much user information as possible and sell it, which is and always has been diametrically opposed to the way Apple, parts of Microsoft (don’t forget Bing), and a seemingly dwindling number of companies care to do business.
iOS prevents Google from collecting as much of that incredibly valuable users information as it wants, which the company needs to power its ad network. Google has reportedly been unsuccessful in convincing Apple to relent, so iOS is no longer a priority for new products and features. We saw it with Google Maps—Google knew for years that Apple was building its own maps. But even if you don’t buy that, it saw the same public confirmations as the rest of us much earlier this year from Apple’s public demonstrations of iOS 6. Now we’re seeing that same lethargy with Google+ releases.
Right down to the core of how they do business and the regard they have (or, in Google’s case, don’t have) for customers, Google and Apple might as well be oil and water. Don’t believe me? Just try calling or simply emailing Google’s customer service department to ask; I’m sure you can find contact information somewhere.
Everyone has known it for years, and now we’re seeing the most concrete results yet of this opposition in the end user experience. If you live in Google’s world, the company has clearly lost interest in providing the best experience it can for iOS users in parallel with its other platforms. That’s why Apple had to build its own maps product, and this stark difference in doing business and regard for users is why I’m not holding my breath for things to improve anytime soon.
A slick observation from Alex Chitu at Google Operating System on the evolution of the message that Gmail displays when you reach inbox zero.
Google has a new TV commercial for Google+. Seems a bit convoluted when it comes to getting its point across, though it has the same down-to-earth feel of Google’s previous spots.
Also: is this the first TV commercial for a social network, at least from the big players?