Google’s Plus Sized Failure

Google’s Plus Sized Failure

A month ago I was excited about Google+. It represented something new. Something shiny. Attractive. Google had finally created something that people outside of the tech industry could get on board with.

Today, just one month later, the once promising community has become useless to me. It’s just another proverbial flash in the pan on Google’s stove-top.

The only difference is that more than 25 million users have tried their hand at Google+. While impressive in their acceleration towards this scale – there’s little else to celebrate.

Google's Plus Sized FailureOne month ago today I decided to bring my blog back from more than a two year hiatus. The reason I brought it back was quite clear — Google+ had created enough momentum that I couldn’t ignore it. My opinions began to form and I felt compelled enough to publish them for the purpose of initiating some discussions.

My posts then have been pretty direct. I started by sharing Tom Anderson’s words on Facebook’s inherent advantages in the social space. I then followed up by wondering aloud — How would Google+ be monetized? Then, as I forced myself to use Google+ more and more I realized that there were some serious issues.

I then made a (strong) case for Google+ Stream Modifiers and later proved how “power plussers” are killing the vibe.

After all that writing, thought, analysis and discussion, you’d think I’d check in on Google+ regularly, right?


I have to set a calendar item to remind me to check Google+ Notifications.

Ridiculous, right?

This is the monster that Google has created with Google+. It’s almost a perfect clone of Facebook. That alone is laughable considering Google has cried “foul” accusing Microsoft of stealing their search results. The only thing that Google+ hasn’t figured out that Facebook has nailed? Users. Community engagement. Branding. Games. Discussions. Hell, even noisy chatter.

What they have done is alienated early adopters time and time again.

The icing on the cake for me is that Google has gone out of their way not to integrate Google+ with their paying Apps for Domain customers. Rather, they have required those customers to go out and create separate accounts to continue using the Google+ service. So now, rather than getting instant notifications on updates, users have to juggle multiple logins or rely on the annoying amount of email notifications just to stay connected with Google+.

I know I’m not the only one annoyed by all this. I’ve seen many ranting and raving on the issue and Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz has shared his displeasure directly on Google+.

On top of all that the core community and experience in Google+ hasn’t changed at all. The Brogans, Pirillos and Scobles of the world still dominate Streams for all of their followers. Everything “social” about it has become old, stale and cumbersome.

With that in mind, the ball is squarely in Google’s court. What they do from here on out is up to them.

15 thoughts on “Google’s Plus Sized Failure

  1. Eric I think something you really nailed is the fact that you have to remind yourself to go check Google +. It doesn’t fill a need or hole for me either and therefore ends up being one. more. thing. to do during the day. I’ve found myself only remembering to go to G+ when Twitter and FB are both quiet and that is mainly out of desperation. I mentioned in my #mozcon presentation that I considered G+ to be like a “third sock”. I mean basically that it’s great…has some neat features….but I don’t need it and therefore I don’t know what to do with that. If the tweet volume of that comment is any indication, it seemed to resonate with the audience. :)

  2. I *REALLY* wanted it to work out. I created an account, added a few people to circles and stalked for a while. Not long later I stated getting emails that every Tom, Dick, Harry and Nigerian Prince was adding me to their circles. I’m sure that they are all great guys, but I have no idea who they are. I suppose that’s the twitter wrapped up in facebook, stuffed inside a turkey…oh wait, that’s something else – sorry. But, it struck me as odd that so many people would want to add me, a relative nobody in the world, who had done nothing on the site to warrant any level of attention. Where is the value in that?

    What Google has done is just added more pellets to the shotgun blast of facebook when what we really need is more focused targeting.

    By the way – I have 150 invites if anybody wants one.

  3. @Jack – I’ve had the same problem. WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?????

    I don’t understand where they’re coming from or how they’re finding me. In addition…why in the world do they want to. I don’t update G+ hardly at all.

    Also – Eric if you got another very similar comment from me to this one you can delete either of your choosing. I got a weird error and couldn’t tell if it went through or not. It’s probably just your site freaking out from all this activity. ;)

  4. The payoff is that Google wants us to constantly see what these “Incoming” people have to offer. Also, Kristy, you’re spamming my site. While funny, you didn’t even get the email address right… for EITHER of my Google Accounts. :)

  5. Weird people follow me on Google+. I mean, weird people follow me on twitter and FB too, but at least most of them are recognizable. These are weird strangers. And some follow me over and over. It’s really kind of disturbing.

    Oh, and there’s that other thing. I have 140 character attention span. (And I was stretching to make that mark – previously it was 128 chars) I’m all about the one-liners. That’s why my own site is so woefully neglected. I have at least 27 draft posts started, and they all stop at 139 characters.

  6. It’s about time! I was starting to feel like the only one. Google really screwed this one up. So many people were willing and yet, what does it do? Nothing. I blame the huge Beta blowout. Too many people and not enough bells and whistles.

  7. All the above is correct. In the beginning, I was very hesitant to add people that I don’t personally know into any of my circles… but the sound of crickets chirping was so deafening in my stream that I had to add some industry people. Sure enough, the feeling was familiar… my stream had become polluted with industry people that can clearly dedicate 25 hours a day to blabbering non-sense and links to everything I could care less about.

    I really REALLY want g+ to be something more than it is. But I think they’re too late to the game to really do anything that can change the game into something new for us hardened tech types.

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