Thursday, April 12, 2012

I never promised you a walled garden

With something of the "New Coke" about it, Google has announced that its social media sharing service Google+ is to be relaunch.....I mean, to be redesigned. Or have something done unto it so as to make the whole experience so much better to explore.

I use Google+ (subtle hint, add me to circles!), though by "use" I mean "visit", and by "visit" I mean "glance". It's not the fault of the people I have in circles already, as such, so much as by the time I've already checked Facebook, Twitter, BBC News and/or Google's own News tab via google.com, there is left very little purpose to visit G+.  A Windows Vista style relaunch (Ribbons! Less intuitive buttons!) does not flash 'success' in neon lights to me: it suggests mild panic with a chance of meatballs.

With users spending only three minutes a month on the site, one does wonder how exactly Google can keep up the idea that the wheel they are parading around is a new invention. If we now accept their line that G+ is not a social media site, but rather a service through which new information can be shared and experienced, then how do they explain the dire figures associated with this?

You can see in every post on this site a sharing button provided by Blogspot owners Google. Not many people have ever pressed that ("LOL, because the content's rubbish, ARF", etc). The lack of take up here is no isolated problem, though, honest. Example - here's some screen grabs from just today, from the Huffington Post and my local newspaper's website, so very much two different scales on the readership front. Notice how many numbers appear next to the G+ button.






The natural 'go to' place for sharing news is not the site associated with search engines and (increasingly) mobile platforms. The figures here are not isolated examples - the take-up of G+ might be 170 million, actual use on a full-time basis is somewhere in the thousands. Facebook is where people expect and to an extent demand responses to posts and recommendations. Twitter is where people go to seek out, exploit and utilise the buzz around a story or trend. G+ is...where people visit when they want to....erm.....share a YouTube video? Or discuss an Android product release?

It's evident that the Googleplex is a site of dreams and wonder, whose successes speak for themselves. And there's no denying their success in forcing most other search engines in the English language to seek a bed amongst cardboard dwellers under ring-road flyovers. In the field of social media, however, G+ is another sign (following the disaster zone of Google Wave) of a company which just cannot get it right. It should not be so difficult to admit defeat. They do blogging platforms pretty well (I say, covering a little ass given they have hosted me for sometime now) and YouTube hasn't been completely ruined. Social med....Experience and Content Sharing Platform? Next to useless.

Turn the plus into an 'off' switch, Google, it's the kindest way.

1 comment:

christof_ff said...

Sooner or later, they'll buy Twitter or the like.