(Note: Editorial for editorializing)
Social Networks are a big part of the our community. While it may not be directly yo-yo related, the social networking service battle is relative to how we interact with each other as a community. When Google announced Google Plus, I was looking forward to it. Excited even. Facebook is crowded with spam and virus-ish applications. Google seemed like a good choice to create a product to replace Facebook, one giant to face down another. I use a lot of Google products like Picasa Adsense, Analytics, Gmail, Maps and such and even encourage others to use the same. Having watched Google bloom from a simple search engine to a full blown internet giant, I had high expectations for their social network.
Then came Google Wave. It was complicated, not user friendly, and didn’t work half the time.
Google proceeded to jedi mind trick everyone to forgetting about Google Wave and started working on Google Plus.
This time my expectations were lowered but I still had hopes that this new Google project would catch on. Google Plus started out pretty solid. Clean interface, easy to use, but lacking a bit in the features Facebook has gotten me used to. I stayed on with hope that it would be resolved. I ran into a few bugs, problems with reading the whole thread of a link, problems with Picasa’s integration, ect. I started adding geek celebrities to my circles like Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton, but immediately noticed that the long reply threads from every one of their posts could not be shrunken and was a pain to scroll past. (They have since added a minimize arrow but honestly I didn’t notice.)
Then Google Plus attacked and digital harmed my friend Doctor Popular. Doc had not only his Google Plus account shut down, but all his other Google accounts shut down as well. Years of email, pictures, documents, gone. They also blocked him from reading Google operated pages. I imagine it was like losing a digital arm.
What was his crime? He used the name Doctor Popular. Google Plus’ restrictive terms of service limit users to one account each, and does not allow pseudo names. They want their users to use names they are commonly known by. Doctor Popular is commonly known as… Doctor Popular. Not only in the yo-yo world but across other geek spectrums as well. He even has a sandwich named after him. Even worse, Google’s right hand didn’t seem to know what it’s left hand was doing and the result was inconsistent answers that came across as actions between trolling and teasing.
Frustrating problems, hurt feelings, creating a social network giant is serious business. Google should not make it’s customers feel like criminals.
All this though is not the sole reason why I am breaking up with Google Plus. Primarily, it is about the Apps. A few years ago when Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone and said it would be ” Your life in your phone” I could not conceive how accurate that statement was. I rely on apps like Instagram, and Meebo, which don’t interface and update to Google Plus. Facebook is so deeply integrated into smart phone apps that I don’t think Google Plus ever stood a chance. Games, business applications, photo apps, many many apps are already set up for Facebook. In fact, the only reason my Google Plus page gets any updates at all is due to a Chrome app called Publish Sync. Facebook’s interface is almost second nature at this point, and from a business stand point Google’s stance against using pseudo names does not work in the interests of the business user. Everything Google told us we needed in a social network, Facebook just modifies their code to include it.
Google has products I love, but Google Plus is not one I am willing to endure a painful relationship with.
So Google Plus, I will watch you to see if you resolve your problems. I will leave the box checked on Publish Sync, and I will leave the +1 badge on my blog, but as far as Google Plus for my personal use; I don’t think it is working out between us at this point.
It’s not me, it’s you.