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Online Loneliness At Google+ 456

Posted by timothy
from the like-second-life-with-fewer-graphics dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google+ is a lonely place. At least according to a new study that paints the social networking site as a virtual tumbleweed town. Using information culled from the public timelines of 40,000 randomly selected members, data analysis firm RJMetrics found that the Google+ population, which currently numbers 170 million, is largely disengaged, with user activity rapidly decaying—at least when it comes to public posts. According to RJMetrics, 30 percent of first-time Google+ public posters don't post again. Of those who make five public posts, only 15 percent post again. The average time lapse between posts is 12 days, and RJMetrics cites a cohort analysis showing that members tend to make fewer public posts with each successive month. And the response to public posts on Google+ is extremely weak. The average post receives fewer than one reply, fewer than one '+1' (the equivalent to Facebook's 'Like'), and fewer than one re-share — basically most posts in the study did not garner any response."
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Online Loneliness At Google+

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  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:33AM (#40028329)

    I use google + daily, always open in a tab.
    And each time i go look at the tab, there's something new up on my stream.

    So I guess some people do post. If you're not following anyone, no wonder it seems barren.

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:36AM (#40028387)

      I'm following over 30 people and not one has posted in over two months (March 5th, to be exact), yet the same people continue to post on facebook.

      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Fastolfe (1470) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:53AM (#40028631)

        Maybe you're following the wrong people? If your goal is just to read idle ramblings from your friends and family members, those people are probably unlikely to switch over to G+ or even cross-post. If your goal is to consume interesting content, you can't just add your family members to your circles and expect interesting content to start appearing. I see a lot of people (and organizations) producing interesting content, and while some cross-post between FB and G+, many have different content on each platform, or only post on G+.

        • by alonsoac (180192)

          can you please give a reference to one of these interesting content producers that only posts on G+ ?

          • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

            by sosume (680416) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:23AM (#40029085) Journal

            cyanogenmod?

          • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Fastolfe (1470) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:23AM (#40029101)

            I rather suspect that any names I provide here will be met with, "those people aren't interesting to me, therefore your point is invalid."

            But off the top of my head (and it's possible that some FB posts exist for these people, but I don't generally see much content from them):
            - David Hobby (Strobist)
            - Wil Wheaton
            - Ben Krasnow
            - Randall Munroe (xkcd, not active lately)

            The thing for me is that G+ and FB are just different. Different types of people are attracted to G+ versus Facebook, and so different types of content appear on G+. G+ is used in different ways than FB. A metric like "public posts" is pretty worthless when you consider that one of the big draws for G+ was its ability to keep your posts private to specific circles. People that find that valuable would have tried G+ early, might still prefer posting there, and would be invisible to a study like this.

            • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

              by TallDarkMan (1073350) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @03:10PM (#40032677) Homepage

              The thing for me is that G+ and FB are just different.

              I totally agree with that statement, and I would like to add my own take on it: Using both FB and G+, I am starting to feel like I felt about FB versus MySpace...the newer one (back then FB, now G+) seems much more "mature" than the older one (MySpace then, FB now). Over the past year, more and more, I look at the content on FB and feel like I'm back in high school...immature, drama-driven drivel that I get little from, in the way of information or even entertainment. However, the more I peruse G+, the more I see engaging content and offerings....and at the very least, when I read the posts, I'm not constantly thinking to myself, "How old are you?"

              I also disagree with another poster's assessment about the security/privacy. I feel like I've got a much better handle on who sees what on G+ than FB. And from what I hear about friends blocking other users, or just "un-friending" someone, and yet still having stuff seen or shared amongst those same users, I'm shying away from what I post on FB more and more.

        • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7&cornell,edu> on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:18AM (#40028981) Homepage

          Yeah... G+ has really evolved to start hitting a VERY different target market than Facebook.

          Facebook is for those who want to keep in touch with personal friends.

          G+ is for those who wish to engage with the world at large. Similar to you, I am almost always using G+, it's always open in a tab at home and I look at it more often than Facebook now. I'm now a Cyanogenmod maintainer for an Android device (Galaxy Note), and G+ has been an excellent way to connect with others in the Android community.

          I post on Facebook and I also post on G+ - the content I post is VERY different. Also, many people may not post directly on their own profiles, but use G+ primarily to engage with other posters.

          I honestly am seeing G+ as more of a competitor to blogging platforms than as a competitor to Facebook at this point.

          • This is spot on. I also have both FB and G+ accounts, and they are simply used for different things. FB is where all my "friends" are family or direct acquaintances, and where there's mostly just idle chatter. G+ is where most people I follow are those that I don't know personally, but who post interesting things (within my definition of "interesting"), and where a good discussion can be had in comments.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by quippe (767072)
        I'm following 30 people and i get 15-20 posts per month; and that rate of messages, is exactly the metric I used to choose who to put in my circles. I couldn't care less of how much user accounts are on google plus or how many post per month each account generates in average. I don't hope either that facebook explode or people from facebook move to google+; actually I hope that people remain confined in facebook forever. G+ is a good looking mailing list, for me, in which my friends and some smartasses i wo
    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheGift73 (2427520) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:49AM (#40028587) Homepage
      Agreed. I have used it every day since the private Beta in June 2011. For me, I like it mainly due to my obsession with photography and geeky subjects of which there is a constant abundance of information. As the poster above stated, "If you're not following anyone, no wonder it seems barren." To be honest, compared to the useless crap and continuous flow of drivel that I used to find on Facebook on a daily basis, Google+ has been a life saver for people wanting to find a place where they can easily communicate with like minded people via Hangouts or just messaging. The noise filters are also great. Also, the ability to chat to the Google devs behind the system directly to get things fixed is a great sign that the development is ongoing and something important to them. There are also constant improvements to the site and how people use it, that I never saw on Facebook. Yes, I know that FB would have GUI and back end updates, but they were always annoying at best, and fairly useless in usability. Remember, Google+ is still less than a year old. Take a look at what Facebook was like when it was a year old.
    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Funny)

      by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @01:14PM (#40030825)

      You must be a Google employee. They're about the only people using it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:33AM (#40028331)

    I think it might be the reason that critical mass wasn't achieved. I was really hoping that this would trump facebook.

    • by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:08AM (#40028847)

      In my case, I didn't join Google+ because it was linked to my GMail account along with the rest of my Google profile. The Real Name issue led to people being booted from G+, with the side effect of losing the rest of their Google profile. I can't afford to lose my Google Mail over some silly issue with G+. My mail is too important.

      • by nschubach (922175)

        I signed up for G+ to see what it was all about and after putting people in Circles, I now communicate (email) using circle names instead of email addresses/people names... I rarely (if ever) share on my feed.

        I'm not sure why tagging them before just didn't click, but the circles are so easy to manage and discover people so maybe that's why.

    • by SydShamino (547793) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:48AM (#40029455)

      I've had several invites to Google+ but haven't created an account, not specifically because of the real name policy but because of Google's ToS.

      I started using Google products many years ago, and some of them I use anonymously. I have a film review blog on blogspot, for example, where I sometimes review films with violence and nudity, and sometimes I use bad words. (No one reads it; it's just for me to remember things.) I don't want that blog associated with my real name since I do some stuff in politics.

      If Google publicized how they wanted to keep each of their products separate, where we could use some publicly and some privately and no information would be shared, then I would create a Google+ account. But that's not what they've done at all. No, instead, they change their ToS and talk about how they want to share data between all their products, so I (and my friends?) might get advertisements based on things I did on another product, even if I did so under a pseudonym.

      Sorry, Google, but NO. Just NO.

      That said, I have a Facebook account to keep up with friends and family since (for the most part) that's what they use, and I can either do so or be a hermit. But I only created it last year, and I started out knowing it's attached to my real name and anything might get released to the public. Google's fault is that I already used them in other ways before they created their social network, something that doesn't apply to Facebook.

    • by kiwimate (458274) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:49AM (#40029469) Journal

      The real name policy has nothing to do with it. There's an enormous mass of potential users who don't care at all about the policy because they don't know Google+ exists. That's the reason critical mass hasn't been achieved.

      For an advertising company, Google really drops it on promoting most of their products. One or two of them seem to get some push, but otherwise there's apparently zilch marketing.

      Besides that, what's the differentiator? Why switch? What's that, I can have more control over the privacy of my posts in some vague and hard-to-convey fashion? But who cares? That's why I'm on Facebook, to share stuff with people. Don't think of this like a tech or a geek; that's what Google is doing and why they're failing.

      • by Asic Eng (193332)

        There's an enormous mass of potential users who don't care at all about the policy because they don't know Google+ exists.

        Yeah, but initially I was keen to advocate G+ to others - due to the real name policy I stopped. If that happens a lot, then potential users don't hear about G+ because they are not told about it.

        The problem is: G+ offers features which appeal to users who want more privacy and control in social media. That's incompatible with the real name policy, so they end up offering a product

    • Real name policy to blame? I think it might be the reason that critical mass wasn't achieved. I was really hoping that this would trump facebook.

      No, the reason G+ isn't trumping Facebook is something so obvious in retrospect I can't believe I didn't figure it out until yesterday and that nobody else has figured it out yet.

      When I look at G+, I don't see Facebook - I don't see business pages. I don't see fan pages. I don't see association pages. I don't see games... I see only the ability to make

  • Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:33AM (#40028335)
    Google + was seen as a "Facebook that isn't Facebook", so sure, I made an account and looked around.
    But then I remembered something, it's still a pointlessly boring social media site, and abandoned it.
    • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Kirrilian (613868) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:03AM (#40028763) Homepage

      it's still a pointlessly boring social media site

      Unlike Facebook, which is immensely captivating and relevant.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by iONiUM (530420)

      Yea, that's great. Glad to see your opinion on here, and where you implied that "everyone" else feels the same way you do.

      Except, it seems the majority of humans do use Facebook, but not G+. So it's not their aversion of social networks that's stopping them from using G+, but rather something else.

      I wish the mods would stop up-voting anti-social-network posts. I know it's trendy on /. to post that stuff, but it's repetitive, and it offers no real insight on as to why G+ did not pick up, and Facebook remains

      • by s.petry (762400)

        I did not interpret the post the same. G+ tried to be the new edgy techie place where technical people would flock to social media. Google saw that most techies are not Facebook junkies like average people. Selling points "Higher levels of control", "Better use of groups with Circles that can link", Higher privacy standards, etc...

        I think what Google failed at however, is understanding why technical people don't like Facebook. Sure, what G+ built in is important to us and what we bitch about with Facebo

  • Public posts? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:35AM (#40028365)

    Most people don't post publicly, if that is your only gauge of success, it will show up as not being that active. That's the wonderful this about circles

    • Re:Public posts? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Githaron (2462596) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:25AM (#40029117)
      When, I read the summary that was the first thing I thought. Most of the people who use Google+ use it specifically because they can do both private and public posting from the same site. I do agree the Google+ is not very active in comparison to Facebook but most of the people I know who post actively, post privately. Counting public posts is a bad metric to measure how active Google+ is.
    • by swillden (191260)

      Most people don't post publicly, if that is your only gauge of success, it will show up as not being that active. That's the wonderful this about circles

      +1

      90% of my posts are non-public, and 90% of my friends and family on Google+ never post publicly.

  • That said (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:36AM (#40028385) Homepage

    It's probably still got more users than Diaspora*

    (Ducks)

    • by Asic Eng (193332)
      They took to long to make it available. Once G+ was introduced the window of opportunity had passed.
  • by MsWhich (2640815) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:36AM (#40028391) Homepage

    My local circle of friends went in heavily for Google+ as soon as it opened. Two of them actually cancelled their Facebook accounts in favor of having only Google+, although tellingly, one of those has since reopened his FB account and started using it on a regular basis again; the other one is still a Google+ diehard, but did reopen an "events-only" FB account because he was tired of getting left out of event invitations.

    I started a thread on G+ recently asking my circles if they were still getting value from G+, and the general consensus was that people want it to work, like the features, but just aren't seeing the social interaction that would make it viable. A lot of people reported that they use it primarily as a blog aggregator. This has been my experience as well, and I'm probably a heavier G+ user than most.

    I think that the invite-only rollout was probably a misstep, as was not allowing business accounts for the first several months. Lack of event integration is also a problem.

    • In other words, the network effect was re-discovered. I'd love to use G+, but everyone I know is on Facebook. And since I'm too lazy to post things twice and visit two different sites for the same purpose, I stick to Facebook.

      Here's what would spur the adoption of G+: Google needs to develop a social network aggregator, where G+ is just one of the networks. Have it pull posts from all your networks, and allow you to cross-post to every network you want. Google needs to realize that it lost this battle, and

      • by Fastolfe (1470)

        And since I'm too lazy to post things twice and visit two different sites for the same purpose, I stick to Facebook.

        For me, it happened that everyone I was friends with on Facebook were my actual close friends and family members. Before Facebook added the 'subscribers' feature (post-G+), I wouldn't have added strangers as my "friends" on Facebook, and I get annoyed "like"ing brand pages and the like because I don't want to participate in advertising for the brand on my own feed. So it turned out that Facebook was, for me, just a place for friends and family to keep in touch.

        With G+, I was far more indiscriminate with m

    • Well, when people tell me that nobody uses Google+, I'm quick to point out that's the single best feature about it.

      I've always hated being inundated by inane posts, having difficulty finding the signal among all the noise. Plus, everybody who found out your name suddenly wanted to be your facebook friend. I didn't have a public searchable profile, but people I met would ask, "do you have a facebook account?" and I couldn't just flat out lie because somebody else who was in my list of friends would nearby

  • by FadedTimes (581715) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:37AM (#40028401)

    Google+ has poor integration with other social mediaapps. Foursquare, Yelp, Twitter, instagram, Pinterest, Flipboard. All these share with each other or at least twitter and facebook. Google+ isn't even an option, and you have to manually copy or create updates on it, which is annoying.

    Every time I mention to my social network of 200 that Google+ is dead or dying, I get the same 5 people who say it isn't and also happen to be the only 5 people in my circles who share anything.

    • by ClintJCL (264898)
      You can't even read your G+ feed on Google Reader, which kills it for me. I post but never read. Very rare responses compared to Facebook. Facebook, btw, can be read in google reader. Oh the irony.
  • by Picass0 (147474) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:37AM (#40028415) Homepage Journal

    1) You can put your whole life online and it still doesn't mean you're famous.
    2) People you know will post snarky crap on your page and shrug their shoulder when you meet them face to face.
    3) Everything you've ever been told to safegaurd your privacy is out the window at Facebook. If you don't post it, someone you know already posted about you.
    4) A website is automatically uncool the moment your parents join.
    5) Facebook is just an ugly background away from being Myspace.

    • by AdrianKemp (1988748) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:00AM (#40028725)

      Largely off-topic but I like that you mentioned #3.

      I think that's what Facebook did so very, very well. I find shit posted about me constantly despite the fact that I would never post it myself. It wouldn't even matter if I didn't have an account and although that pisses me off there's nothing I can do about it. I've tried convincing my friends and family that posting everything online is a really bad idea but they don't get it and I like human interaction so I'm stuck.

      Incidentally, it seems to be something that Google+ inherently avoids, which makes it so very much nicer but simultaneously destined to failure.

    • by kiwimate (458274) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @12:15PM (#40029875) Journal

      5) Facebook is just an ugly background away from being Myspace.

      That's why Facebook succeeded and MySpace has become irrelevant.

      It sounds like a paradox, but MySpace lost because of the freedom they gave people to customize their pages. People went wild, in exactly the way you'd expect from 15 year old kids - as tacky and in your face as possible with bling, animations, flashy gaudy banners, music playing. Pages were unusable.

      Facebook exercised tight control over what you could do with your page, making it far more scalable. People lost interest in the struggle to merely load a page on MySpace to see what was going on.

      This next comment will blow minds here on Slashdot, but consider - Facebook succeeded for the same reason Google did. Their predecessors had become overwhelming with excess. Both Facebook and Google appeared as a breath of fresh air - clean, simple, usable.

  • Facebook (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sanosuke001 (640243) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:38AM (#40028425)
    Google+ just didn't make it out of the gate fast enough to get the support from those already attached to Facebook. Because of that, people who did sign up with Google+ didn't have the same support from those they wanted to communicate with so (probably) stuck with Facebook for its user base. Unless Google does something to get users to switch en masse, there's not much they can do about it. You can't expect users to post on both sites and, I'm assuming, anyone that is gung-ho about social networking has been Facebook-whoring for quite a while now and has no intention of starting over.

    This is all aside from social networking being a complete waste of time (my opinion, anyway...).
    • Re:Facebook (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kiite (1700846) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:59AM (#40028701)

      They had a decent enough buzz. They had a decent enough product. They utterly failed on the delivery.

      Let's look at how Facebook (inadvertently!) succeeded with its introduction:
      - release the product to a small number of people who all know each other and feel exclusive
      - release the product to another small number of people who all know each other and feel exclusive
      - release the product to still more people who all know each other and feel exclusive
      - open it up to the world and let it grow organically

      Now, here's what Google did:
      - generate a lot of buzz about a promising new product
      - allow a limited number of invites, but allow anyone to be invited, so new people who join know only the person who invited them, and can't even invite new people yet. But they do feel exclusive, and can't wait until they know someone.
      - feed the anticipation of all the people who are clamoring to get an account
      - open up invitations to anyone
      - reject new sign-ups from people who were invited once they hit an unspecified threshold, so that only a small number of new people actually signed up, and the only person each knows is the one who invited him
      - open up invitations to anyone
      - reject new sign-ups from people who were invited once they hit an unspecified threshold, so that only a small number of new people actually signed up, and the only person each knows is the one who invited him
      - open up invitations to anyone
      - reject new sign-ups from people who were invited once they hit an unspecified threshold, so that only a small number of new people actually signed up, and the only person each knows is the one who invited him
      - eventually, people got tired of being rejected and didn't sign up, or left because they didn't know many people when they first joined.
      - open it up to the world.

      Did Google really expect people to just "try again later" after receiving an invitation and being rejected? Twice? Three times?

      Major introduction fail.

      • Let's look at how Facebook (inadvertently!) succeeded with its introduction:
        - release the product to a small number of people who all know each other and feel exclusive
        - release the product to another small number of people who all know each other and feel exclusive
        - release the product to still more people who all know each other and feel exclusive
        - open it up to the world and let it grow organically

        It's have been a really clever marketing approach had it been planned. But it wasn't. TheFaceBook really was only ever intended to serve that original small number.

        I think the success of Facebook has been Darwinian. There were lots of attempts at social networks, both before and after. All a bit different. The one which fitted best to it's environment won. Not because of a genius of design or marketing, but just randomly. Someone's random set of features and business decisions would work best, and prosper.

  • Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:38AM (#40028441)
    There's a reason those of us that switched did so. If they turned Google+ into another facebook I'd leave. I don't want to be part of a virtual hen-hizzy where everyone is telling me the size of their poop every morning. When I have an update on Google+ I know it's work looking at... where-as with facebook I was so flooded with nonsense I couldn't stand it anymore and deleted my account.
  • by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:40AM (#40028451) Journal
    Sometimes I feel like the reason Google built Google+ is so they could harvest everyone's personal information. They don't actually care if people use it or not, they now know who I am, and can sell that to advertisers.
  • What I find (Score:5, Interesting)

    by C_Kode (102755) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:40AM (#40028453) Journal

    I find that Google posters are more technically incline. Most of the people I circle are tech types or something else I find cool. I've also noticed that most people post to circles and not public. I will see people commenting on posts, but when I click their profile, they are sharing nothing.

    My guess this has to do with them being more technical. Companies and everyone else are searching the Internet to see what you do online. If you don't share your post with them, they can't see it.

    As for G+ being dead. I don't see it. G+ only allows 500 comments per post and I see maxed out post comments quite often. (very annoying Google, fix it!)

    I suppose if you are an outsider looking in, it could look like a ghost town. Especially if you are choosing random people to follow. A lot of random G+ers don't want you seeing what they are posting.

  • by Fastolfe (1470) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:41AM (#40028477)

    The study says they could only look at public posts. I rarely post publicly and instead use circles to limit who can see what I post. While many of the people I follow on G+ are silent (or at least they don't publish to me), so are most of the people on Facebook. I follow a comparable number of people on G+ and Facebook and my G+ feed is just as busy. I don't see how a study like this can draw any meaningful conclusions from their methodology.

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:42AM (#40028493) Journal

    The large majority of the people in my circles with whom I keep active contact with, post almost exclusively Limited, as do I.

    Frankly, those who post exclusively Public seem a bit like show-offs and/or "social media consultants" (or "experts"), and who wants to stay in touch with such people?

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:42AM (#40028497)

    If you think FB has privacy issues now.... Google+ may have a lot of new accounts after the FB IPO* hits. Not that Google is any better privacy-wise, but people wanting to share their entire life online may have to choose the lesser of two evils.

    * http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/technology&id=8663072 [go.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:43AM (#40028505)

    Every single one of these articles is completely without merit. They all poll Google+ for public information. Guess what, the majority of users on G+ do not post publicly, that is why they choose to be there instead of Facebook. I know personally I moved over to G+ with an already formed circle of Twitter friends. The vast majority of us only end up sharing among the 500 or so members of that loose community. But within that group, the discussion is constant. There are tons of these loosely affiliated circles on the service.

    The type of user attracted to Google+ generally is someone looking to discuss things, not necessarily vapidly post about what they had for dinner. It is a different dynamic, and as such needs a different metric to determine participation. Then again at the end of the day I am completely happy with Quality over Quantity.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:44AM (#40028521)

    it kicks the shit out of anything else I know of right now.

    picture an event that takes 5 months of work by teams scattered over 4 cities. Google+ is a giant help. the hangouts allow face to face meeting combined with screen sharing. the information being built by google earth I can turn around and drop into the circle that is doing the work.

    it's actually a great group solution. something that facebook sucks at.

    taz

  • It is a scary place (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fermion (181285) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:47AM (#40028577) Homepage Journal
    There are two reasons I use google services. One is to create an alias for a particular focus of online activity. The other is to set up services I need for work, also under a specific alias. Niether of these depend on my real identity since both function better with an outward facing identity that topic related. I am not dependent on Google services, but my life would me much harder if I did not have access to them.

    So imagine my surprise when Google started suspending account that were not related to a real person. Though I did set up a Google+ account, I have been too worried about losing my Google Docs accounts to actually do anything on Google+. It seems from online posting that one Google gets on your case you are screwed.

  • *PUBLIC* posts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elecmahm (1194167) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:58AM (#40028687)

    The whole premise of G+ is that it's built around private sharing with your circles. There's a lot of public sharing, sure -- but it's INTENDED to be private. That was the whole selling point for why people chose to use it over Facebook. My G+ feed is constantly being updated in a very lively manner with both public and limited posts by a variety of people.

    The study is based on a flawed premise. They should find some other metric aside from "public posts" for determining how engaged the userbase is.

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:58AM (#40028693) Journal

    In social networking, as with many things, there can be only one premier service. Sure, there can be products which cater to a special niche, or as an alternate, but few people are going to keep two Facebook like sites going at once. Google+ offers no real compelling reason to leave the #1 player, Facebook, for the majority of users (hint: if you're reading slashdot, you're not one of those people).

    Until everyone moves, nobody will. Google was jerking off with Wave and Buzz while Facebook was getting everybody and their brother on. Most people just want a social site, and Google tried to make it "more" and didn't realize that my mother, and the 13 year old kid down the street don't want "more."

    Google is too late to the party, and there's too much momentum right now. In 3-4 years, if facebook starts to decline (as MySpace did), then there will be an opportunity again. Right now, though, I think it's Facebook's market to keep or screw up and it's going be difficult and take a long time to make enough people switch so that it gains momentum.

  • by SeanBlader (1354199) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:07AM (#40028829)
    If you're not having a good time on Google+, then you're doing it wrong. Click on the explore button on the left, post to a few threads that you find interesting, and I've ended up with over 100 people following my posts, about a third of them I actually know. I don't spam a lot of my own posts, I put up stuff I do that I enjoy, and might post original content or share something once every 3 days. Still it's not a ghost town if you bother to look for someone you think does cool stuff and just put them in a followers circle so you see their public posts on your stream. If you're a geek I recommend Wil Wheaton, and Felicia Day. Leo LaPorte is good too, but he posts less than I do, which is surprising since he came out as a big supporter of G+ and he's a content author by trade. I also follow Wired Magazine, and Marissa Mayer. None of which give me more than I can keep up with, but that doesn't mean I read all of it either.
  • I personally quite enjoy Google+. I write there about once or twice a week on average and I write about things that I feel are worth saying and I always write in English so as for my thoughts to be internationally readable. The site is clean and useable, though I still think the layout needs some more work. Facebook on the other hand.... well, I write there only like once or twice every two-three months and even then only as a response to something; Facebook is cluttered, annoying, and I have relegated it for only the irrelevant, meaningless flutter that my so-called 'friends' like to share. I tend to use Google+ more like an interactive blog than a chatting- or trend-watching-platform, so perhaps that explains why I like it so much better. Nevertheless, the fact remains that Google+ suits me better than anything else I've found so far.

    That said, I also have to agree with the sentiment that Google+ feels like a rather empty place. I still haven't found anything worth following, for example, and many of the entities I might actually care to follow aren't there. I can understand why, though: Facebook attracts people with short attention-spans, people who like to follow trends and what others do and say, and people who can be rather easily swayed, whereas Google+ seems to attract people with more pronounced individual traits. In other words, Facebook attracts exactly the kind of people companies love. This should obviously not be seen as a failure on Google+'s part -- something so many seem to imply -- but instead as a success in attracting entirely different kind of people; how can it be a failure when you are successfully attracting people who aren't attracted to other offerings?

  • by jonabbey (2498) <jonabbey@ganymeta.org> on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:17AM (#40028963) Homepage

    I wonder who funded this particular study. ;-)

    I switched from Facebook to Google+, and I use it almost exclusively now. The population is smaller, but the discussions are better. On Facebook, I'm linked to personal friends, on Google+, I'm linked to people all over based on common interests. I like G+ better.

  • Apps (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jemtallon (1125407) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:19AM (#40029009) Journal
    G+ attempts to solve a problem that has already been solved. The solution to maintaining different "circles" evolved into having different accounts. This was hindered for a short time by a lack of cross-posting but that was quickly solved by a set of APIs and app makers like TweetDeck. Personally, I have my family and majority of friends on FB, core friends and more comedy-driven people on twitter. I know I can crack certain snarky jokes on twitter that would offend my 2nd cousins and a high school friend. Those are the only 2 circles I need right now but if I need more, I can make a separate account. As it is, I cross-post my status updates, tweet snarky comments, facebook post family-friendly stuff, and on rare occasion G+ post techy things that weren't snarky. That results in about one post a month to G+ and daily posts to the others. I get the feeling this is a similar setup to many users of social media.

    If our social lives are in either one circle or on an app which manages our circles, we have no need of G+. Communities don't move overnight. They shrink over time as their members slowly move from one pasture to a slightly greener one. G+ may be slightly greener but if travel there is difficult and I don't know anyone there, every time I head home for a "friend fix" I'm going to be tempted to never return. G+ needs to build a highway soon. Implement Twitter and FB accounts as "external circles" using the existing APIs. Let me make G+ my home while still talking to my existing circles. Let the external circles dwindle as everyone except our parents slowly move over to G+ but let us still talk to our parents. Until that happens, G+, your community will stagnate.
  • by element-o.p. (939033) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:20AM (#40029043) Homepage
    So Facebook is the social network and Google+ is the anti-social network? No wonder I like G+ better ;)
  • by davevr (29843) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:21AM (#40029053) Homepage

    There are three major problems:

    1) Google+ was just not designed for real people with messy social relationships that can't be easily categorized.

    2) Like most of Google products, Google+ has an odd clinical feel about it. Things like using a math equation (+1) instead of an ordinary word like "Like" or "Thumbs Up:. There are dozens of similar problems. It doesn't matter for search, which can be utilitarian, but it doesn't go well with social stuff.

    3) People actually subconsciously prefer a company that is dedicated that social networking, like FaceBook or MySpace, than a company that is doing it on the side, like Microsoft or Google.

    Here is a recent blog post discussing 1 & 2:

    http://dvronay.blogspot.com/2012/04/why-google-is-still-not-working-for.html [blogspot.com]

  • Random "members" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom (715771) <slashdot@NOSpAM.uberm00.net> on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:50AM (#40029481) Homepage Journal

    Using information culled from the public timelines of 40,000 randomly selected members...

    Google deserves this sort of report given that 95%+ of their Google+ "members" were effectively forced into the system when they made Google Accounts require a Google+ profile.

    Of course there is little activity among this group... most of them don't actually use Google+.

  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @01:11PM (#40030799) Homepage

    Facebook users joined Facebook by choice. Myspace users joined Myspace. AOL users had to pay to join AOL in the early days.

    Google+ users were drafted. Google's idea of marketing is "we're making you an offer you can't refuse".

  • I reluctantly cancelled my Google+ account because it actually removed functionality from Picasa, which I use almost every day. If you have a G+ account, you can no longer upload images from the program to your Picasa web albums; you are forced to upload to G+'s dumbed-down image gallery instead. You are given no choice whatsoever; if you have G+ the only way to get content onto web albums is if you happen to know the URL of your albums (a link is rather pointedly NOT provided), go there in a browser and upload the images using the web album interface. The only way to go back to uploading from the program is to cancel your G+ account. I didn't want to, but Picasa is more important to me than Google+. I generally love Google, but this was a dick move.
  • by sremick (91371) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @02:07PM (#40031657)
    I love G+ and hate FB, but it's not surprising G+ is having trouble gaining traction. For example, it's missing some pretty critical features, such as "events" and the ability to exclude individuals when posting something (there are times when I want to post something visible to all my friends except 1 or 2, just for the sake of this comment and not enough to give them their own circle, thereby breaking their permissions on everything else I posted). Considering Google already has a slick calendar, their lack of any sort of event feature is mindblowing. Arranging events is one of the main reasons I used FB in the first place.

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