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Google Social Networks

Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed 359

An anonymous reader writes in with this story about what happened to Google+ from an employee perspective. "Last month, Google announced that it's changing up its strategy with Google+. In a sense, it's giving up on pitching Google+ as a social network aimed at competing with Facebook. Instead, Google+ will become two separate pieces: Photos and Streams. This didn't come as a surprise — Google+ never really caught on the same way social networks like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn did....Rumors have been swirling for months that Google would change its direction with Google+. Business Insider spoke with a few insiders about what happened to the network that Google believed would change the way people share their lives online. Google+ was really important to Larry Page, too — one person said he was personally involved and wanted to get the whole company behind it. The main problem with Google+, one former Googler says, is the company tried to make it too much like Facebook. Another former Googler agrees, saying the company was 'late to market' and motivated from 'a competitive standpoint.'"
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Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed

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  • Google Streams (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 26, 2015 @10:17PM (#49557721)

    Google Streams of piss ......

    How about launching a product and sticking with it for 10 years or more, you fucking clowns?

    Nobody in their right mind chooses a Google product as part of their critical infrastructure ..... because Google keeps closing its products down.

    • Re:Google Streams (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @10:23PM (#49557737) Homepage Journal

      yeah.. now they've created 1 billion artificial google+ accounts and they're just dumping them into two baskets? what the fuck?

      (*by artificial google+ accounts I mean accounts created from gmail and youtube accounts in a deceptive fashion. they kept changing the prompts and one bad click and boom your gmail account now was your youtube account and at the same time a google+ account. I think they had some bonus scheme going on for the folks involved where if they got x number of g+ accounts they would get x dollars of bonus. the bonus scheme didn't involve people using g+ as g+ though it seemed - and yeah they were counting on having made one youtube comment within the year as being an "active google+ user").

      I would venture to say that just 1% of google+ accounts are from people who on purpose wanted to create a google+ account for the sake of using google+.

      • Re:Google Streams (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @10:29PM (#49557781)

        Or what about people with Android, who get google+, youtube, gmail, etc, without ever asking for that stuff. *Exactly* like people who get itunes & apple store for no reason other than having an iphone... Why do people rage about this but not about iphone? Why do they rage abut unwanted google+ accounts but not unwanted youtube or gmail accounts?

        • Re: Google Streams (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 26, 2015 @11:22PM (#49557947)

          Because Apple already killed its shitty social network (Ping) and realized what a horrible idea it was to leverage their infrastructure to get people on a social network they're never going to use.

        • by a0me ( 1422855 )
          You need an Apple ID to install apps and sync data with your computer, but I'm pretty sure that buying an iPhone doesn't require creating an account on iTunes. Naturally, an iPhone without apps is kind of pointless but eh.
      • I don't care a bit about these 'artificial' accounts. They don't add me to their circles, they don't spam me, they don't beg me to be added.

        Now, the flakes that DO spam me are a nuisance, but easily disposed of, as easily as the Facebook beggars.

        • Re:Google Streams (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TWX ( 665546 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @12:46AM (#49558161)
          If I wanted a social media account, I would have signed up for a social media account. Youtube's comments section, bad as they were, got even worse with Google+ because now they post the "share this with other people" comments to the Youtube video comments page, so what had been discussion on youtube, as bad as it admittedly got at times, now wasn't even discussion anymore, just peoples' notes when sharing videos to third parties.

          Google+ failed in part because the people that could have championed it for Google, ie, all of us geeks that signed up for Gmail back when you had to be invited to join, were repulsed by Google's choice to push it on us, and everyone else was probably already using another social networking site and didn't want to add another one to the stable.

          I have plenty of places to be narcissistic, I don't need Google+ on top of it.
      • Re:Google Streams (Score:5, Informative)

        by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @02:20AM (#49558349) Homepage Journal

        they kept changing the prompts and one bad click and boom your gmail account now was your youtube account and at the same time a google+ account.

        I feel better for knowing that. I thought it was just me being a clumsy bastard.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        The YouTube thing was never about getting people on to G+, it was about cleaning up YouTube. Anonymous accounts lead to every video's comments being filled with abuse. Once people started using their real names it cleared up pretty quickly. There is still trolling of course, but it's been vastly reduced from what it once was.

        I still wish they had found another way to do it, because G+ is actually pretty good. It's not like facebook where people basically treat their timeline like toilet paper. People post g

      • by realkiwi ( 23584 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @07:46AM (#49559169)

        At Last!!!

        I finally made the 1%! :)

    • Re:Google Streams (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 26, 2015 @10:40PM (#49557825)

      No kidding. I write software for a desktop application that integrates with YouTube. Apparently they're shutting down the API we've been using and want us to not only invest a bunch of time changing around our software for no good reason, but then expect us to get all of our users to upgrade to the new version we put out. We've decided it's just not worth it, and would rather explain to users who email our support line that Google shut down the API. It's not our fault that you can't upload videos and such directly to YouTube anymore. Don't expect a patch.

      *The software does lots of other things, uploading to YouTube directly is/was just a side feature.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 26, 2015 @11:18PM (#49557939)

        ... the beginning of the end of Google

        Everything has a beginning, an end, and a stretch of roller coaster ride in the middle

        Google started as a search engine. Larry Page and Co. didn't actually have much more than a search engine in mind when they started Google (and obtained that legendary check from Andy Bechtolsheim

        What we are seeing now --- the branching of Google into driverless cars, into Google+, into Youtube (actually they acquired it), and so on --- is but afterthoughts, aka what should we do with all the Billions we got?

        Like M$, like Yahoo, like Myspace and so on, Google is on its way down

        As for fb, don't worry, it too is on its way down --- as nothing stays up forever

        • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @04:01AM (#49558537) Journal

          I expect Google to die in the same way that IBM died: it will still be a huge and influential player for a long time, but won't be the company that defines an industry that people care about. The same sort of path as Microsoft.

          When I interviewed at Google a few years I was reminded of something that JWZ wrote about Netscape, claiming that it started to decline when it started hiring people who were there because it was a cool place to work, not because they wanted to change the world and believed in the things that the company was doing. Everyone I met at Google told me that I should would there because it was a cool place to work...

          • I would say that wanting to work at an advertising company like google because it's cool is a far more sensible reason than because you think you're going to change the world.
            • It wasn't like that when they started. For one thing, the ads were just how they made money, the search was their core business and they did change web search considerably. I also remember that Google ads were quite disruptive. They only accepted plain text adverts and they used the contents of the page to identify relevant ads. This meant that, unlike their competitors, their ads were both relevant (I'm looking at a page about X, therefore I'm probably interested in buying X) and non-obtrusive. Now th
        • Peter Lynch calls this "diworseification."
        • What we are seeing now --- the branching of Google into driverless cars, into Google+, into Youtube (actually they acquired it), and so on --- is but afterthoughts, aka what should we do with all the Billions we got?

          You are quite wrong if you think a lot of the things Google is doing are "afterthoughts". They aren't. You just have to look at them from Google's perspective. Youtube isn't an afterthought, it fits very nicely in with their core advertising business - eyeballs on video has a long tradition. Google+? Integrates business lines for better advertising. Maps? Local search and advertising. Gmail? Advertising based on personal communications. Android? Defensive play to keep Apple and Microsoft from shu

      • Re:Google Streams (Score:5, Interesting)

        by arglebargle_xiv ( 2212710 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @11:50PM (#49558027)

        We've decided it's just not worth it, and would rather explain to users who email our support line that Google shut down the API.

        That's something that's always amazed me about Google, if Microsoft did something like this (which they did in the 1990s), the masses would be at the gates with pitchforks and flaming torches screaming for blood. When Google behaves like Microsoft did 20 years ago... well, meh, it's Google, they can do that. What's changed?

        • Re:Google Streams (Score:5, Interesting)

          by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @03:37AM (#49558493) Homepage Journal

          if Microsoft did something like this (which they did in the 1990s), the masses would be at the gates with pitchforks and flaming torches screaming for blood.

          No they wouldn't. Some geeks would be pissed off, which they were in the 90s.

          When Google behaves like Microsoft did 20 years ago... well, meh, it's Google, they can do that. What's changed?

          Nothing. Many of us are pissed off at Google for ruining good products they had. My bugbear is Google Navigate, and the removal of the separate "blue arrow" navigate icon. They totally fucked it up by rolling it up into Maps and changing the interface the way they did. Even to this day I install the old Maps APK on my Android phones.

    • Re:Google Streams (Score:5, Insightful)

      by arglebargle_xiv ( 2212710 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @11:47PM (#49558011)

      Nobody in their right mind chooses a Google product as part of their critical infrastructure ..... because Google keeps closing its products down.

      Or "improving" them, like Google Bet^H^H^HMaps, where the new version is so bad I've switched to Bing Maps. That's Microsoft's Bing Maps. Over Google.

    • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @02:19AM (#49558347) Homepage Journal

      Google keeps closing its products down.

      That's totally unfair and a sweeping generalisation to boot.

      They only shut down the good ones.

      • by smallfries ( 601545 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @02:57AM (#49558421) Homepage

        Look, it's been a while.

        Reader is not coming back, you have got to let go.

        • by hmmm ( 115599 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @10:54AM (#49560911)

          I will never, ever, forgive them for their short-sightedness in shutting down Reader. We told them at the time that they were shutting down a massive community of geeks & influencers, but they went ahead and did it anyway. A massive strategic mistake.

          Maybe I was naive, but I never really thought about the prospect of Google shutting down a service I relied on - sure they shut down some services that had almost zero usage, but a server *I* relied on? No, Google would never do that. It's used by geeks and technologists for goodness sake, Google was *our* company.

          Then the hammer fell - Reader was a service I accessed every half hour of every day. I know we some good alternatives have belatedly emerged (well, one), but the problem remained - how could I ever recommend a Google service to anyone in the future? How could I recommend gmail to my family when I wasn't sure it would vanish overnight because Google believes we were doing email wrong? How could I recommend to my boss that we move some critical infrastructure to App Engine, when Google had shown it was willing to shut down heavily used services because they just weren't quite big enough? Maybe all the snarly comments about fancy food and foosball tables were right all along - Google was staffed with kids and academics who had no idea how the real world worked.

  • by Sean ( 422 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @10:19PM (#49557725)

    They already have too much of my online attention. Sharing anything except my searches with them is a non-starter. It doesn't matter how well implemented the service is. Because it's Google, there's just absolutely no way I'm using it.

    I won't even look at files people try to share with me through Google. I just say, "Sorry, I don't use Google drive!" I feel so strongly about it I don't even care if it loses me business or friends.

    • Google should do what it does well, which is build links into other people's services and provide them all in a single place

    • by bromoseltzer ( 23292 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @10:28PM (#49557773) Homepage Journal

      And what company is pure enough for you?

      Anybody who gives you free social networking is evil, and anybody who charges money will fail.

      • by Sean ( 422 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @10:39PM (#49557817)

        It's not about who's pure. I can't control information once third parties have it. Pure today, evil tomorrow, who knows. I don't like sharing anything with Dropbox, Apple or Facebook either, and I try to avoid it.

        It's just that I already use Google for searching the web, for maps, and for translation. And I use Youtube. I also store my contacts and keep a few bookmarks with Google because I use Android, but I'm close to stopping that practice.

        Because of Google's search they collect too much information about me already, and I'm wary of them regardless of what they do or do not do. (Well, unless they encrypted everything client side with free software, utterly blinding themselves and their clients to everything I do)

        I need to use Google a lot less, and I'm always on the lookout for ways to:

        1) Use it less
        2) Deny it access to information about me
        3) Feed it false information about me
        4) Encourage others to do all of the above

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          https://startpage.com

          1) Use Startpage instead
          2) Startpage anonymises Google results
          3) See #2
          4) Tell your friends about Startpage

        • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @02:12AM (#49558329) Journal

          I can appreciate what you're saying. I went the opposite way. I use Android, which means I use Google for maps, search, etc. Therefore, I've decided since Google has a good profile of me, I'll try to limit it to ONLY Google, rather than being thoroughly profiled by several different companies.

          As a side benefit, Google Now does some pretty cool stuff as their database begins to have good data about my interests and such.

        • duckduckgo ?

          • by Dins ( 2538550 )
            I'll second this. Duckduckgo has added many features that I missed from google like image searches and predictive search results. I still use google when duckduckgo doesn't give me what I want, but those instances are getting fewer and further between. I'm probably 95% duckduckgo and 5% google right now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
      Sorry, you're probably the one in a million exception in that case. There are many reasons Google+ failed, but that's most certainly not one of them.
    • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @11:49PM (#49558019)

      They already have too much of my online attention. Sharing anything except my searches with them is a non-starter. It doesn't matter how well implemented the service is. Because it's Google, there's just absolutely no way I'm using it.

      I've started moving away from their search, too, now that they decide for me what constitutes "mobile friendly" and what doesn't. Fact is, some "desktop" work better on my phone than a lot of the "mobile" sites do.

      I don't want a nanny-search moving the things I'm looking for down the page. Just give me what I searched for, nothing more, nothing less, no "judgment" about what I want to see.

      FWIW, I think it was the "single real name policy" that actually killed Google+. At that point I stopped commenting on YouTube, stopped using Google+, and in fact just stopped "signing in" to anything at all Google.

      • I don't want a nanny-search moving the things I'm looking for down the page. Just give me what I searched for, nothing more, nothing less, no "judgment" about what I want to see.

        So you'd rather have a complete database dump of all the web pages that contain your search terms, in random order, to do your own filtering among petabytes of data each time you look for "what you searched for, nothing less"?

        'Cause any time you use a web search engine that provides just a few results, there *is* a judgement involv

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo&world3,net> on Monday April 27, 2015 @06:40AM (#49558909) Homepage Journal

        I don't want a nanny-search moving the things I'm looking for down the page. Just give me what I searched for, nothing more, nothing less, no "judgment" about what I want to see.

        You don't want that. Maybe you are too young, maybe you just forgot what search engines were like back when they did just give execute the regex you typed in and return the raw results. Back in the early days of Alta Vista you typed in "microsoft" and the first 9,000 results were people's personal sites that contained the phrase "best viewed in Microsoft Internet Explorer 4". So you tried "microsoft+home+page" and got a list of people's personal home pages.

        The reason Google is number 1 at search is because it evaluates what you mean when you type in "microsoft", and gives you microsoft.com as the first result.

    • by deviated_prevert ( 1146403 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @02:13AM (#49558331) Journal

      They already have too much of my online attention. Sharing anything except my searches with them is a non-starter. It doesn't matter how well implemented the service is. Because it's Google, there's just absolutely no way I'm using it.

      I won't even look at files people try to share with me through Google. I just say, "Sorry, I don't use Google drive!" I feel so strongly about it I don't even care if it loses me business or friends.

      You think Google wants your brains? You just wait until Win 10 launches and practically insists on MSN and THE CLOUD, Xbox for media integration, your mic as a default on device with cortana and sparton, ten tentacles hooked into your nuts and brains for every web service that defaults to bing, the news according to Microsoft, search according to Microsoft, the real web browser relegated to "Windows Accessories". Mark my words if you think Google is invasive with trying to control every aspect of your data and digital communications just wait the real beast is about to be released on the unsuspecting masses of slavering digital consumers!

      • by vux984 ( 928602 )

        You just wait until Win 10 launches and practically insists on MSN and THE CLOUD, Xbox for media integration, your mic as a default on device with cortana and sparton, ten tentacles hooked into your nuts and brains for every web service that defaults to bing,

        Ok, yes, that's a problem. But its also not a problem.

        I accept Microsoft might develop all that crap.
        I accept Microsoft might turn all that crap on, or make the default rout. Note I don't necessarily LIKE it.

        I also know it all going to be something I can turn off because: enterprise and government.

        Those customers aren't going to put up with xbox integration, or MSN cloud signin, or always on microphones, or desktop search talking to bing. Or any of that crap... so I know that not only will I be able to turn

      • I don't understand why Microsoft wants to go down that path. Their big money comes from businesses. They should be trumpeting private clouds (buy Windows server, install on a rack, run all of the cloudy stuff that you want under control of your company) and privacy to actively differentiate themselves from Google.
    • We should be friends :>

  • Invite Only (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dwedit ( 232252 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @10:24PM (#49557753) Homepage

    It failed because anyone interested in joining couldn't join because it was Invite Only, then they stopped caring.

    • Re:Invite Only (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wshs ( 602011 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @10:27PM (#49557771)
      And when that didn't work, they tried to force it upon all their users, even the ones who didn't want to join in. That is not how you get people to like your product.
    • Agreed. Google+ was launched at a perfect time to gain mass adoption. Complaints about Facebook seemed at an all time high and the "Facebook is uncool/loosing users/dead" stories seemed more frequent than usual. When everyone saw that there was an alternative that gives them better control over their posts, we were all saying "sign me up!!!". But even if you could get an account under the invitation only version, you probably didn't have any friends there. And as you said, by the time anyone could sign-up,
  • by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @10:28PM (#49557777) Homepage Journal

    Google Answers.
    Google Shopping.
    Goog-411.
    Google Buzz.
    Google Wave.
    Google Video.
    iGoogle.

    I don't trust Google to keep it around once it's no longer in Google's best interests to do so and since social networking isn't Google's focus or primary source of revenue, I can't trust that.

    It's not that I begrudge them the decision to do what's in their own best interests but I have that same decision to make and Google+ doesn't align with them.

    LK

    • Most every tech company has that problem. Show me a product from 10 years ago that is still around, and popular, in essentially the same form.
      • by Voyager529 ( 1363959 ) <voyager529 AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday April 27, 2015 @12:00AM (#49558065)

        Show me a product from 10 years ago that is still around, and popular, in essentially the same form.

        Microsoft Office 2003. Now, to be fair, this does indeed depend on how you count. Office 2003 is still feature complete for most Office users. Office 2007/2010/2013 has a fresh coat of paint, and Sparklines are nice and all, but functionally speaking, it may fit your criteria. Alternatively, we can point to the fact that most Office clones (Open/LibreOffice, AbiWord, iWork) have a very similar layout and functionality.

        But, let's assume that we're talking about current iterations. eBay and Paypal are still very recognizable from 2005. Amazon still sells books. The iTunes Music Store hasn't changed much. My ISP still offers Usenet access, and Yahoo mail is still quite popular; hell "e-mail" is quite possibly the longest lived digital communication protocol ever created. Google's search page hasn't changed significantly in ten years.

        Now, to be fair to your point, this is certainly a list of exceptions that took a bit of time to come up with. However, I'll also point out that the reason why Office 2003 was my primary example is that it's still possible for users to install it on a computer purchased today as long as they have their installation discs. Google discontinues products when they're no longer viable for Google, and that's their prerogative. However, I submit that if Google is going to devise a means of facilitating the generation of data, to which they have the exclusive means by which to make that data useful, that the onus should be on them to ensure that the users receive copies of that data if the service is to go down. Now yes, I understand that the users are the product, not the customers, but that then lends credence to the grandparent's point. Office 2003 may long be discontinued, but Microsoft didn't take my data with them when Office 2007 was released. Google's "everything on Google's servers" philosophy has its merit, but its caveats are clear as well. I have AIM conversations from 1999 that are still stored as HTML files. I cannot say the same for discussions in Google Wave.

        • by jordanjay29 ( 1298951 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @12:25AM (#49558121)
          That's a fair response. I can agree with the merit of your suggestion, Office 2003 is basically the same product and is moderately comparable in modern times. It doesn't have the OOXML formatted files that its successor used, but most modern systems can read the binary .doc and its siblings to a fair degree. It shares the advantage of most desktop applications in that its interface can remain literally unchanged from the day it was installed, for good or bad.

          I think I'd argue that some of your current iteration examples are a bit hard to compare to those that Google shut down. Apart from shopping and 411, which have easy and popular alternatives in Amazon, eBay, and local 411 telephone services, all the rest are pretty much services that only have context on the Internet. It's difficult to compare a venerable service like retail (Amazon, eBay) to Wave, which was an experiment in combining IMs, email and Google Docs. It's certainly easy to imagine how a service like Amazon could survive without the Internet, albeit with some hardships, but not as easy to imagine a service like Google Wave. I agree, those services you listed off are still around in their current iterations that mimic their 2005 iterations reasonably well, but they have the advantage of being instantly recognizable and accessible services with direct offline analogues, something that Google Wave, iGoogle and the others didn't have.

          Getting back to Office 2003, I have to point out that many of the big tech companies are even moving away from that format of desktop application. Microsoft, Apple, and of course Google, have been releasing services (Microsoft 365, iWork with iCloud, etc) that blur the line between desktop and web applications. More companies, such as Adobe, Autodesk and other industrial products are moving in this direction as well, taking their software into the cloud and offering it on a subscription basis. These products will be just as subject to the whims of their creator as was Google Wave, as fleeting as iGoogle, and able to be redesigned, restructured, have its features removed or reorganized or replaced, and possibly shut down, all on the whim of the company. Subscribers have no ownership in this situation, and are just as beholden to the goodness of the company they subscribe from to maintain the product. Even with contracts and money flowing, a business could easily decide to shutter a product line in favor of something else, especially those with broader categories of applications (e.g. Microsoft, Adobe and Google). I would propose that we haven't seen the last of shuttered services like these, and the next time it happens it will be far more shocking than Google Reader ever was.
        • by FlyHelicopters ( 1540845 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @04:48AM (#49558633)

          Office 2003 may long be discontinued, but Microsoft didn't take my data with them when Office 2007 was released.

          It goes MUCH further than that...

          http://www.amazon.com/Microsof... [amazon.com]

          You may, if you are so inclined... buy a brand new in box copy of MS Office 2003 right now, today, and it will work perfectly fine...

          You don't have that option with Google Service X...

          Microsoft would do well to remember that when making their own cloud services. Everyone doesn't want to be on the "newest thing" and sometimes older products work well...

      • I must be doing something wrong because every program I use on a daily basis was around 10 years ago in more or less the same form except with less features, and that includes my own programs.

      • WindowsXP market share is still around 17%, which is higher than Apple's share of the smartphone market.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Helix_Sky ( 1151027 )

      Yep unfortunately for Google they have thrown away one of their best assets. The fact that they were a big stable company that you could expect to be around. Now Google products have to be evaluated like any other startup product. You have to expect that there is a decent chance that they, and your data, won't be around in 5 years.

      I've heard that this is a difficult transition for tech companies to make. They have to change from being an agile innovative company to a stable boring one.

    • The most important thing is probably not to use anything that might change anytime from one type of service to another one. That's also the reason why I avoid Google docs whenever possible. I don't want my documents to be converted automatically into farts for the new Google Fart app when Google docs is closed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 26, 2015 @10:29PM (#49557783)

    ...the inconsistent Real Names Policy enforcement... ...Eric Schmidt's statement regarding Google+ that "We need a [verified] name service for people. Governments will demand it" http://readwrite.com/2010/08/04/google_ceo_schmidt_people_arent_ready_for_the_tech ...and Vic Gundotra's (mis)management and abuse of users who disagree'd with him http://www.zdnet.com/article/google-real-name-clampdown-ignores-own-grace-period/

    Despite being a relatively useful service social media service, the misguided personal agendas of the executives running it had killed good will among many early adopter non-Google employee users. Some folks at Google will tell you, under the veil of anonymity, it killed a lot of goodwill amongst Google employees too.

    • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @02:41AM (#49558395) Homepage Journal

      Even worse, if they decided they didn't believe you were you, the account would be terminated. And because it was all tied together, it would take youtube, gmail, and your android phone with it. I don't care too much about most of that, but I actually use my phone for real world stuff. I wasn't about to risk getting my address book and apps screwed up just for a google+ account that I might or might not ever post to. That and I'm obe of those people who feels no need to announce my visits to the toilet to 6 billion+ people. I really don't want all of my logins on everything tied together into a bit glueball.

      Couple that with Google's policy of never ever letting you talk to a human being no matter what your question or concern might be and there you go, no google+ for me.

      Relaxing their policy meant one of two things, they realized they made a mistake, or google+ had lost internal support and would be pining for the fjords any time now.

      • by Ambient Sheep ( 458624 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @09:13AM (#49559847)

        Even worse, if they decided they didn't believe you were you, the account would be terminated. And because it was all tied together, it would take youtube, gmail, and your android phone with it.

        Absolutely, and THIS was why Google+ failed, at least in my world.

        They launched it at precisely the right time, when the world (or at least a very large proportion of the people I know here in the UK) was hating Facebook for their constant revamps and massive privacy invading. We were all gagging for a Facebook replacement. We hated them.

        And Google provided it, while addressing one of our biggest bugbears about Facebook, that you couldn't separate your "work" contacts from your "friends" contacts without using the forbidden multiple accounts. Google's Circles (later copied by Facebook as lists) got that right. Great stuff!

        At first, of course, it was invite only. Fair enough, that's what they did with Gmail... so I - and a whole bunch of people I know - eagerly waited for one of our well-connected friends to get some invites; we couldn't wait to stick it to Facebook and feck off to G+ for good.

        Sure enough a couple of them did get invites, and offered them out... just as the whole "real names" hoo-hah came out. Heaven knows we were pissed off as it was by the real names policy (which Facebook was also laying down at the time), but that in itself, although a big blow, wasn't quite the fatal one. THAT was the revelation that if they decided against you, you lost years' worth of your emails with no comeback at all -- those emails that they'd been so adamant you didn't need to download to your local machine with POP etc.

        I think pretty much all those invites went unclaimed.

        They eventually back-pedalled as fast as their little legs would carry them, but too late, the damage was done.

  • It wasn't better. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Sunday April 26, 2015 @10:31PM (#49557789) Homepage Journal
    The big problem with G+ is that it was basically Facebook by Google. They tried to make a big deal about the circles but I didn't know anybody who found that to be a compelling feature and it just made the site more of a headache to use. Plus if you really care you can do that on Facebook anyway. This wasn't like Myspace where the site was quickly swirling the drain and people needed someplace new to go. Facebook still works alright for most people (although the way they keep using every trick in the book to use "Top" view instead of "Most Recent" is still obnoxious) and their friends are already there. It never had that killer feature to overcome people's inherent inertia.
    • Re:It wasn't better. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by LMariachi ( 86077 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @10:51PM (#49557865) Journal

      You don't know me, but I thought circles were... well, compelling is a little strong, but the whole G+ UX is vastly superior to Facebook's. Everything pretty much makes sense. OTOH, on the rare occasions I'm forced to interact with FB, I get that exact same throbbing headache I remember from troubleshooting other people's Win95 machines, which leaves me in a sour mood the rest of the day.

      • You don't know me, but I thought circles were... well, compelling is a little strong, but the whole G+ UX is vastly superior to Facebook's.

        Except the actual architecture. A G+ initial page load takes about twice as long as facebook. It doesn't do more, why does it take so much longer? It also breaks permanently if you click things before the page load finishes, and you have to reload the page to get it to work. Google is good at search, but they're shit at HTML.

    • by jcr ( 53032 ) <[moc.cam] [ta] [rcj]> on Sunday April 26, 2015 @11:32PM (#49557973) Journal

      You've hit the nail on the head. For a product or service to unseat a market leader, it's got to be MUCH better than the status quo. Facebook was that much better than MySpace. Google plus... Wasn't.

      -jcr

    • The big problem with G+ is that it was basically Facebook by Google.

      I thought the problem was it wasn't Facebooky enough. The original Facebook UI was very intuitive to learn. You sign up, link friends and your friends see your posts and you see theres. Simple. The news feed was linear and simple to understand and with just text or pics was pretty much all most people need to keep up relationships with all levels of friends and acquaintances.
      G+ and its circles was fucked by comparison. People you didn't know included you in their circles and got in on your shit, so it was

  • by SydShamino ( 547793 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @10:32PM (#49557795)

    Not that it matters any more, but if you work for Google and wonder why ignored all those invites, it's because you, Google, insisted I change how I share my use of your products as a condition of joining Google+.

    Before Google+, I used a variety of your products - blogspot, youtube, search. You know that the same person was using all these services - but the world in general doesn't, and most importantly, none of them were tied to my real name.

    Then, to join Google+, you wanted me to "convert" my account, and attach my name to everything.* I was not interested in that, so I diligently stayed away. For Facebook, on the other hand, I knew going in that it would use my real name. (I still waited as long as possible and only signed up to avoid becoming a hermit.) Since I knew my name would be attached from the start, the way in which I share has always been somewhat sanitized.

    Because you, Google, are so many things, you can't be a real-name social network, at least if you insist that I retroactively claim ownership over everything else. Sorry.

    * Even if this isn't true, this is what I got from all of the media coverage, discussion, and your own promotion. If I understood this all wrong and could have keep using the other services separately and anonymously, then it's your fault for advertising Google+ so badly. That's sort of sad, given that advertising is your business.**

    ** IIRC they did change this eventually, but by then Google+ was already an obvious failure and it wasn't worth creating an account.

    • I have only one FaceBook Account (that someone I deal w/ online almost forced me to get), and there, I entered a fake name and carry on my work.

      I think the reason Google+ failed was - who needs another FaceBook? If one wanted FaceBook, one could always use the original & real one - why migrate to that? But you are right - trying to coax me to use Google+ from my real account was annoying. Also, if I do a Google search on my real name, I see pictures that I had uploaded into Picasso a while ago that

    • I greatly disliked that if I wanted to comment on some stupid video, it was linked to a wok related identifier (since I have a Google apps for business account).

      Basically I stopped commenting on YouTube videos at all and greatly reduced my watching of them... hmm, perhaps I should thank them. :-)

    • by Kunedog ( 1033226 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @11:03PM (#49557905)
      Yep, if you want me to participate in an online community in a lasting and meaningful way, there's no way in hell I'm using my real name.

      Even worse, Google tried to confuse the issue (i.e. talk out of both sides of its mouth) by drawing a practically meaningless distinction [slashdot.org] between your "real" name and your common" name. See, your common name is "the name that you commonly go by in daily life," as opposed to your real name which is . . . fuck if I know. IMO, it was intentional double speak so they could claim "it's not actually a real name policy" whenever convenient.

      Add to that at least one false start [slashdot.org] of rescinding the policy (is this one [slashdot.org] for real? Who knows?), and it's no wonder most of the internet judged them no more trustworthy (and of course potentially far more dangerous) than Facebook.
    • by gsslay ( 807818 )

      This was certainly one of the reasons I didn't use Google+, or indeed 90% of Goggle's offerings. I have no interest in other people being able to track my life over multiple environments. I know that Google can follow me, that's unfortunately unavoidable, but what possible benefit is there to me that everyone else, (particularly total strangers, spammers, companies, work colleagues), can also follow me? Unless I am set on becoming some kind of internet celebratory, why would I want that?

      But for most peopl

  • by shihonage ( 731699 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @10:33PM (#49557797)
    Seriously, it was, and is, far more confusing and disorienting than Facebook ever was. It looked like a steep learning curve, to guess exactly what the privacy settings are, what "adding to circle" REALLY means, who sees WHAT, etc.

    Too few explanations, too many "helpful" abstractions. Not enough intuitive responses... i.e. places you'd expect to be (redundantly but helpfully) clickable, aren't...

    When it rolled out it looked like an alpha. I'm amazed that they fixed nothing since then.
  • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @10:34PM (#49557801) Homepage

    Google's social networking features remain marginal for the same reason all of the other social networking sites remain marginal: the value of a social networking application is proportional to the number of people who are already using it. And Facebook hit critical mass first, which means that anyone who wants to "socialize" online with all of their buddies is going to want to do that on Facebook, because that's where all of their buddies are to be found online.

    Asking people to also sign up for a second social-networking service is a losing proposition, because it inconveniences them (now they have to check two sites every day) without providing any compensating benefit (why talk to their friends on site B when they could already do that on site A?).

  • Well, that's easy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rebelwarlock ( 1319465 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @10:35PM (#49557805)
    It failed because it was boring, shitty, and unnecessary, just like this article. Next question?
  • by j127 ( 3658485 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @10:40PM (#49557827)
    One problem with it was the design. The interface was awful from the beginning. It looked sparse, while at the same time having WAY too much animation. It was so JavaScript-heavy that it wouldn't run on my netbook (4 Gb RAM). They killed off XMPP-integration and then abandoned RSS. There was no API for auto-posting, which increased the difficulty for creating content by people who take social media seriously. Google+ should have been much simpler and cooler. The Android app was (and is) completely obnoxious. Google are generally awful at design and should not try to be innovative with it. I can't stand animation, especially when it tries to be "cute". I stopped using it for those reasons, and I was a supporter in the beginning.
  • Why did a mega-corporation fail where a single guy succeeded? It's simple:
    • Lack of direction
    • Bloated interface
    • Too much Evil
    • Why did a mega-corporation fail where a single guy succeeded? It's simple:

      • Lack of direction
      • Bloated interface
      • Too much Evil

      And you think Facebook and Zuckerburg isn't at least as evil as google,

  • Schmidt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sarusa ( 104047 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @10:58PM (#49557885)

    People at Google have no real idea why people left their service (obviously). I'm sure those reasons do have something to do with it, but if they really knew how normal people reacted to things they wouldn't have such consistent spectacular self-inflicted product failures.

    What finally killed it for me and my friends who were on it when it seemed to be growing well (though slowly), and left, was Eric Schmidt being an arrogant f@#4ing douchebag and doing a one-two whammy with the real names thing and the 'you're just a bunch of pigs whose data we're selling' thing. Sure that was the obviously the case, as with Facebook, but coming out and saying it was just too much for my plausible ego denial. It had a tough uphill climb ahead, and then they strangled it in the crib.

    Yeah, this is a little flamey, but it's legitimately how I feel, no trolling. I was pretty upset he'd just torpedo it like that, and I'm sure people inside Google were rocking themselves in fetal positions as their point-haired executive crapped over everything they were trying to do.

    • Re:Schmidt (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jordanjay29 ( 1298951 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @12:52AM (#49558181)
      Ironically, I'd argue that since Schmidt left, Google's products have only gotten worse. Gmail was redesigned, and started hiding features rather than adding them. Labs was killed, mostly across the board (it still struggles on in Music, but for who knows how long?). Maps was redesigned once, twice, each time removing more of the interface and increasing the CPU/RAM utilization of hardware. Google, who used to be known for products made by (and for) power users, became a company focused on design and the democratization of the interface. Their latest introduction to Project Fi has basically completed the transformation, with Google's introductory trailer claiming that the service "just works," echoing Apple's famous adage from years ago.
  • by Jim Hall ( 2985 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @10:59PM (#49557895) Homepage

    I remember when Google+ first appeared as an "invite only" service. That was just before Facebook made the huge blunder of putting members' faces in ads for any pages they "Liked," suggesting an endorsement. I remember a lot of people everywhere got really angry at Facebook about "faces on ads," and even threatened to leave because of it.

    And Google+ remained invite-only. Pretty much no one I knew had an account.

    Over the next week, pretty much all you saw in the news was how people wanted to leave Facebook because of the "faces on ads" thing. What an abuse of privacy! You're stealing my image to sell products! There were a bunch of petitions for Facebook to undo the new "faces on ads," or else they would delete their Facebook accounts. The only problem was that there wasn't a viable alternate social network out there. Twitter wasn't really a replacement for how most people used Facebook.

    And Google+ still remained invite-only. By then, a few people I knew had accounts, but had run out of invites to share. So few others could get in.

    After a few weeks, Facebook decided to calm the storm, and undid "faces on ads." And as expected, people stopped freaking out about Facebook. After another week, even the tech websites stopped writing about "faces on ads."

    And finally, Google+ went "live." Anyone could join. I had an account, but few of my other friends bothered to sign up. Why? Because they were still using Facebook, they got over the "faces on ads" fiasco. Without other people to share with, Google+ failed to gain critical mass.

    Google+ failed because they didn't know how to respond to the opportunity that Facebook gave them.

    • by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @01:55AM (#49558305) Homepage

      Invitations were a mistake in the first place.

      It works for email because any email provider interoperates with any other. Having an account on gmail when nobody else does doesn't create any problems for the user.

      On the other hand the very point of social media is that everybody you know is there. Being alone on something like Google+ is completely pointless. Such a service should be grown in the completely opposite way of the "have people invite each other" idea, using any excuse possible to get people to sign up.

  • A contrary opinion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Sunday April 26, 2015 @11:26PM (#49557955) Homepage Journal

    But I LIKE Google+.

    I have much more meaningful discussions on G+ than I do FB, partly because the number of followers on G+ is less, so less crap. But FB is full f people who genuinely can't think. It's sad how hard it is to have useful discussions on FB.

    G+ also has much more interesting users. Maybe because they choose to participate, I don't know or care.

    I can decline to have photos shared, etc, not much worse than FB.

    If they truly hose up G+ in this split, I'll miss it.

  • Google+ would have been great had they taken the people out of it. It would have been great for devices to talk to other devices. It could have been the facebook for IoT.

    But they missed the mark.

  • by Bo'Bob'O ( 95398 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @12:25AM (#49558129)

    It was clear from the start that what it wanted was your information, they didn't even try to hide it with their real name policy. And for the trouble they didn't really give much more then their competitors were already giving.

    Yes, I think it was better from face book, but it didn't seem to have any care for any sort of privacy. So if you are concerned about your private details? Too bad. If you are in an online community that you don't care to share your personal information with? Too bad. Teenagers didn't like it, want to post where your parents won't see? Too bad.

    They mentioned that they made a service that was for Google, but not for it's customers, I don't think they really still understood how deep that went. The fact that they started forcing people to join only reenforced the reality of the situation, turning something that had potential into joke.

    Maybe someday someone will build a site for people the in the modern internet age, and not just for the corporation that runs it. G+ wasn't even a compromise between the two.

  • for setting mobile search to rank by mobile site design vs relevance. And yes all responsive websites suck. So I get an option of pinch and see and get the info I want on a normal website or I get Nintendo thumb from scrolling down and scrolling and scrolling and then going why the fuck is the navigation at the end of this bottomless pit.

  • by Gavagai80 ( 1275204 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @01:18AM (#49558231) Homepage

    Not becoming more popular than facebook is not failure. Google+ succeeded quite well, and many enjoyed using it. It's only a "failure" because google expects to dominate and destroy all competition and gives up and shuts down solid popular products if they don't become the market leader.

  • Google+ Failed because it did not provide any added value to the users.

    Too much integration of services is actually lowering the value, I don't see any value between which YouTube videos I have commented on and which searches I have performed.

    There is also a danger with too much integration - privacy matters, and if things are too integrated then it's a goldmine for anyone with malicious intent. If services are separated then each service needs to be targeted individually, which raises the stakes.

    Of course

  • Good thing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ttyX ( 1546893 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @01:31AM (#49558265)
    They tried shoving it down our throats, G+ account required for reviews on Play store etc.
  • by cjsm ( 804001 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @02:35AM (#49558377)
    I always thought part of the problem with Google+ was the branding. Google is a search engine in peoples minds. It doesn't conjure up an image of a go to social site just because it adds a + to the name.
  • Google+ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @02:37AM (#49558385) Homepage

    You wanted to compete with Facebook. Which you took to mean that I should be shoved onto it forcibly even though I have a fully-functioning social network with all my details, photos and friends plugged in anyway. You thought I should be badgered into submission until I moved all that content over, and have to go via roundabout routes to opt out of this stuff - on a GMail account I'd have since the first days of invite-only accounts.

    And you didn't listen or care at the time. If you're that forcible with getting the information out of me, imagine how forcible you'll be when I try to get that information on me back.

    Wouldn't touch it with a bargepole (despite being quite Google-centric in my services otherwise) just because of the "YOU MUST SIGN UP NOW" attitude.

    If you'd just done what you did with Google Mail, slowly adding in features (e.g. Google Talk, Google Drive, Google Calendar, etc.) quietly that I can choose to use as I see fit, and just stumble across them as I need, and can just use them without being required to fill out EVERY DAMN BOX every time, then it would have taken off much nicer. And if I don't want to use them... well, they're still there any time I do.

    Fact is, my Google Account is still the same one and STILL does not have a Google+ profile. Not even an image. Because, sorry, it doesn't work that way. I choose to use the service, you don't choose who must use it. When you tried to force me to fill out and use that part of my Google profile, I did everything I could NOT to. And look who won.

  • So little subject space.

    Back in January /. had an article: that "just 9% of Google+'s 2.2 billion users actively post public content. "We've got a grand spanking total of 24 profiles out of 7,875 whose 2015 post activity isn't YouTube comments but Google+ posts." http://tech.slashdot.org/story... [slashdot.org]

    I've avoided Google +, even got it removed from my account, at which point when I log into Google now I'm given the choice of which one of two accounts to log in with, both mine, both old, so one with Google +, one without. I only log into Google to post videos to Youtube then log off, POPing my Gmail, to my computer.

    I have a 4 second video nobody likes, and the comments threating, yet it's seen 500K views - the demographics one gets with that kind of activity is amazing, and justifies logging in only when one must, and logging off as soon as possible.

  • by obarthelemy ( 160321 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @04:05AM (#49558547)

    G+'s homepage was a disgrace for the longest time, filled with.. hangouts logs ? And not just at launch, this went on for months, and I gave up.

    They could have populated it with my RSS feeds + Google Now stuff, but they cut Reader, and Now isn't that good for me.

  • Google is reaping the rewards of their hubris.

    Fuck your real names.
    Fuck your forced G+ membership to comment in Play store.
    Fuck your forced G+ membership to comment in YouTube.
    Fuck your forced G+ membership to Login with Google Credentials.
    Fuck your bullshit.
    Fuck you.

  • by TheDarkMaster ( 1292526 ) on Monday April 27, 2015 @06:44AM (#49558913)
    Google+ failed miserably because no one wants every single video you saw listed for the whole world, 90% of the population does not want to show to the whole world what books you read, what pages you have visited or Android applications that you use. Hell, I'm not even sure if the hangout messages are really reserved for participants! Add it the fact that the interface is shit apparently made by trainees (probably the same idiots who made the "material style" on the Android Lollipop), and it's clear why this crap failed.

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