Losing My Patience with Google+

Over the last six months or so I have watched as the quality of engagement here on Google+ has steadily declined. I have watched my follower count fluctuate and flatline. I have watched as people I used to engage with quite a bit here have left or dramatically scaled back their investments of time here. And yes, I have seen my own enthusiasm for investing time here wane significantly.

I ask myself why and the answers are never as simple as I would like. In the end though, I have come to the sad conclusion that the real thing that is killing Google+ is just plain bad management.

Lack of Attention

One gets the real sense that many of the people now charged with running Google+ don’t really understand what it was that once made this service so good in its early days. Indeed, one gets the sense that few of the people managing the service today even really use Google+. There are a few noteworthy exceptions like Yonatan Zunger and Leo Deegan, of course. I once made a circle with some 50+ Googlers who were once active here, and when I click on that stream, well, it feels a lot like a ghost town.

Bradley Horowitz, the VP in charge of Streams, Photos and Sharing, (which is where Google+ sits within the Google org structure) hasn’t posted here on Google+ in half a year.

Oh, and remember Luke Wroblewski, who used to manage Google+ and would send out all those updates on the redesign? Well, he hasn’t posted a single thing here in over 7 weeks (even though @lukew is quite active on Twitter). You know why? I just happened to check his LinkedIn profile, and he’s apparently no longer managing Google+. I don’t recall seeing any announcement of this change – just a sudden silence from the man perhaps most responsible for the UI makeover of Google+.

Rudderless and Un-resourced

That decision to remake the Google+ UI followed a long string of decisions going back to the separation of Photos and Hangouts, each of which have seriously hurt the service. I know there were probably some good reasons to move to the new, mobile-dominant (as opposed to “mobile-friendly”) UI, but the lack of enduser empathy from deprecating all the old functionality really was pretty staggering. Much of it hasn’t come back, and much of what has is so stripped down (e.g. Events, community moderation) that it isn’t really that usable.

As users, we have been asked to be patient and to have faith in the new strategy. Because I have been such a huge fan of Google+ for so long, that is exactly what I have done. I’ve been patient. I’ve believed. Believed that some big, cool fix was coming down the pike that would not only fix all the problems caused by the UI decision, but actually start innovating again with some cool new functionality.

Yes, we got Collections, and they actually are quite useful even if they do need a lot of work still. But that’s really about it. It’s been a couple years now and the silence is stultifying.

And finally, it hit me:

Maybe this is it. Maybe Google has significantly curtailed its investments in this network. Maybe the management squandered the scarce resources it did have on a redesign that users weren’t really even asking for. And maybe, just maybe, what we see right now is pretty much what we’re going to get.

User Investments

And this is where I start to get really mad. Like many others here, I have invested a lot of personal time and energy building a following here. Like many of you, I have poured heart and soul into filling this place not just with great content, but also with a sense of community. I could have made those investments in Twitter or Facebook or reddit, but like many of you, I made them here. And now I’m starting to wonder how smart of a decision that was.

All of this is particularly raw right now because I’m starting to play around a bit with the new distributed social network called Mastodon (https://mastodon.technology/@gideonro). It’s far from perfect, but one thing that is very different is that it is open source and federated, rather than centrally owned and controlled.

There are lots of implications to this different model. For one, there is lots of competition and innovation in the works because Mastodon sits on top of GNU Social and rests within a “Fediverse” of related, and interoperable, social network platforms. They are working on solutions that make it easy to export your content from one platform to another – to prevent lock-in. Also, there is a lot of visibility on exactly what investments are being made in the platform by various contributors.

More importantly though, there is a very conscious understanding that the value of these networks is only partially the result of the software developers behind these solutions. Just as much of it lies with the end users.

In the end, this is the thing that I am most frustrated about right now with Google+. End users have made this place every bit as much as the coders and product planners behind Google+. This isn’t to in any way diminish the importance of those contributions. But what I do find frustrating is the way that Google seems to regularly dismiss the importance, and the real economic and social value, of end user contributions. This was true with Google Reader, and sadly it appears to be true with Google+.

I’m still rooting for Google+ to turn things around, of course. I have a huge soft spot for this place, given all the great learning I’ve done here with my fellow travelers. But one thing is clear: I’m losing my patience, and I don’t think I’m alone.

427 thoughts on “Losing My Patience with Google+”

  1. Gideon Rosenblatt​, I’ve been talking about this with other early adoptors. Like you, I invested a lot of time in G+. The interaction in the early days was tremendous and well worth the effort. Now, not so much. A lot of my fellow science writers are gone.

  2. I remember thinking of the innovations, and how Google was a step ahead of Facebook. They have up the advantages and then lagged. It feels like a legacy no one is inspired by.

    I want the promise land. I want a circle full of forums. I want to seamlessly share documents, images, and video. Google has the power to make this a special place, it’s not a competition with Facebook. It never should have been measured that way. That makes it feel like a failure. If this political cycle showed anything, it was this is still a viable place.

    So Google. Own this. Make it your own.

  3. I totally agree, John Lewis. In fact, I wish I’d added something to that effect in the post itself. There was just so much potential here and this was not about beating FB on the social graph. It was about creating a shared interest graph:

    plus.google.com – Yes, Google+ is Google’s answer to Facebook, but not in the directly competit…

    Still lots of potential, but I fear that the window was squandered and that the company may just have lost its appetite for more investment.

  4. I agree, it’s amazing how the quality of the stream differs over time (independently of user input factor) and it is very difficult to spot the logic that is supposedly behind it. The best indicator (at least for me) that something is being seriously messed up, are the “recommended for you” posts: There I got consistently over long periods low quality crap, often conspiracy theories, outright rightwing posts and things like that…

  5. They intentionally kill things after dumbing them down to uselessness. Us and Google is probably technically an abusive relationship at this point… But they’re Google… and we like to be on the winning team…

  6. Gideon Rosenblatt like others my feed is becoming much quieter. G+ never worked like FB for which I was glad. I joined to read science writers and others and also develop an audience on G+ for my sculpture. Unfortunately the science writers are leaving and the audience for my sculpture never materialized on G+.

    So far G+ has worked out to be as large a waste of time as FB. Is G+ going to have a new & improved version coming out soon – could care less. Same with FB.

    FB will still be around in some way or another in 5 years. G+ probably will not. FB’s main business is keeping FB going. G+ is just an appendage of ABC. It will wither and die.

  7. The saddest thing may actually be that you aren’t alone Gideon Rosenblatt. That’s the thing that ultimately becomes most concerning- that there are enough of us that are frustrated and disappointed that the pull of the drift away will become wider and wider. I have come to accept the situation to some degree, with a sigh and a small shred of hope that we can hang on and somehow, magically, the flame will be relit.

    The thing is that Google Plus remains one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. The depth of learning, the friendships, the discovery of writing as a form I get creative juice from, the work peers and clients. I’ve re-incorporated FB into my life and unsurprisingly, the people there that make it worth it are the people I met here from all over the world.

    My husband teases me about being the last one to leave the party in many of our social situations. Well…. I’m pretty sure I’ll be the last to leave G+ if it comes to that. I’ll just keep hanging in and hanging on gosh darn it. (stubbornly)

  8. Google has been disappointing me in a drip-drip fashion ever since Vic left. The moment they kill G+ I’m done with Google. I invested much time, effort, and emotion in this place, and they treat it like it’s worth nothing. That attitude feels… disrespectful and arrogant.

    Larry Page Sergey Brin Eric Schmidt While you are not looking, the kids are messing up the shop.

  9. I think that’s the part that is most frustrating, George Kozi. There’s a kind of indifference that comes from the way things are managed here. I don’t think it’s an intentional thing necessarily, but more a product of the kind of secrecy that Google has had to maintain from running a search service that people are always trying to game. The difference here, of course, is that this service is co-created. With us.

  10. Vic was always here. You couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting one of his posts. He was… interested. Not so our current overlords… I bet they are all on twitter though… And who knows, perhaps even on facebook.

  11. There is a certain… disregard for flesh and bone users at Google. They love data much more than they love people. I resisted this conclusion for a very long time, but it’s impossible to ignore anymore.

  12. It’s been massively disappointing and just keeps getting worse and worse. I haven’t seen the slightest evidence the Google cares about this. Everyone who was a power user here wanted “interest channels” but instead we got “collections” which totally flopped.

    I’m still hanging on by a thread to my big entrepreneurs community here, but Google has made it next to impossible to have an actual online community- they even removed Google Hangouts, which while never properly integrated could have been fantastic if they did it the right way.

  13. Gideon Rosenblatt , maybe it has nothing to do with the platform and everything to do with the people. You may have to face up with people on G+ that don’t do any type of marketing and are not interested in it.

  14. Gideon Rosenblatt I came to the very same conclusions only many, many months ago, just after the appalling changes that were thrust upon users. I was the biggest evangelist for Google+, I hung in there long after others walked away smirking about how they were right about it being a waste of time and effort.

    I have a presence on here for business purposes only, but I used to have lots of friends here.

    I’m under no illusion that anyone (Larry Page, Eric Schmidt) or anyone else in Google actually cares. They developed an amazing social platform, one which inspired, encouraged and allowed growth and development and then they quite simply broke it.

    This is Google … and you simply cannot put time, effort or faith into any of it’s products or services because they will be killed off, removed from service … whatever you want to call it. It’s happened time and time again and I predict Google+ and even Gmail will come to the same fate

  15. I know I hate the new formats and it has become difficult for me to blend into the new . So I just pop in and out. I loved here but now it is all different no long personal just a cold format that is also twitchy and jumpy from just a user point of view. It takes several ttys to get pictures loaded so I rarely bother now….I am depressed by the changes and all good things always get “improved” to death.

  16. My frustration with G+ started when I noticed that there was very little impact in terms of the Network’s activity, compare that to other Networks (Twitter specifically).

    Basically one could argue that the activity on Twitter actually flows into the physical world and affects it, Google+ not so much.

    Another source of frustration is that virtually all the people and groups who live in the same geographical space as me and have similar interests are no where to be found on G+, they’re instead active on Twitter & FB.

    So while I have made some really great connections over the years and have learned so much from the people who are active on G+ much of what I’ve learned and much of what I want to do seems to confined to G+ with no chance of it being put across those who are geographically close to me and happen to share my interests.

    I believe Gideon Rosenblatt summed it up very well with his post, I am loathe to leave G+ simply because I have made some excellent connections over here but I have realized that G+ is just a vast island with practically no way for me to get my message across to the mainland =(

    And to make matters worse the people behind it appear to have resigned to just keeping the network on life-support until a time comes where they decide to pull the plug.

  17. Tom Rolfson​​​ and I have had the same frustrations for a long time.

    G+ was/is the perfect way unite all Google products and services. I was convinced and fought the anti-G+ wars and simple silliness.

    Like you I’ve been here a long, long time. This is the only place I’ve found with intelligent discussion plus wonderful art, music and photography.

    The horribly named Hangout were the first of their kind and offered so many capabilities that my heart began to break when the new shiny toys began to attract the spotlight.

    No one can tell me the Google couldn’t create a one touch ‘hangout’. If freaking Facebook did it with one way communication and G+ already had true 2 way communication finding. A new start button should be a snap.

    I agree Gideon Rosenblatt​​​ that perhaps bad management, or worse, lack of interest is the root of the problem.

    I’ve not participated nearly as much this year as I have previously. Partly I was dispirited at the ‘hangout’ dwindling and partly for personal health reasons.

    I hope Tom Rolfson​​​ is feeling up to the cricitcal analysis he has considered writing for some time. He was in this space before most of us thought of a platform that could unite so many function and products.

    G+ is still the only substantive network that, to my mind and heart, encourges new relationships worldwide. I could start a list of the people I have met, face to face, all over the world.

    An example of relationships with mutual respect is Gideon Rosenblatt​​​ , David Kutcher​​​, David Amerland​​​, songstress and composer Daria Musk​​​, Australian musician Paul Platt​​​ and it goes on and on…And I would know none of them without G+.

    I hope we remain the place where we can have real interactions.

    Thanks for the topic, Gideon. It needs an even deeper discussion. G+ still has the capabilities. Perhaps we need to throw more deliberate work into using its many assets.

  18. Couldn’t have said it better. I admit I’ve pretty much gone MIA except for a few posts here and there. Other than David Amerland I’ve noticed everyone else has done the same. And rather than a place of conversation it seems to have become more and more a place of self promotion for many.

  19. Alexandra Riecke-Gonzales Oh WOW … You said a Mouth Full here … Excuse my French …

    I noticed “Self Appointed Guru’s” saying I have Holy Grail …

    David Amerland​ and Oleg Moskalensky​ are my Glue to Google Plus …

    I also think I know the Bad Guys and Gals …

  20. Hypothesis: Google Plus’s declining ‘engagement’, promoted by a series of design decisions divorced from informed and innovation-driven use cases, is a classic example of a wicked problem gone unrecognised and unaddressed.

    Wicked problems were defined in the late 1960s and early 1970s by University of California Berkeley professors Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber as the kind that could not be addressed with methods and techniques derived from a dominant engineering-scientific-management paradigm (ESMP). The paradigm used almost exclusively in IT-related disciplines, and most hostile to any development, product, or service which relies on social evaluation and judgement for its success or failure.

    Social media can work only if a critical mass of people finds in the platforms available a useful function or functions that doesn’t/don’t alienate their economic, social, or political sensibilities. You could call that a use case, or cases, which provide more perceived value than costs.

    Google Plus ‘created’ a use case early on mostly because its user base found their own value in the, as yet, relatively unrestricted and flexible architecture of the place, often contrary to the deliberate design of progressive and inherently anti-social fragmentation of interests and compartmentalisation of confirmation bias bubbles. But ESMP interventions turned it progressively into a forced march through an anti-social conception of the social.

    ESMP people are exactly the wrong specialists to drive Google Plus engagement because they will always attempt to subject human behaviours to algorithmic certainties. Alphabet would be better to put together a team with anthropologists, public affairs specialists, and social scientists to consider what kind of features ESMP types should build to encourage the commitment of time and effort that is called engagement.

    The social is messy, noisy, vibrant, annoying, delightful, and … engaging. Human, not ESMP. Serendipitous, not menu driven. As unpredictable as it can be and still meet Alphabet’s data mining objectives.

    Conclusion: Alphabet seems wedded to the idea that you shed experiments rather than try to build on them by re-examining first premisses to understand why something didn’t work the way it was intended (double loop learning). A corporate culture immune to double-loop learning will only ever create a series of rolling failures, even if these are profitable for a time. If Google Plus is considered at all valuable, it’s time to put a person or team in charge that doesn’t have a primarily technical perspective. ESMP specialists should serve human needs, not determine them in their blundering, Frankensteinian fashion.

  21. Please don’t tell me Google has already given up on Google+. I just thought they’d just be waiting on another possible working scheme to increase its popularity after forcing YouTubers to sign up to Google+ didn’t really work? … But shutting down Google+ please no! It still my favourite social media, very interesting shares all the time. Even if it just keeps on eating plus to my post and the number of my circles fluctuates​ and lesser interaction lately.

  22. The management has been absolutely atrocious. They’ve been mangling useful interfaces against the loud and vocal protests of everyone I know here. Frankly I don’t think this is accidental, or merely a product of bad management. Even poor managers will get some things right. They seem intent on destroying a once vibrant community of like minded creative types who fled FB because ‘reasons’. Google has become a shining example of Anti-Costomer Service. Time to move on. I will be checking out the various open source p2p solutions. Google, sadly, is rapidly sinking. Too bad. They had a really great thing going, but then ruined it. Frankly, I smell ‘politics’.

  23. This is the most relevant post I have read here for a very long time. I too am an early adopter. I have been hoping for 18 months or more that G+ will do something to repair the damage. One of the best aspects, as mentioned by others, was the interactive nature of hangouts and photos. Separation of those seems to have caused a void that has not been filled. Gideon Rosenblatt​ thanks for this post.

  24. The last part mentioning Reader almost brought a tear. I think that was the first Google program loss that really got to me. Never did invest again so heavily in an RSS network. Just saving to Pocket or Evernote is rather like hoarding with no sharing.

  25. We all knew this was Google’s management style years ago. None of these complaints are new, or unique to G+. Google has never successfully managed a community of users outside of YouTube, which is run somewhat independently of all of Google’s other services. We here at G+ saw very clearly what happened when Google tried to merge the communities here with Youtube. What happened was we lost.

    G+ is currently an appendix. It serves no useful function and fills no specific niche in the stack of even dedicated users. I keep using the service only to keep contact with some of the weak ties I’ve developed here. I’ve been urging those ties to migrate to other services so the network remains in tact.

    From the beginning, Google approached G+ from the perspective of their tech ecosystem: how can we fit this (fb/twitter-like) service into our product offering? This purely instrumental approach is never the way to grow a community. It was doomed from the start.

    If Google was smart, they should have taken their model from services like Tumblr, whose organic and self-motivated communities generate the content that continue to drive the memespace. Tumblr doesn’t see users at Instagram levels, but it sees engagement and creative content production that should be the envy of anyone tasked with developing a social network.

    If the people at G+ had sat down with the community leaders trying to cultivate the service (people like Gideon Rosenblatt and others in this thread) and asked them what they wanted from the service, and really catered the product to its natural audience, we could have had a beautiful thing.

    Instead, it was squandered on playing catch up with the Silicon Valley Joneses. What a waste, what a waste.

  26. cobalt please, at least they provided a migration path with Reader. I simply moved my feeds to Feedly, not lethal.

    With Wave – nobody really started using it much before they slashed its throat.

    But the Spaces fiasco – unbelievable! The only silver lining is that it was never made to be reliable and workable enough to recommend to my clients, so I only had to mess with manually moving my own stuff.

  27. Gideon Rosenblatt I feel the change. I have made friends and engaged in true conversations here on G+ more than any other social medium. I feel the lack of growth. I’ve seen people I met here leave although I see them on other SM. G+ is where I turn to have real interactions with people all over the globe.

    Recently I’m seeing non-interactive responses to my posts–Hi, Hello, Where do you live?, I want to be your friend, and the like. At first in G+ fashion I was responding, but discovered there was no conversation.

    I would be bereft of conversation and friendship without Google+, but the shift is noticeable.

    The shift from Circles/people to Collections/concepts was a huge change. Some groups like Google Create are attempting to address this shift but the conversations are not the same probing and questioning I experienced early on.

    I have no resolution suggestions. I will continue on with the friends I have made here until Google leaves us truly high and dry.

  28. cobalt please​​​ Reader was also left drifting.. but because it was free and massive, there wasn’t really a chance for better, paid for alternatives to thrive.

    After it was put down, the market suddenly came alive and stuff started to evolve again. (Except for some pages dropping RSS support entirely.. just last week http://indeed.com did that)

    But now we have inoreader.com – Inoreader – The content reader for power users who want to save time. which has all the features Reader had and much, much more.

  29. George Station pinged me into a share of this Gideon Rosenblatt. It is a perfect example of things that I’m missing unless I spend, literally, all day here and I’m simply not willing to spend that much time sifting through Notifications.

    Maybe I do, maybe I don’t have a different perspective than laying this at the feet of the interminable IU/platform/design/feature changes…but all of that said, instead I’m going to lay this at the feet of Users. I know that’s harsh, but it is my own observation that Users themselves fell pray to the ever-changing UI ‘stuff’ instead of staying true to their own courses and instead of championing and supporting one another here.

    When I first came to this Medium Klout scores were all the rage and they quickly were replaced by the importance of Follower count and umpteen posts about ‘how to’ Properly Do G+…post all the time, share all the time, comment all the time. Honestly, it felt like nursery school and children being lectured to about how to make really nice thank you notes.

    And, just like in school, individuality…all of the interesting people who flocked here because it promised freedom from external packaging, freedom from being chained and bound, from being brutalized into submission…submitting to the way, the how, the why…was squashed, dismissed, disregarded and it became a competition for influence, for importance and there was a total and complete disregard for and appreciation for a diverse palette.

    Woe be unto you if, like I did, you championed a way to just simply find things here by using Collections, only to discover that they were designed to completely replace a free-form expressive stream, unpredictable and wild, like wandering the streets of New York.

    Woe be unto you if, like me, you dared post, a lot, about politics…head for the hills…because you would have been virtually beaten to death by trolls.

    Woe be unto you if, like me, you didn’t spend all your time here and you were therefore thought not to be a player, a Power User…because you would fall of the veritable radar screen.

    I have actually been told, that politics and serious issues are not welcome here.

    Better to share pictures of butterflies and landscapes. Better not to make waves.

    Yes, that is all dictation coming from the powers that be at G+…but it was all accepted by Users.

    I share your sorrow, Gideon, at time spent doing something you believed in. But that is, quite frankly, the artist’s way. Artists write poems, novels, make films, paint, sculpt and spend years of effort doing things never knowing whether it is going to work, whether there will be an audience, whether there will ever be a ‘pay off.’

    The only thing that anyone can count on is their own website, their own work.


  30. Stuart O’Neill thank you for tagging me onto this threat. Gideon Rosenblatt your assessment is right on and very well said. I’ll add from the perspective of being one of the first 1,000 people on here, investing many thousands of dollars and hours into streaming Hangouts, even being told I INSPIRED THEM TO CREATE HANGOUTS ON AIR & YOUTUBE LIVE and asked to “advise & guide them” in the development of those, and then with Vic Gundotra very private Hangouts discussing features that needed to be added to communities. (For those who don’t know, I co-founded what was the world’s first privately held global social network in 1991) not bragging but “I KNOW how to make communities and chat super successful.” Google started paying attention and then just drifted off. When I’d ask privately with engineers “Why was this decision made? Why was that decision made?” it always came back to “That’s what the numbers told us people wanted.” That might be, but were they even asking the right questions? I doubt it. I don’t think a bunch of very young engineers who’ve had little if any “customer service experience” even comprehend how to ask what people want. A real test here is to see if Sergey Brin will respond as he’s followed me since the earliest days. Do they at the very top even care of Google+ fails or succeeds? I can tell them that it’s VERY QUICKLY failing as of late. It started about 2 years ago, but has begun an even faster decent. Like Gideon, I can look at my own posts and see less interaction (So I in turn post less and invest more time on Twitter), I can see my followers number flatline or vary by a couple hundred with almost the same # as Gideon.

    I’ve said from the very start, the #1 most obvious problems have been naming “Google+” is an idiotic name. Why use a symbol in your name that can’t be recognized in a URL? I said that before the beta invite arrived the day it was launched. Then “Hangouts” the greatest misnomer of what could have been game changing technology ever. I had to assist with the design & presentation to the CEO of a VERY LARGE >$4B company and suggest that he and his executives use “Hangouts” to communicate. This guy barely has time to “Hangout” with his friends after 18 holes of golf, has executives working 50-60hr weeks as the company is growing at a phenomenal rate… When he heard the term “Hangout” I could see him physically recoil and immediately dismiss the idea. If we’d been able to say “Video Conference” it would have made a difference, but we elected not to because upon start he’d see the word “Hangout” plastered all over everywhere. Google had the most powerful tool for community and business and squandered it. I’ll say it again “GOOGLE HAD THE MOST POWERFUL TOOL FOR COMMUNITY AND BUSINESS AND SQUANDERED IT.” While 5 years ahead, the entire world knows about Facebook live and even some of the most tech savvy people I know in other industries have never heard of a “Hangout” (I’d unleash a string of expletives here to express how lame it is… but I’ve told everyone from Chee Chew to Vic Gundotra and it’s never made a difference.) Again, they knew my background, they acknowledged I built and ran the first and most successful social network from 91-94 (I sold it), they asked my guidance and the dismissed what I IMPLORED to them to fix and change.

    Google+ has become a lame entity that I pretty much only use for business purposes to feed stuff into Google search. It’s still useful for that, but for personal purposes… sadly, the community that I once felt here is gone. I miss many of the dozens and dozens of close friends I made around the world.

    Google engineers will sit on their bouncy balls and spend their 20% time trying to re-invent something, meanwhile they’ve not even learned how to make the engine in front of them run. Google will work on world changing technology and not realize they still have the potential right under their nose… all they need to do is learn how to package and market it. What customer service is and how to communicate with real people not a bunch of propeller heads living in a bubble called GooglePlex.

    Google, you’ve fucked-up… badly. You’ve squandered the best technology and in the process broken promises (I could privately name a few), ignored feedback from your most connected members. You created a culture where people were promoted to celebrities and real celebrities weren’t appreciated. You asked people to give you their time, they did and you squandered that too.

    The bottom line:

    Google has diminished it’s user’s contributions to virtually nothing and at the same time found nothing to replace it with. There is no PLUS to using Google, and even I…the one who quit Facebook over 5 years ago have gone back there because the investment of my time and money on Google+ and WITH Google engineers has become an insult and caused me a feeling of disdain for the company in the process.

    Google forgot how they were made popular. Google AdWords and AdSense made millions of small webmasters their partners and put the Google search box on their websites. Without them they’d never have been known. But now, there’s little if any way for an individual to make money WITH Google. The feeling of or affinity for Google and incentive to help promote Google is gone. Google is now a big “nothingness” of dehumanization and automatrons running things purely on numbers… they still don’t understand “Social” isn’t numbers.

  31. I have given up on google+ as a viable business to business resource. The management team seems deaf to the pleas of those striving to make this a viable product. In a perfect world, facebook or twitter will create a search engine and adapt a B2B model that will end this nonsensical madness that will never reach full potential.

  32. Giselle Minoli​​​​ about the “you miss posts unless you spend your lifetime here” issue remember that’s by design – there is no “mark as read” button as there was on Google Reader that would let you make sure you have read all your friends posts even if you hadn’t been here in a while. Like you said Google wanted “the stream” so we were supposed to post here all the time.

    The problem with trolling is another design issue. The human brain reacts to negative input far more than it does to positive. That is just the we are wired. On Twitter, when people post negative crap it ends up on their own profile. On Google+ they can post crap all day without repercussions.

  33. I think this post indicates there are still quite a few people who follow you and who care about G+. Unfortunately the greatest predictor of future behavior is past behavior and I’m afraid Google/Alphabet is just no longer interested in investing anymore money/effort into this platform. We have become the 20% project for the new interns/employees. The problems with G+ were caused on purpose…for whatever reason. I think you should definitely be exploring new options for social Gideon. I have tested out Twitter and for the average user….it’s like standing in an alcove and shouting at people as they pass. Instagram is like showing everyone you know pictures of your food, pet, kid…very limited engagement. Facebook…is like going to a party with everyone you have ever known…with all the annoyance that comes with. Snapchat…filter fun with a bit of the creepiness of a voyeur. Take your pick.

  34. Gideon Rosenblatt Thanks for the post, there are a lot of people, me included, who are increasingly frustrated at the decline of real interaction on the platform. Google will of course point to the success of collections, and if that were measured purely in numbers, then it has been. I seem to have gathered 300+K followers since collections launched, but sadly no more than a handful of those followers have become friends. As a photographer I’m happy that more people get to see my work, but it doesn’t lead to much real interaction of any sort. (The glaring exception is the G+ Mentorship program that has survived the UI changes and provides wonderful support for photographers and vibrant communities, although even there the UI changes have made it increasingly difficult for all involved). From a logical perspective, it seems odd that a UI change would create such a decline in engagement, humans will overcome all manner of obstacles to make something work, but the technical difficulties seem to be the tipping point, the final straw that just makes it all too hard. I’ve loved being a part of G+, and for a long time it seemed to be a platform with glorious potential. I’d love to see some of that potential realised.

  35. Chris Sutton you’ve hit the nail on the head with your comment about increased followers but less interaction. Collections seem to have changed the culture of G+. It feels like we have less conversation and more Pinterest like behavior.

  36. I think it’s pretty simple, really; the interaction that we received in the early days of g+ were an anomaly. We all knew this, we often remarked “I don’t receive nearly this much incredible interaction on Facebook or Twitter!” And now we don’t. G+ has moved to collections, forget your profile follows. They’re dead. And if you post to a collection you’ll get lots of new collection followers, most of which are passive. And your interactions are drive-by like Twitter. Forget about converting any of the collection people to your profile, it’ll never happen.

    But regarding the rest. .. as I said about Dunbar, I think many of us are just burned out. I spend more time lurking then posting. Or I’ve changed the nature of what I post. Or the Interaction ROI simply isn’t there anymore.

    But that’s what happens. .. everything good must come to an end someday.

  37. Tldr

    It seems obvious to me that Google​ wants Google+​ to fail so they don’t have to maintain it.

    Seems all I do these days is block spammers, and mute/block sjw’s who aren’t interested in anything that does not endorse their special interest.

    Oh but there are “photogs”…. Cause every gnob with a smart phone thinks they’re a photographer these days.

    Mike Elgan​ has 5 million plus followers… And his pluses rarely exceed double digits…. And comments on his posts rarely exceed a couple of dozen. That’s zero interaction.

  38. I agree with your analysis except the “scarce resources” part, unless by resources you mean skilled management and creative, strategic thinking, which does indeed seem scarce at Google these days.

  39. Something I liked was the communities. Maybe they were a little wild and out of control sometimes, and maybe inadequately curated, but that is where I found curious and interesting people to follow. There is no innate discovery here now.

  40. Gideon Rosenblatt we embrace G Suite as a Collaboration plattform with G+ as an app. Collections, Communities, Posts, Streams, they are just spokes on a wheel. The hub is where our content is co-edited, discussed and used to create assets in real live. Google owns G+ not users. If we want’t to “own” somthing, it must be stored in a different “container”. Would you be interested in the details?

  41. Rob Gordon I understand, but don’t share, your view that people are wired to respond to negative input. That is true of some people, not of others. What changed between the early days and now is that, like a new neighborhood discovered by people charting out new territory in a city…the unafraid flocked to the new, the untried, the untested and showed up fully present. Then gentrification happens and everyone flocks to the cool eateries and coffee shops. Then those who had nothing to do with planting the garden discover the nice space and throw their soda cans and cigarette butts all over it.

    There is a difference between what the ‘owners’ of this medium do…and what the Users themselves do. When something is free…it is easy not to tend to it…and to shrug…oh…there’s another soda can another cigarette butt. And you hear people say, Ignore them there’s nothing you can do.

    Yes. There is. But it didn’t happen here because the expectation was that the ‘owner’ would tend to it. You would not drive around in a car covered with bird poop…at least I don’t think you would.

    I know I am not the only one who wonders what social media means in this context. Perhaps it…and we…go through phases of acceptance depending on where we are in our own lives at any given moment.

  42. G+ definitely has the smell of abandonware. Google has gone this route before with many projects (and I and I am guessing many others have been witness to quite a few) and it feels like all the others that have been axed in the past.

  43. I won’t repeat what so many have written here as I agree with the assessments and disillusionment. I, too moved here, lock, stock and barrel. Now I visit. I don’t live anywhere else, unless it’s my own blog/site from where I now share almost all my content to here, Twitter, Instagram.

    One thing baffles me. Who are Google creating this brave new iteration of the platform for now, if not for us? They answer that it’s for us and we will like it, just be patient. But there are hardly any of ‘us’ left and we who remain don’t. So who?

  44. Remember…. If you don’t pay for it, you’re the resource.

    I suspect that Google+​​ never made Google​​ anywhere near enough money…. That’s why they’ve allowed it to flounder, rudderless, sail less…. Crewless…..

  45. Giselle Minoli are you on any other social media platform? I ask because other than Snapchat (where only my kids even know I exist there) and Instagram (where people silently post photos) the comment sections of posts are a mix of toxic, absurd and thoughtful. G+ was only really an intellectual and thoughtful platform during beta. Once the general public came with their agendas and spam and scams… it became just like any other public platform. You can sort of control it by settings and blocking and limiting who can see/comment but really… Gordon has a point. I’m compelled to address your previous comment because I disagree. People who leave ratings are usually compelled by a negative experience. The political posts…All of them are inflammatory. It’s a divisive subject. Social activism posts are inflammatory. You have to expect that there will be people who really hate what you stand for. When they do… There will be negative comments, trolling, name calling. Social media is the easiest place to disagree. There are no consequences. If you hate my comment, opinion, stance, you can block me, tell me to eff off, mute the post or any number of options, but expecting a dignified, intelligent conversation when you post to the public forum seems to me to be an unreasonable and illogical expectation. That’s why some told you to post puppies and butterflies. The message was… your expectations about how people interact with each other on social media​. I’ve been here since the beginning and never once did Google say they were going to require a certain level of decorum. The terms of service never stated… You can’t be mean to someone. I was trolled by someone within a month of coming here and Google never once said… We’ll take care of him. Some guy created a copy cat profile of me along with my own picture and a nasty tagline and yonatan himself said… Whelp… Nothing I can do. So the owners never tended the garden. What happened is the people who cared about the garden got tired of dealing with the cigarette butts and soda cans and they moved away. You have to be your own gardener.

  46. I agree – it’s as if they want Google+ to fail. I’ve watched my follower count decrease slowly although I’ve not changed my behavior. And yes the people engaging have changed and become a smaller crowd. It is sad – because I really have loved G+ as a place of intelligent and thoughtful posting.

  47. Peter Strempel, that’s an excellent way of explaining the problem.

    Your first point about understanding the messy human behavioral aspects is so very critical. Lots of people here on G+ like to poo-poo Facebook, but one thing that we have to acknowledge is that they really get emotional intelligence. I mean, just as a simple example, on Facebook you can “@” mention someone and then delete their last name so that you’re just referring to them with their first name, just as you would in real life. It’s way more social, and the kind of subtle nuance that Google+ just completely misses. I share that not because G+ needs that specific feature, but because stuff like that matters.

    Your second point about failure is also bang on. And I would add one crucial fact. By abandoning what it considers failures, Google is externalizing much of the cost of those failures onto its users. At some point, people start to say “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” That’s when people begin questioning any future investment in any kind of co-creative investment with Google. I have already heard this many, many times from people.

    I used to work at Microsoft, which suffered from its own brand of hubris in the 90s. While it sometimes takes a while to come full circle, that kind of behavior doesn’t tend to end well for the companies that practice it on an ongoing basis.

  48. Gina Fiedel, I’m completely with you. I, too, will probably be one of the last ones out the door. The last thing I would want a post like this to do is to catalyze more people leaving. I’ve been holding off on a post like this for months now for that very reason. But finally, today, something just clicked and I couldn’t not say something.

    I love this place too. It has been my office and my school. I have learned so very much from so very many people here. Many of them have left or dropped away so that I no longer hear from them.

    The thing that got me mad was this very palpable sense that a great many of the end users of this service seem to care way more about it than many of the people building it. And that is a real problem.

  49. I agree – I think G+ is a precious space – it’s not ‘creepy’ like Facebook

    – but more it’s a very positive – open space – of sharing in many ways. I

    want G+ to flourish.

    John Verdon

    Complexity and Foresight Consultant



    4 Ashbury Place

    Ottawa, ON


    voice 613-518-7872

    searching for the pattern which connects….

    knowing the difference that makes a difference…

    Sapere Aude – The true is the whole.

    Compassion is the natural condition of what one really is.

    Lowly, unpurposeful and random as they may appear, sidewalk contacts are

    the small change from which a city’s wealth of public life may grow. – Jane


  50. Pam Adger​ While a real user I didn’t experience any heavy negativity. Perhaps I simply followed the right people with my small following but happily most of my interaction is in the comment streams and haven’t drawn out the trolls.

  51. John Verdon​ Isnt a decrease in followers perhaps a weeding out process? Could be very helpful.I’ll take 200 truly engaged followers over my 3000+ followers who probably don’t read anyway. If you are trying to use this as business building platform it’s very difficult. I could name a few that left and found more potential customers elsewhere.

    Again itsthe quality of the system/platform and the fact any topic can draw these serious engages.

    I thank Tom Rolfson​ for his very up close view.

    Gideon Rosenblatt​ you may have created the method of breaking through the amorfous wall that surrounds Google these days. If we share these to enough people perhaps Yonatan Zunger​ can ping them to the right people.

    There is a passionate core of users.

  52. Agree – that an engaged group is way better than just a swarm. It’s that

    there is no coherent explanation – it started happening when I had to adopt

    the new G+.

    John Verdon

    Complexity and Foresight Consultant



    4 Ashbury Place

    Ottawa, ON


    voice 613-518-7872

    searching for the pattern which connects….

    knowing the difference that makes a difference…

    Sapere Aude – The true is the whole.

    Compassion is the natural condition of what one really is.

    Lowly, unpurposeful and random as they may appear, sidewalk contacts are

    the small change from which a city’s wealth of public life may grow. – Jane


  53. Stuart O’Neill and that’s the experience of lots of people. However, outspoken women on the internet who post and comment publicly often have different experiences. I’m outspoken, abrasive and unapologetic about who I am and what I think. I attract a lot of trolls. Giselle is an intelligent woman with an opinion who often posts publicly. She attracts trolls. It also has a lot to do with expectations, and tone. Lots of men attract trolls too…so it isn’t always a gender thing. It is often a comment thing…a topic thing and of course…how far reaching your post is to the public in general.

  54. Blogging.ThreadsRift Welcome, and perhaps you and your fellow newcomers can help us rejuvenate this place! Many of the commenters here came a long time ago, for something very different from what exists now; we might not have come for what there is today, but we’re still here for our friends, teachers and students, audience.

  55. Gideon Rosenblatt This is your potential army that can be spread. We want G+? Then, by god, we fight for it. Within our friends and followers there is the talent to make detailed, consider collaborative suggests. Will they listen? Let’s start with friend Yonatan Zunger​. Oh and I forgot earlier to ping Eli Fennell​. He has a great voice. I’d like to hear what he has to say.

  56. Daniel Estrada, I think you’re right about Google’s struggles with community, and this echoes some of what Peter Strempel was getting at above.

    One thing that is interesting is that when you look at the original motivations for Google+ from way back (“sharing is broken on the web” — see link), you see how they inadvertently stumbled onto a slightly different problem than just the social graph. In those early fumblings, they had the very early edges of what the other opportunity was: the “shared interest graph.” In their concern for keeping track of human signals about the value of various pages out their on the web, they had the early inklings of something that could have been really different from Facebook.

    Unfortunately, something happened, and that nuance was lost on the management of Google+. It ended up becoming a war with Facebook in some convoluted battlefield that was probably quite confusing for the people working on this project in those first few years.

    Eventually, the ship was righted to a good strategy with the new focus on shared interests. But by then, internal relations with the rest of the company had been sorely tested, resource allocations started to become a question, and, as we’ve noted, the execution of this new strategy ended up being quite ham-fisted.

    blogs.msdn.microsoft.com – Why I left Google

  57. So many good points of views here. Most of you may not know me. I am a reader / follower, and not a content provider, or large scale distributor. This is my only active social network. On facebook I may find more people who know me. On linkedin I can find most people who have been my past colleagues. But the people I follow here are 99.9% unknown to me personally. So, is this a social network for me in the same sense? I guess it is a network where I am trying to get the future society with which I get to interact, as against the past society other networks have been reinforcing.

    I viewed social media on the lines of producers of content, distributors of content and users of content. I have found quite a few great producers of content here. It was a great learning experience. This dimension was not possible for me in facebook or linkedin. I accessed the great producers, thanks to the great distributors. I do find posts from many of the people whose writing I enjoyed have been diminishing. There were times when I thought I am being victimized by an algorithm. I started marking the posts I liked with a plus so that the algorithm can typecast me better. Then I thought I need to moderate this as my appreciation for a cute cat picture does not mean I need more cat pictures on my stream. So I carefully avoided ‘liking’ some posts even if I appreciate them, for fear of getting flooded with any marginal interest topic. Once in a while I used to find some change in the nature of the stream, and these instances were followed by a survey query asking me if I like my stream. I was worried that I am now a lab rat being experimented upon, and apparently the algorithm could not clearly classify me and is making some periodic effort. This is a ‘user category’ perspective. Most valuable contributors would not be in this boat.

    I guess the category of past friends or past colleagues adds an emotional bond element in facebook / linked in. The comments there are not necessarily of high quality for a discussion, but there is a greater degree of acknowledgement from a larger number of people. Many here seem to engage comfortably, while I do not. I guess engagement has 2 dimensions. One is I should be extrovert enough to express my thoughts in a domain where I am learning. Two, I should have some thing profound to say as there is no past relationship to condone any thing trivial. Then I realize I am not an adequate trader in the information economics. So many of you invest time and build a following while making valuable contribution. What can a consumer like me do to ‘pay’ for the value I receive. Generally they say, attention. Which translates to plus, share, and comment. As an introvert, I am slowly beginning to comment. My following seems lean, and most of the shares do not get much traction. Still, I think I should do more of this.

    When we benchmark other forums and feel we are not getting traction here, we need to also wonder if the benchmark factor is right. A baby elephant calf is heavier in weight at birth and also grows in weight faster. A human baby gains weight much slowly, but its brain has a greater potential to grow. Are we going to benchmark body weight or innovative brain? I still think with all the dilution that happened, G+ is different and closer to my liking than other networks. Up to a stage the technology and infrastructure facilitate. Beyond a point, the network should perhaps be growing organically on its own. As I am not a producer, I am not able to empathize adequately with the frustrations on what G+ is undoing or not doing that affects you. Let me know as a reader – who has been enjoying your posts – what is that I can do to better show my appreciation. I do not need a network that has a billion members. I only need a network that has 100 great contributors that I can follow. What is that a great content provider desires?

  58. Alex Lapidus Thanks.. I have just started liking the interface. I personally see it as a great platform because,

    – It is well integrated with YouTube.

    – It is well integrated with Google Search.

    – Hangout service is free and can prove to be extremely useful.

    – Collections feature seems great.

    – Communities are great for meeting the right people.

    – Hashtags also exist.

    So, what is the platform lacking?

    I am not able to grasp, why there is a general tide that Google+ is Dead for a long time. And now,

    When a lot of Google+ masters are complaining about it, why exactly they are not getting the expected results and engagement really?

    Isn’t it proportional to one’s effort and smartness?

  59. The old g+ was better. Back then they listened to reports and handled the things such as porn spamming bots, and didn’t just implement “held for review” that basically told us to ‘do it yourself’, that slowed down posts and if it is active and all mods become inactive, everyone’s posts will be stuck in it, killing the community. Before, it was easy to moderate, now if a member blocks a mod which people with bad intentions do so they can sneak under our noses we can’t search them and remove them manually. Before, it used to have a red flag signal at the top of communities so moderators can clearly see if there’s stuff in the filter, and it has a exact number of how much was too, up to 10+. Now there’s no telling how much is in there, and on mobile there’s been a glitch where posts don’t give the option to be approved or denied and they have to stay floating in there.

    Before, everything was easy to find and in the open and customizable. Now, the “about” section of profiles is hidden and newer users won’t even know it’s a thing. The settings used to be easy to find and change as well, they’d be in a easily accessible list under a category of “account” to “posts”, and I could look at all options easily.

    Back to communities, (desktop) the description (there the rules are often listed) is now scrunched down in an corner under the title and is quite uncomfortable to read, and can only see maybe 6 lines at a time? Before it was on the other side, clearly visible and easily readable, with the categories under the title instead, them being easily accessed too.

    It seems with the new update, they hid everything and sacrificed the primary functions of the things for design and appearance. Not just with here, but all their services. Like the Google sheets thing, where you can make surveys, I had to use it for school once, the printed instructions given to me were with the old design, I had a hard time finding any of the settings, took me a good 5min to find how to add another question- I couldn’t tell if some things would actually do anything if I clicked them, or if it’d do something else and ruin the document. From the instructions on the paper of the old version, all the settings were out front and visible, easy to figure out and use. Once again back to Google hiding things for a common design with this visual update.

    And, I’ve noticed g+ (app) crashing a LOT more than it used to. It crashes at least once a day for me (I use it frequently because this is my main media and I moderate over 50 communities). Hangouts does the same. By the crashing, I mean it doesn’t seem to connect to the internet when I know I have it because my other apps work. It either shows a loading sign forever or does so for a little while then closes itself out. I have to wait a few minutes to get it working again.

    So basically,

    This new update=

    Functionality traded for new visual design

    Features have to be searched for

    Less customizable

    Difficult moderation

    Glitchy system

    Decreased quality on app, and now desktop, resulting in users stopping using this site all together. This causes things like you listed above to happen, with loosing followers and interest.

    The app was pretty limiting before, so I’d often get on my laptop to do important things I needed to do, because it was professional and gave everything Google had to offer. Now, this new update has stooped down the desktop version to the quality of the app.

    I know Google is much more better than this and has much more to offer, like before. But this new design eliminated all it had before. Google has too much.. quality to it for this design. This design limits Google’s abilities, ditch this design, it’s holding us/you/it back.

  60. I think Google does well with mature product categories where only small incremental changes are required to keep going (e.g., search, email, word processing). But for dynamic, rapidly evolving product categories like social networking or messaging, Google doesn’t seem to have what it might take to succeed: dedicated people who pour their hearts into a product, who want to see it grow, evolve, and succeed. Vic Gundotra seemed to be that kind of person. Many Google products have frustrated me with their glacial speed of development over the years and I often thought that a bunch of motivated and spirited summer interns could have done more (and better) with Google+ or Hangouts, for example, in a couple months than what Google did all year. Why Google so often starts strong and then fails miserably is anyone’s guess. But the fact that it happens over and over again points to a deeply flawed culture within the company.

  61. Giselle Minoli, thanks for that comment. As someone who has carved out a relatively unusual mix of beats myself, I share some of your experience. I’ve also taken some beating for sharing politics here. Though as Pam Adger notes, as a woman, you’ve probably had to deal with more BS.

    In the end, one of the reasons that I’m interested in Mastodon and GNU Social more broadly is your last point. Centralized services carry an inherent risk that they will be shut down or wrecked by management without due consideration of users’ needs. I just talked to a guy today on Mastodon who runs his very own instance of the service himself and then just federates with the rest of the other federated social networks. I don’t mean to paint an overly-idealistic portrait here. There are still lots of challenges, but to me, distributed feels more like the future.

  62. Mark Bruce I have the same worries as you when checking my notifications, it’s given me anxiety and I’ve been depressed lately and everytime I see the notification pop up in the corner of my screen I get this instant stab of worry and dread. I have to take breaks from this site days at a time, I fear to just keep my sanity. Often the only notifications I have are people angry at me for enforcing rules in my communites, often immature and just plain senseless people. It’s everyday and I almost never see interaction that’s just a pleasant conversation between subjects me and someone else are interested in.

  63. Sowmyan Tirumurti You’ve answered your own question. This was an excellent response filled with content. I encourage you to plant your flag where you enjoy the content, and with the Arts, beauty. My interests are very wide and varied. It’s one of the strengths of the Plus. Enjoy it.

  64. Sowmyan Tirumurti Be yourself. If that means mostly lurking, fine. If you can, once or twice a year, tell the content creators whose work you enjoy the most: “you may not hear from me much, but I just wanted to tell you I really love your work; thank you for sharing it with us.” The pluses are nice, but sincere comments like that are always special for me as a photographer.

  65. Has anyone else noticed that lots of the folks here from 5+ years ago and still here are more and more getting to know each other more and interact? Been surprised lately people I follow are reaching out and following others I know. It is very common now to bump into folks you’ve not seen a post from in forever, and there they are commenting on a mutual friend post. It’s like wagons circling where the most committed are forming tightening circles. And I swear that Dan Weese and Pam Adger and Bruce Shark know everyone with a pulse here.

  66. Blogging.ThreadsRift In brief, what we used to have that has been stripped from us is our identity. I am an artist; I have a voice. If you like my work, you should probably just see it all (I don’t post anything else). My collections are not my “interests,” it makes no sense to break up my work by style or subject, and I regret ever creating them. I want you to come visit my profile, see my albums (!) of photography, decide if you’d like to follow my work or not. Now albums are gone, everything is fragmented into collections, and you can’t come see who I am as an artist (at least within G+).

  67. Dennis Rünger Why Google so often starts strong and then fails miserably

    I believe it is because Google employees fancy themselves as innovators and creators. To shepherd a product to maturity requires commitment as nurturer. There is no glory in that.

    The Google ethos values and encourages “NIH” (not invented here). Look at the cluster#*@% coming out of their instant message #trainwreck. All of the fancy-shamcy stuff being rolled out in products-that-will-not-be named could have been rolled into hangouts, but there is no glory in enhancing existing products.

    So we create 30 more that nobody will use.


  68. cobalt please Do I seem to know everyone with a pulse? Doesn’t feel like it. I don’t play the Collections Game at all. It’s nonsense and I have no idea why anyone would play it. I post almost everything public, I try not to bother anyone with personal travails, for me, who works alone, G+ is not where I go to unburden my soul or post pictures of the food I eat or talk to my relatives. It’s where I go to meet intelligent people because there are lots of them here, a few of them are refugees from NYTimes commenting, that goes back to well before 2000. It’s just that simple. That’s all I want from G+.

  69. I’ve noticed the decline as well. Like most, I agree it started around 2 years ago. During the great “get rid of photos and Hangouts and Hangouts on air” movement.

    I’ve expressed opinions and even managed to get people like Carter Gibson​​ to reply back, but it’s usually the same old PR routine.

    My opinion (it could be right or wrong) is that G+ started out as an original idea. To do social media with stuff from twitter and Facebook but with stuff like post editing tools like bold and more robust controls for things like streams (I miss circles).

    However, it did the reformation into this collections and Pinterest thing. No more reverse chronological streams (making it impossible to follow news), and regular posting was replaced by following topics and hoping the creators weren’t bat shit crazy (some weren’t).

    Frankly, G+ feels like a network without an identity. There’s no clear, logical use for it anymore. It’s too impersonal to replace Facebook now (the revamps have done nothing but lessen the importance and usage of circles in favor of a follow dynamic like Twitter, although it is buried deep down if you search for it). It’s not chronological so you can’t use it to find news and trends like Twitter. And Pinterest does a better job at being itself than G+ does.

    I’m sure there are plenty of reasons why, but frankly, G+ was its strongest when the user could define how they wanted to use it. Just friends? Fine. Just like twitter? Fine. Just like Facebook? Fine. Like Reddit with communities instead of subreddits? Sure!

    It was never better than Facebook at being Facebook or better than twitter at being twitter. But the fact that you could switch your stream from “friends” to “news” then hop into a community to talk about hockey was something those other sites couldn’t (and still can’t) do. It was a reason to come here every day.

    I dunno, I’m just rambling lol. I’m also salty that my following dried up like California during the drought. I’ll admit that. Like many, I had a good sized, loyal following and I followed a ton of people. I don’t see their posts anymore, they don’t see mine. We weren’t a huge community. Not like Facebook or Twitter big here at G+, but at least we were happy and loyal. Now? Well, time to go see the hockey scores on Twitter since G+ doesn’t show me NHL’s posts anymore (assuming they even post here anymore).

  70. Dan Weese Holy Moly, you were on the NYTimes abuzz? That was my very first meaningful social media and I had a ball there from 1999 to 2001(or 2002). Until the NYTimes lost interest in hosting it and could never figure out how to monetize it. Oh oh…

  71. Stuart O’Neill I don’t believe either. It was just because I read some conspiring theories how Google+ would end up being shut down, in the previous comments. I honestly and usually think how my life is interesting with Google+ because of the interesting contents that get shared around in my circle, forget Facebook! I can’t imagine Google would just decide to end that on many of us no matter what. I also believe that Google needs to keep up with upgrading the media.

  72. Alex Lapidus Yes, I liked some of your photographs. I understand your point that Collections signify interests and Albums signify Art.

    Honestly, looking at the functionality, collections don’t lack anything that albums had. Instead, it has more functions, because albums could only contain photographs, but collections can contain anything. I understand, other stuff is mostly irrelevant to you, but that might not be the case with everybody.

    Albums never used to tell directly to the visitors that the pictures or photos in the albums are owned by the profile owner, but yes mostly that was the case. Also, generally collections indicate that it is a collection and not necessarily the work of the profile owner.

    About Me Section describes your profession and you don’t necessarily have to divide your albums into different categories. I understand your point anyway. It actually seems Google does not care much for Google+ after going through the whole thread.

    Now, I am in a dilemma should I stick to it or not.

  73. I want to ask everybody on this thread, what’s the conclusion of this whole discussion?

    Should we all stop using Google+ together and run away as far as we can? lolz

    Right before this thread, I was thinking of new ways to use Google+. Now, I am wondering have I only wasted my time setting it up.

    I want to ask everybody here, Is Google+ Dead? Be Honest..

  74. The main problem is from my PoV that G+ leaves two questions currently unanswered:

    a) For which target audience G+ is supposed to be?

    b) What is the purpose of G+ for these user?

    It is my impression that I no longer match the intended audience and the purpose, for which I use G+, is no longer supported.

    Concerning the audience it was clearly targeted towards “interesting people” in it’s early days. It was not designed to connect to high school sweethearts or distant relatives.

    The purpose of G+ at those days to be able to find the relevant posts from the interesting people in a minimum amount of time.

    I felt right at home and loved it. This is no longer the case.

    Nowadays I have problems finding my own posts from two months away. It takes too much time to walk through my stream and find the interesting posts that become more and more rare. My workflow has been broken and it takes me 3-4 times as much time to walk through the same amount of posts.

    My mission statements for G+ would be:

    1) I am interested in people, not topics. Help me locate those.

    2) Time is of essence. The highest regard G+ can show me is to respect that my time is limited and help me make the best use of it.

    To be clear: I am not the owner of G+. It is perfectly OK for Google to take it into a different direction. But it would be nice to tell us the direction ahead of the time.

    I may be not the typical user. I am more interested in “network” than “social”. I abhor Facebook and the worst thing that could be done to me is waking up in G+ and finding it just has become a clone.

  75. Robert Wallis It’s not just that someone who’s interested in and understands the project has to run it.

    It’s that they’ve got to be empowered to act and decide according to that orientation.

    At least one of those three elements has always been missing here. I’m inclined to say that at least two, and over most of the life of G+, all three, were absent.

  76. They say millions of people make a living on eBay, tens of thousands do with Amazon affiliates, likely millions do on Facebook with ads, the ability to sell products, book events, etc… I made thousands per month there with ads before I quit being fed-up with their disrespect for individuals private info and selling the same. Many of us invested a lot of time and in many cases money in hardware for studio sound broadcasting of Hangouts On Air, developing peripheral service sites, etc. But Google failed the tens of thousands that came here capable of marketing legitimate products and services. Their lack of advertising and policies prohibiting the sale of goods and services (while turning a blind eye at Kohl’s and other large retailers… or even hosting the fashion show Hangouts that sold merch.) I’m fortunate, retired at 35 with a passive income and security for life… but I watched hundreds of people essentially go broke… investing their time and becoming Google+ experts and Google simply ignoring that commerce is what makes the world go round. The thing that made Google… is what they forgot to put here… the ability for millions of people to be their partners. So… we go back to Facebook and Twitter and make money, we invest our time and money where it gives us the greatest return… and Google loses the asset that they most need and sought but apparently never realized… the people…who make money.

  77. You’re for sure not alone Gideon Rosenblatt.

    After Vic Gundotra left no one really wanted to be responsible for Google+ anymore. Google management simply did not know what to do. They gave up on connecting people and wanted to make it an interest based network. Collections are nice but a half-hearted management and team will not convince users and companies. Instead of adding functions and trying to combine to connect people AND interests a new GUI was rolled out.

    Don’t know but Google should probably take over Twitter and really create something new and fascinating instead of cutting Google+ in thin slices and pushing all kind of “new” stand-alone products which don’t really work well together anymore. People like Fakebook because you can do there everything and it’s easy. I like Google+ because of discussions like this one here, although I’d rather have another topic.

  78. I’m fascinated by Mastadon and looking forward to the jump. Maybe it will still be alive when I over overcome my inertia.

    The end of G+ is a good thing, if we can get a more decentralized “social” experience on the net.

  79. Martin Seeger Google shows a tremendous amount of contempt for the user, and most especially the power user. I’d realised that some years ago with the help of Homer Slated’s epic rant:



    Why a motherlovin’ search company cannot … offer me the tools to search my own damned posts for content of interest (a key feature of Reddit that I use … all the damned time, including to pull up the link above, in a few seconds), is … beyond me.

    (This failing applies to other sites — it’s the number one complaint I have of Ello, and it’s something Mastodon lacks as well.)

    In my “Minimum Viable User” Mastodon tootstorm (sorry about the format, it really is a writer’s indulgence), I touch on why software vendors aim for the MVU, and the problems that results in for the small fraction of users who are actually capable. With pointers to the OECD study showing just how small that set is…. Linked above.

    Which brings me to a prediction:

    As the idiots and marketers fall off and away from G+, and the true believers hang on, there will actually be a last slight brightening. That is if the simple momentum of mass Android-driven registrations doesn’t blot that out.

    But the real clue left long ago.

  80. I noticed that Yonatan Zunger​ is apparently more active on Medium and Twitter than here. Bradley Horowitz​ hasn’t posted for ages, if he still is responsible he doesn’t seem to care. Dave Besbris​ was responsible shortly after Vic Gundotra​ left, but was replaced soon and is now VP of something completely different. It doesn’t look good for Google+​. But then again it doesn’t look for Twitter either, the Twitter stock dwindles for the last 5 years, and despite the support by Trump it doesn’t recover.

  81. Alexander Wait Zaranek I personally don’t think G+ really has an end anytime soon. It is integrated with YouTube, search results, your google account and Allo will be connected with that as well.

    People are not that active on Google+ as compared to FB and Twitter, but Gmail is still the major player in emails. My point is everybody who owns a Gmail, can become active on Google+ without even having to create an account.

    Plus, it offers some great features. It is just that people, in general, are more habituated with FB and Twitter.

    It seems to be a good business tool, especially because it is Google and well integrated with its different services.

    There are great features like Hangouts, Collections can be used well too. So the end of G+, I don’t think it’s happening anytime soon.

  82. Gideon Rosenblatt distributed was the future last century (Usenet) and federated (OStatus) seems to be the future. Mastodon does have some issues to resolve, but as you I see a lot of potential there. Moving away from centralized services won’t be all that easy for “end users” but it might be possible soon.

  83. Alexander Wait Zaranek For the mechanics of it: Mastodon and several associated projects have donation and Patreon pages. So there’s that.

    I’ve been researching media and its history over the recent past — no more than 10,000 years or so. Short upshot is that media tend to attract funding from two types:

    1. Those who have some message they specifically want spread. We’ll call them the Sophists.

    2. Those who seek and help others seek the Truth. We’ll call them Platonists.

    You might gather by the names that the rivalry between the two has been ongoing for some time.

    It’s the debate between rhetoric and dialectic. It’s a battle Google ended up on the wrong side of, despite having anticipated the problem. Go read Faust.

    If Mastodon, or OSocial, or Diasapora, or PostActiv, or some other open, Free Software, federated, open-protocols system is to become widespread, it’s going to be because it’s attracted attention from the Platonists. Including some larger interests and donors.

    I’m hoping that might happen.

    patreon.com – Maiyannah Bishop is creating microblogging software | Patreon

  84. You really said it perfectly Gideon Rosenblatt​. I used to looking forward to coming here. Now it’s seems like a disappointment. One thing I have told myself about Google is it’s one giant “startup” with bottomless pocket. And this is just one of their many products that will end up on the chopping block. Very sad, but at least if we look at it this way, we won’t be as sad if it comes to an end. I’ve made man wonderful friends here and it’s going to sucks when this ends since I mostly interact with most thru here.

  85. Chinh Luong Chopping block. I don’t think so. I feel Google+ can be well used for good engagement. This thread is a good example of that only.

    If anybody says, the only good discussion you can find on Google+ is about Google+ falling. It makes no sense to me. We need people to discuss that also. There are people who are doing just that.

  86. Buzz was better than this.

    I didn’t read all the comments because reading a comments stream is so painful. There’s so much javascript in the page that this comment is painful to write. On Chrome on a top of the line Dell.

    If G+ fails and is closed it’s now no great loss, because there’s nothing much happening here. The centre of attention has moved to Facebook, Twitter (ugh!), Reddit, Mastodon. What’s really sad is that G+ is not the only Google property being broken by bad UI, bad function and bad management. Youtube, Maps, News, Googlegroups. Even Search.

    And then there’s the evil. As Edward Morbius frequently points out.

  87. Edward Morbius It would be much easier for me to accept if I could see Google profiting from those moves (even though I don’t). But to me it looks like someone shooting his own foot and switching to full auto :-(.

  88. I’m not even half way through reading the comments, but I have seen a whole lot of very interesting insights. Thank you Gideon Rosenblatt and everyone else for reminding me that the smartest and most interesting people in the world are on G+.

    G+ is the only social network I ever wanted to join, and was super excited when I got in during the first week of the public field beta back in June 2011. I was on G+ so much that it got in the way of everything else. I’ve met a whole lot of people here. Even though I have never met any of you in real life (but one of you came within 60 km of me without realising), you have had a huge impact on my life and many of you have helped, and still are helping, me to get through things in real life, big and small, from simple and difficult.

    Now things are slowly going downhill, just like everyone else here has observed. I don’t want to think about what would happen if G+ goes the way of Google Reader, Buzz, Wave, or other Google products, but with the way things are going, I may actually have to think about that. I might end up becoming a virtual hermit again as I’m not particularly excited or even slightly interested in any other platform.

    And now off to read the rest of this really interesting comment thread and hope that my fears never come to reality even though one day they might.

  89. Content for consumers and a profitable feedback loop through end user contributions. Is what has been constructed aimed at making connections.

    What started off as “co” has reached the “con” state.

  90. I think part of the problem is that no one ever falls on their sword for a Google product. Google has fetishized “failure” but of course failure doesn’t mean the same thing to them as it does to us. As I understand it, Google will even pay bonuses for being on a failed project and no one ever goes down with the ship – not even the executives in charge of the service. Is it any wonder none of them care about what’s happening Here?

  91. Julian Bond please define evil. In real life lying, stealing and murdering is evil, because it destroys trust, property and life. We have fast food which is mostly fake food and therefore evil. In social networks we have fake news which is evil too, because it is based on lies and destroys trust in media. We have fake accounts which can be used for evil things as well.

  92. Personally I don’t really care anymore how much or how little Google+ is improved. I have some interaction here, it’s not life changing but it’s something.

    Switching to another network means rebuilding everything from scratch and something like Mastodon which is still half baked isn’t gonna work out. Remember when people were moving to those 2 new social networks about 2 years ago? I don’t even remember what they’re called now lol.

    Facebook is never gonna be an option for me, Twitter can be really frustrating when you need more than 140 characters to express yourself and usually interaction there means being pounced on by an angry troll about half the time. Anything else I just don’t have time or energy for.

    Yes it’s frustrating here that the top layers of management at Google/Alphabet have all given up on it (check Sundar Pichai​​ I still don’t get why he posts so much on Twitter when he has so many more followers here on G+) but it’s not like we can do anything about that.

    I’ve basically come to a point where my expectations here are so low I don’t get disappointed much anymore. I just go with what I’ve got and it’s good enough for me.

  93. Roland Mösl Now there’s a topic deserving of exploration. Love to hear more. Tom Rolfson​ frustration about the free video conference ability also has the live free uses to broadcast events. Like to know more about censorship v G+

  94. I continue to post here on Google+, because I still BELIEVE. Plain and simple.

    Yes…there is not as much engagement as before, but I continue to chug along…because that’s in my social DNA.

    Thanks everyone! ONWARD…the Google+ way.

  95. One more: I’d really like to see a quantified update on G+ user activity — public posting as has been done before.

    For those not aware, it was an earlier discussion with Gideon Rosenblatt that finally got me motivated to suck down 25GB of sitemap files and sample 50k profiles to generate this report:

    ello.co – Estimating User Activity: 4-6 m – dredmorbius | ello

    Eric Enge did a follow-up on a 500k sample with quite similar results:


    That was 2015. We’re two years on, and my sense is that the story’s not improved.

    It’s possible to do a fairly accurate assessment looking for common words in various languages.

    Oddly enough, Google don’t seem particularly inclined to provide this information themselves. Which is something I rather like about Mastodon. Rather than suck down 25GB of search URLs and spend a few days snarfing and parsing profile pages, you can go straight to a status page for counts of Instances, Users, and Statuses (posts).

    See: https://mnm.eliotberriot.com/

  96. For the first: It’s lovely to see so many familiar faces from the past in this thread! I don’t know how you were all lost to me – I blame the G+ changes since 2 years back.

    I have been as frustrated as many of you with the New G+ and the loss of Photos and Hangouts. I feel betrayed. I have put enormous amounts of time into this platform, have been one of the most ardent evangelists, been coaching and giving free advice here and on other social media.

    It doesn’t help that I can’t even speak my mind or give critique in private dedicated communities, because “people don’t want controversy or negative posts”, ? must be because they’re too busy brown-nosing the powers that are. Well, I never could do the “fluffy” or “googley”, not even for the 4 years of being a G+ Top Contributor, until summer 2016. Blunt equals a Finn. So I’m grumbling in my Public Google+ collection instead – I need a vent for frustration.

    So: How do you think this one went, +Google+? (See, I still can’t +mention many profiles / accounts, this has been going on for years).

    One should give constructive feedback… It’s a bit thick when you have been reporting bugs and glitches since the beginning of New G+ testing and nothing has happened – no fixes! If things are still broken (especially for Brand pages) and there are no fixes or any admittance of a problem even, I for one have lost patience. I wanted the New G+ to be a success, I really wanted it to work. However, it is a horrendous waste of time!

    So many clicks… The things which I was able to clear in an hour per day, now take up to three or four hours. Managing several Brand pages has become a chore and I have stopped recommending Google+ to my clients.

    I’ve stopped managing many Pages, from 15 I’m down to a handful. Ain’t nobody got time for that s**t!

    Engagement is down, also from my part because the new notifications are slow, stupid and buggy and take up a lot of time to check – I get several hundreds per day. I wish the +1’s and the follows could be hidden, I just want the comments for spam checking.

    So I engage in my stream – or what’s left of it: Silly recommendations and idiot trendings on G+, no chronology, posts from a source bunched up so that I get a dozen from some community all at once…

    Google+ has gone to the dogs since Vic Gundotra left. They now only think about mobile users, simple folks from developing countries who love commenting HIIII! on posts. Dumbing everything down.

    I’ve been told that the power users are no longer important.

    Huh! Where do they plan to get the content when even us stragglers finally stop posting?

  97. “It has been my office and my school” Gideon Rosenblatt you nailed it. No other network enables conversations and discussions based around shared interests. In theory LinkedIn should work but in practice it is still like a stuffy business conference with everybody shaking hands and congratulating each other.

    BTW I saw a recent post where G+ were looking for beta testers. I thought it was a joke plus.google.com – Become a Beta Tester for Google+ If you’re a user who’s as passionate for Go… What have we been doing for the last 6 years? And why did nobody listen?

  98. Another thing I’d like to point out and I’m afraid there will be some disagreement here but we’re all adults (or so I expect) is the fact that I see many people speculating about how Google has “given up” on Google+ or words to that effect. We know this isn’t true and we know Carter Gibson has been very open with a lot of questions people have had with regards to the status of the platform, where it’s going and how it can be improved.

    Personally, and I fully admit I’m also speculating (so go on, call me a hypocrit ;)), I suspect the development team is a lot smaller than it used to and so in all likelihood, although Google hasn’t given up on it per se I wouldn’t be surprised if they cut down its investment in it. Remember what once was G+ is now Hangouts, Photos and G+ and if the same budget that used to be allocated in the one platform some 2~3 years ago is now spread between those 3, that’s a lot less you can do and it’s very possible they’ve had to let some developers go as a result.

    But ultimately the one thing that’s most likely to kill G+ isn’t Google (although they have the power to do so if they wish) but us, the users. We can’t help some people giving up and leaving, but we can make the best of what we have. If we voice our frustrations in one constant but constructive voice we will be heard eventually. What I am seeing from the various teams at G+ isn’t so much trying to invest in the platform itself but in the people using it and I don’t know that other places work quite like that.

    If experience taught me anything is that it’s easy to be angry and frustrated and make all sorts of speculations about the motives behind out frustrations, but it’s much harder to look past this anger and see the positive, not just here but in the world in general.

    And believe me, I am not an optimistic person by nature…

  99. You hit it right on the nose Jean-Loup Rebours-Smith. Thank you!

    I may not get as much engagement on my posts anymore…but that will not cause me to quit a platform that I fully embraced in the summer of 2011.


  100. Before and after the election I’ve noticed a lot of low quality posts and fake news. It’s bleeding over from Facebook. G+ has been in decline for many years. I think someone needs to weed out the dead accounts. Many novice users don’t value their Google account or Gmail address and when they get a new phone they just create a new account and leave the old one inactive.

  101. Which is exactly, Eileen O’Duffy, why I said I lay this at the feet of Users. And Hello BTW…

    How odd is it that while no real criticism is allowed here this mimics what happened in our election…lots of folks blaming wretched politicians who aren’t listening and then backing off and not voting championing the preciousness of cynicism and sarcasm. And now we are stuck with this nightmare of a man in office. Yes it is the same. This has become the American way of doing virtually everything…

    …big shiny building, big shiny business, big shiny public presence, big shiny IPO, lots of people as you say shaking hands and congratulating one another – the main reason I don’t use LinkedIn and haven’t for years now – all of it signifying nothing in the end.

    I don’t know about the future of this or any other medium. But I suspect that each of you have and will continue to have meaning to those in your lives whether this continues or not. And that is more important.

  102. Peter Strempel , when G+ first came about, the media topic was about Google and how G+ was a ghost town. All the media types kept looking at it from the business of social media marketing and missing what was actually happening. G+ had always been based off interests and conversations. But as time rolls on the popular groups and popular topics have shifted. Plenty of interaction still happens, but not always where it used to.

    For me personally, I have my own little silos of interaction where I’ve noticed some have totally dried up. Others still attract new people. For my work where I find influencers for work related topics, I don’t have much trouble finding those heavy-interaction areas of interest.

    When the comScore data was readily available, the usage kept climbing and oddly, the demographic stayed the same. I think the platform tweaks that come out now have little bearing on the people using G+.

  103. Giselle Minoli You are right , the demise of G+ may be just a symptom of what is happening in the wider world. No more interest in talking, conversations, discussions and debates. No more interest in truth or facts or news. Lots of hype, infotainment and style over substance.

  104. Sooo many good comments in here, and a fabulous post to start with. I only recognise one name Charles Strebor​​​, and that is a shame, as you are the people that i have always wanted to meet on here to interact with!

    I only use g+ now, and although i have insta/twitter etc its only to catch the odd interesting thing that people post on there. Fb is gone and i seriously hope i never have to open another account – it was like a daily wade through the cesspool of life looking at the shit posted on there, none of which stirred up any sort of emotional response from me.

    I still love hangouts as an instant chat tool, and will use it until its no longer there, which i hope never happens.

    G+ itself i have noticed is quieter than it used to be, and i have found it harder than it used to be to find new and interesting content. As an aside i really miss the loss of the nearby function that helped me initially connect with many of my now friends on here.

    As far as g+ itself goes, i dont have all, or maybe any of the answers, but i do know i dont want to move, and would rather that google either get some crowd support to workshop and fix it, or maybe even cut it loose, open source it, and let some of the talented people in here have a go at adding to what is still an incredibly important platform to a lot of people.

  105. Rob Gordon Giselle Minoli

    I wouldn’t mind the stream being long and difficult to track. But the decision to remove from my stream the people in my circles in some random fashion is unconscionable. they post. I don’t see it. Instead Google Plus pushes communities at me I have zero interest in. What sort of fucked up idea of ‘social’ is that?

  106. Eli Fennell change “who can comment” to Your Circles and enjoy a quieter, possibly more rewarding style of social interaction.

    It’s not what newbies can do, but it could work for you as you have built a network already.

  107. Alex Lapidus set yourself free … there is no point in worrying about things past, only moving forward with excitement and enthusiasm for all things new.

    Google really don’t care, and I certainly no longer spend hours on here, it merely serves me a purpose and I treat it as such … much the same as google do me, I suppose! ?

  108. I shall just add my two cents worth. I joined G+ in the first wave when it was launched. I loved that people from so many diverse backgrounds were having intelligent and stimulating conversations and sharing ideas about many topics. The communities have segregated folks into interest groups and there is less of the general conversation. But even when that happens, either someone disagrees with the OP who then becomes defensive and attacks or the trolls arrive and by the third or fourth comment, the thread has deteriorated into personal attack, venom, and vitriol. I used to call G+ my intellectual social media (with others as business and family) but no longer. I mss that. About once a week, I wonder how much longer I will stay.

  109. It’s an interesting coincidence, that I read this post at a time when I plan to drop G+ entirely. Thank you, George Station​, for bringing my attention to it.

    When I first started at Google+ what attracted me most was the almost RL like relationships one had with other plussers and the Google+ team. I left Facebook because I couldn’t find that there. In those olden days we had occasional hangouts even with top dogs like Vic Gundotra​ (then head of Google+) and chee chew​​ (then head of hangouts). With wonderful people like (then) G+ community manager Natalie Villalobos​ those hangouts were far more frequent. Like Gideon Rosenblatt​ says. Very few of the new bunch are even using G+, not talking about interacting with the end user. If Google​ doesn’t believe in its own product, why should anybody else?

    Also the interaction between plussers is nothing to write home about anymore. I used to ramble on to anybody who wanted to hear it (and those who didn’t) how wonderful the community is,how G+friends are just like friends in RL. No, they are not. Of most of my old friends I don’t even hear anymore. I used to get tons of birthday wishes in the first few years. This year I got three and those of people I don’t even know (I still do appreciate them).

    Most people I know have moved on. Funny enough, many went back to Facebook. Google+​ might not yet be a ghost town, but it’s on its way. It used to be, that what you invested you got back, but nowadays the amount of energy one has to invest is in no relation to the return.

  110. Peter Strempel Hello. I agree with you. It isn’t social. It is advertising. TBH I have absolutely Zero interest in Communities and I belong to only one group, in which I don’t post. My experience here is that Communities and Groups lead to sniping and if I’m going to be sniped at I prefer a good public stoning. As physical brutal as it is, It’s more honest.

    As for Collections, I was a fan of using them as a way of curating for myself, but as I’ve reported that they are now used only for Trolls to find a way to harass me when I’ve written something they don’t like.

    I have always been committed to the random public stream. Having anything pushed on me, being squeezed into any sort of box, being labeled because some people need to do that in order to function in life…it is all offensive and I run from it.

    As for trying to figure out how to manage Notifications…it’s a personal decision. Life is too short to spend all of it in front of a computer, something I was personally and quite painfully reminded of three years ago.

  111. Tom Rolfson

    “That’s what the numbers told us people wanted.”

    Hmmm. Assuming the Pareto principle plays here too, 80 per cent of the content and engagement is down to 20 per cent of users. Stands to reason that it’s this 20 per cent who should be listened to more than the indication that the average drive by plusser/troll is a mobile user with no need for long-form text tools or rational desktop interface controls.

    I suspect the idiot programmers who hid behind numbers don’t actually know what they mean, how to develop useful metrics, and how not to ruin what works in order to cater to some speculative majority. Jeremy Bentham died a long time ago, and his most notable legacy is a prison design, not any kind of contribution to social anything.

  112. Where will I go if Google+ is a ghost town? I am not going back to Facebook. I’m on Twitter, but that place is noisy and not a place to build a relationship. Where will I read interesting posts about science, education, politics, etc?

  113. Kyle Beatty I learnt a long time ago that the only way to find interesting content was to produce it myself. By that I mean I only post things I’m interested in and eventually people started to follow along.

    I guess it can be a problem if you’re someone who likes to read things but doesn’t share anything. If a social media platform only had readers there would be nothing to read if that makes sense.

  114. OMG, this is brilliant! These quality comments are why I’m here! This is my Google+! I’m thinking about creating a “Good ol’ times”-circle and throw you all in…?…!

    I also came here in the first wave in 2011 and still like being here, although there’s nearly no positive progress anymore. But I will stay, because of my old FB vs. G+-argument “I’m interested in your thoughts, not in your lunch!”

    Thanks for this post, Gideon Rosenblatt​​​​!

  115. Gideon Rosenblatt I agree with your analysis. Made the same observations. Google as FB and Twitter are dying as they became involved in massive censorship. The future are blockchain based social networks without a middle man.


    Endemic Censorship Raises Urgency for Blockchain Based Social Networks


    GAB | Free Speech for Everyone


    Free Speech Social Network Gab Growing as Twitter, Facebook Censor Users


    TWITTER Alternative Rises After User Purge.


    Censorship-Free Social Network AKASHA Aims to Tackle Internet Censorship With Blockchain Technology


    Steemit Bridges Blockchain and Social Media, But How Does It Work?

    coindesk.com – Steemit Bridges Blockchain and Social Media, But How Does It Work? – CoinDesk

  116. Jean-Loup Rebours-Smith I would love to create my own content, but I haven’t given myself time and space to come up with something. But if no one reads it or engages, then it’s just a personal journal that sits in public. Why would I do that?

    If everyone thought the way I do, then there would be no network and that’s not useful for anyone.

  117. Thanks a lot for this post Gideon Rosenblatt and to everyone else here for the great discussion! Like Jaana Nyström said it was a great read through the comments to see so many familiar faces from the last (almost) 6 years.

    I agree with every point you have mentioned Gideo and especially with what you wrote about user investments:

    And this is where I start to get really mad. Like many others here, I have invested a lot of personal time and energy building a following here. Like many of you, I have poured heart and soul into filling this place not just with great content, but also with a sense of community. I could have made those investments in Twitter or Facebook or reddit, but like many of you, I made them here. And now I’m starting to wonder how smart of a decision that was.

    I (=CircleCount) am not a “typical” user 😉 but I don’t want to count the hours and euros we have spent creating our service, which was focused for 5 years only to Google+.

    The first 3-4 years have been a lot of fun and we loved every minute we have been on Google+. We got to know so many interesting people and had so many interesting discussions here. We have been talking also with some Google+ Developers and even Vic Gundotra has given us his acknowledgment.

    But this stopped after he has left Google+. There was no feedback or support by Google anymore. We have heard the same from different other 3rd party services (like for example Friends+Me or Circloscope). It’s not only that they don’t listen to their users (which should be prio 1) but they are also not really interested in creating a platform for 3rd party services. If you have been watching the keynote of the f8 you can see the difference how facebook is giving attention to their 3rd party developers.

    (ok, enough tool-talk 😉 )

    One point from the comments that I think is pretty interesting:

    check Sundar Pichai I still don’t get why he posts so much on Twitter when he has so many more followers here on G+

    by Jean-Loup Rebours-Smith

    That’s probably pretty easy to explain: He knows the meaning of the follower numbers better than any external who can see only a number. He is getting 1-2k likes on Twitter with 800k followers. On Google+ he was getting the same/less plusones with more 3.7m followers. And that was long before the new UI was obligatory for everyone. It wouldn’t be a good sign if the CEO of Google would be the best example on how little the follower number on Google+ means (especially for the SUL profiles).

    I wanted to ping Moritz Tolxdorff here, because he was also very responsive in the past, but now I see that he has changed the team as well (from Google+ to Local).

  118. Gideon Rosenblatt You have hit the nail on the head.

    Incidentally if Luke Wroblewski has moved on to a different functional area within Google and Bradley Horowitz hasn’t been heard or seen in Google+ for months together, wonder who is in charge of G+ currently? I hope it just hasn’t been cast adrift.

  119. Totally agree. It appears like Google has abandoned G+ but is afraid to outright kill it so they are hoping it will just die of lack of care and attention.

    Honestly, I don’t even know who’s supposed to be in charge of G+ these days.

    Larry Page Sergey Brin Bradley Horowitz … anyone know???

  120. I think a choice was made for more incremental and smaller services. Google+ was a big solution. Too big for some. It was and still is revolutionary in combining social and other digital solutions. But the small UI of mobile, the fear of Google, the ignorance of users, the animosity of media and the company’s visionless squandering of the G+ idea leaves G+ where it is. Vic had to leave because Sundar’s incremental change and focus on SEO and SEA were deemed wiser developments. Very boring.

  121. I was vaguely under the impression that Danielle Buckley was currently in charge of G+ but that’s only because she’s listing herself as a Product Manager.

    I also have a feeling they’ve invested much of their energy recently developing this G Suite and integrating G+ into it. How well that’s working out is anyone’s guess.

    CircleCount I take your point regarding Sundar Pichai’s choices of social networking but you have to admit that it looks bad when the CEO of Google chooses to ignore his company’s social platform altogether. Nothing is stopping him (save perhaps time) from using both G+ and Twitter especially when he never really interacts with anyone, all he does is publish various announcements.

    To Kyle Beatty I suppose it’s a matter of preference. I went from LiveJournal to Facebook to posting on my own blog and ended up here on G+. I was very reluctant to post anything publicly at first but once you learn to separate the private stuff from things that are exciting to you and are happy to share publicly it becomes relatively straightforward. I still post privately on very rare occasions for very specific purposes but the vast majority of my posts are public. It depends on your personality and how comfortable you are for random people to read the things you may want to write.

  122. Jean-Loup Rebours-Smith I agree with you.

    The CEO (and also everyone in the top management) of Google should use Google+ if he is using Twitter.

    I don’t mean that he should use in any case a social network, because that’s not something a CEO should have to do, but if he is already using Twitter to spread publicly news, he should use “his own” network as well.

    Maybe we should tell him that there is a great tool to support him sharing on multiple networks with the same time investment as sharing on one network. Is that correct Alois Bělaška? 😉

  123. Somebody needs to tag Charlie Hoover into this discussion…. He might be the only fellow I know on G+ that gets anywhere near decent Interaction Returns for his Post Investments.

    And I suspect even he might say it’s a pretty razor thin margin.

  124. your not alone for sure! Gideon Rosenblatt

    G+ are so beautiful, and my desire for it as a photographer and videographer are greate.

    facebook and twitter are souless regarding photo/video/art and creativity…

    but why am I feeling alone +Google+?

    It’s strange, but I very often feel alone with over 30.000 followers and over 7500 members in my community…

  125. Gideon Rosenblatt thanks for posting this and let me add some thoughts:

    1. Google was and always will be a numbers company.

    If the numbers are right, everything is ok and Google will invest in the enterprise. If the numbers are not promising enough the engagement drops. This has happened with Orkut, Buzz, Reader and other tools.

    2. Google has at least decided to support G+ and also Google Keep in his G-Suite environment, where they are making more and more money. So they will keep engaging in G+ but only in the sense, that G+ makes sense to a company. Btw. the missing API for G+ (Write access and more) is available for G+ for Domains (within G Suite).

    3. Comparing Alphabet or Google at the time of creating of G+ with companies like Twitter, Facebook, Snap or Instagram which has changed owners is not a good idea, because Twitter or Facebook just focus on their main business, while Google has so many construction sites, that they do not have the willingness or engagement, because they have so many other points of income compared to the other companies. Maybe this would change, when Google had decided to drop out Google+ in its own devision like so many others under the Alphabet hood.

    4. and last but not least supporting third party developers was a big frustrating decision just because there could be bots or automatic crosspostings on Google+ but with all the power of Google it would have been easy (at least from my PoV) that they could have minimize spam and cross postings.

    But I guess it is much too late to blame the users who do no longer engage here on Google+ or not have done in the first place. Google is no social company or at least it does not mean anything to Google, cause try to understand the world and not their users 😉 (just kidding).

  126. If anyone hasn’t noticed just look how sloppy Google has been lately, especially with Android. Most of the Google apps are sloppy and messaging is a joke. Are we really surprised by this crap?

  127. I feel like we could get stinking, filthy rich if we just reimplemented the stuff that Google killed plus the quite public feedback from it’s users. Anyone up for Post-Alphabet?

  128. Personally, I think the core of the problem is Google’s aim (and belief) that they know you and what you want or need better than you do yourself.

    I do find it fascinating how Google is improving in this regard (I often marvel “how did they know this was what I was looking for” when googling), but I think the user should also be allowed to exercise the control himself if he wants to. But the recent development takes more and more of the control away and pushes us towards using the service just the way Google thinks we should, not as we would like to.

    It’s ok to give me a stream that is sorted and populated based on what Google guesses is most interesting to me, but please allow me to switch it instead to a complete stream of people I follow in chronological sequence if I prefer that. I might just use them both, but G+ doesn’t give me the choice.

    I think the Google folks sincerely believe that what they are doing is in the best interests of their users, but what they are doing is catering to the wishes of a lot of casual consumers while neglecting the wishes of those that made G+ such a nice place to be, which step by step is driving those important content providers away. Pity…

  129. Barbara Gross You can just have a stream devoid of all those “recommendations” and “trending” posts, it’s just a matter of turning it all down in settings.

    Not gonna be very chronological sadly but having a stream of (mostly – I’m still not fond of seeing posts +1d by others) people and collections you follow is possible.

  130. Jean-Loup Rebours-Smith Buckley’s the most recent person I recall in that slot.

    Then again, Product Manager at G+ has become something like “Defence Against the Dark Arts” at Hogwarts. A low-tenure position.

    What I find interesting is how the former G+ PMs or community liasons seem so eager to ditch the position … that they don’t even mention they’d left it. Natalie Villalobos, Shimrit Ben-Yair, and now Luke, just off the top of my head.

    Yonatan’s among the few who’ve made that transition clear. He’s also among the few who actually made use of G+.

  131. Siegfried Hirsch A corollary of Google being a numbers company: what Google cannot find good numbers on which to base management, it cannot manage.

    This includes social and epistemic systems. Google doesn’t know how to measure welfare, social norms, privacy, or truth value.

    And it shows.

    It consistently misbehaves and underperforms, relative to other activities, in these spaces.

  132. Rune Holthen I’m with you. I spend much of my life on the road, and in the early days this (group of people) was excellent company. Then it became work, not pleasure, and competition, not expression, and having to prove oneself, instead of simply being able to be oneself, and then constant having to push forth one’s credentials to the most arrogant of users who seemed to want to speak only to persons they deemed were experts on any given topic.

    Now, when I take my videocamera out of my bag crossing the Appalachians, or out on a stroll through the streets of New York, I am in touch with myself, with the Universe, with others (if I want to be), with life, with energy, very often with beauty, very often with the disturbing, but all of it connected to the present.

    I don’t have to defend myself, I don’t have to dodge trolls, I don’t have to do anything except be what I came here to do in the first place – be myself. Which is hardly possible in the present environment.

  133. Jean-Loup Rebours-Smith I know that. But even with the right setting the normal stream will not show ALL the posts from the people I follow (so I may miss things I find important), and it will not be chronological, which makes it a complete pain to keep up to date on what is happening. When I refresh, there’s two things I want to see: new posts since I last looked, and any interactions on posts I interacted with. The second part is covered by notifications, but the first one is not covered at all, instead, I have to dig through a lot of stuff I’ve read before and the new posts are randomly mixed in.

    Anyway, it was just an example how Google thinks it knows better what I want to see than I do myself, and it annoys me that they won’t let me choose for myself if I prefer to see what Google thinks I like or what I choose for myself.

  134. Gideon Rosenblatt I’ve been spending less time overall on social media. The single thing that would boost my engagement here on Google+ is the ability to sort notifications. I’d definitely be placing a priority on checking mentions on my page and as time allows, comments. There are just too many unsorted notifications for me to handle on my page for the amount of time I have.

    I’m still committed to Google+ and I plan on spending more time here after I wrap up a major project I’ve been working on. If Google+ would only give us the tools so we can prioritize our activities on the platform.

  135. Gideon Rosenblatt in the mid-morning hours on the East Coast I want very much to believe that the powers at G+ would have learned that people very much want to be treated as creator equals not cattle.

    Sadly, I do not believe that. Google’s behavior is no different than the behavior of United Airlines – and the horrendous defense their CEO initially made of the way that poor passenger was treated.

    It is no different than what is allowed on Twitter in terms of public shaming.

    It is no different than MZ having to take some sort of look at the role FB plays in, what? terrorism? because, hey, it’s a public forum and we’re not responsible…we just make the platform available for everyone to use the way they choose. No one is responsible for anything.

    I well remember in the very early days when so many of the men and women on your post here were indeed spending tremendous amounts of time bringing their passions and integrity and intelligence to bear on this medium. And along with it I remember very big Users and business people lecturing everyone that numbers were all that mattered.

    In spite of the tremendous good will and effort of a lot of people, there was never a cohesive vision about what was to be created here. It very quickly became a gladiator ring, very quickly descended into a numbers game…and…once again…much of that came from Users who profess that philosophy in their own lives…because, in the end, they are promoting themselves just like G+ is promoting Google products. Social media is a competitive sport in a country that is All Sports All the Time.

    I often felt that if every other sort and kind of User – scientist, doctor, artist, musician, poet, writer, philosopher – were to simply disappear and leave the medium to tech and numbers folk…they would have been very happy to get rid of us humans. Cattle are easier to heard.

    Gideon…I hated writing every word of this…but it is what is so for me.

  136. I’ve been active since the beginning. Last year or so has really been telling on the overall health of the network. Over the years there has been a constant drumbeat of “Ghosttown G+,” but it’s only been recently that this is proving true.

    Obviously Google itself has a part to play in this, but I sympathize. They really did try to make G+ the nexus of all things Google. Maybe (like Glass) Google didn’t put enough skin in the game, quickly turning course after the first year (taking the fail fast idiom to heart), but maybe it was doomed from the start. Facebook just had such a head start, and Google had to protect its flanks (advertising, video, mobile)

    Whatever the case, I’m going to continue to checkin and post here until G+ goes the way of Reader. Reader is where I met so many of the people I’m still engaged with close to 10 years ago. I’m not going anywhere.

  137. I think that this happened:

    – Google wanted something to stop Facebook. They wanted something that would generate good statistics they could point at, and feel that they beat Zuckerberg at his own game.

    – they chose a social thing, because that’s where the big user number growth was in those days. They could copy the FB model and give it a lick of Google paint. Eazy-peazy-Googleazy

    -Vic came along and said “hey, I can make something out of this! This could be the Google Universe Hub.”

    -Larry and Sergey decided to retire and go play elsewhere. Civil war inside Google. Vic lost, the other guy became the boss and now, in the best Byzantine palace intrigue tradition, it is slowly killing anything associated with his former rival. He can’t do it in one blow, because that would be too PR damaging. So it is death by a thousand “improvements”

  138. I don’t know. Seems like there’s lots of engagement here. Anytime I read one of these “woe is me, the sky is falling on the dead G+” post, it’s mostly to complain about the new layouts or features. Sure, we should tell G+ what we did or didn’t like so they can maybe bring things back, but seriously, the lack of engagement is a cycle, much like one on any platform. I find sharing just as easy as before even if I have to do it differently sometimes, and I post almost exclusively from my mobile, arguably the hardest way to post anything. I am really kind of shocked to see so many people I follow on here lamenting the decline when I know we comment on each other’s posts pretty regularly. I think it was cobalt please​ who pointed out how well those of us who stick around seem to know each other. I know there are many G+ I’d love to meet and consider them more a friend than many IRL friends I have. I hope G+ keeps going, but if it doesn’t, I’ve followed some of my most favorite plusers on other platforms and will likely add more. Mostly though, I am seeing follower increases and the same engagement as I had before.

  139. Man, if I had enough time and talent, it would be great to put together a retrospective “cradle to grave” video for G+. So many redesigns, so many changes in leadership, product integrations.

  140. Matt Uebel With Glass, Google was sticking their neck out into uncharted territory. Glass wasn’t itself a success, but we have things like Pokemon Go and FB Spaces because it helped point the way. (I know, I know).

    But with G+, the internet has 30+ years of experience operating text-based communities, and there are a number of clear success stories to emulate. Something at the intersection of Tumblr, Reddit, and Slack could have revolutionized the way the internet operates, on the scale of email or FB.

    Instead, Google decided to play catch up with the other SV tech giants by building a social network just so it has one, like a trophy on the mantle, without any regard for the communities it generates and destroys in its wake.

    Google has an ethical responsibilities to the communities and cultures it cultivates. Leaving us out to dry is a failure to meet that responsibility. In some sense, I feel an obligation to stay for the sake of those communities, to pick up the slack our corporate overlords refuse to carry for themselves.

  141. I just wanted to say that it was a true thrill to “see” all the people commenting. Many of you have been a part of my G+ experience since the beginning. You were the reason I stayed and you are the reason I continue. We may not always agree but I have much respect for you. Seriously, this was a real treat to wake up to this morning.

  142. John Chvatal What Mastodon allows, and I love this, is the ability to select what Notifications you view. I mostly set this to “Mentions”, and check others (follows, boosts (re-posts), and favourites (likes/+1s)) roughly once a day. Ello also allows checking Notifs by type, though it doesn’t collapse multiple activities (comments, loves, reposts) into a signle aggregated notification.

    G+ notifs are far too much noise. As much else on G+.

  143. Great post Gideon Rosenblatt, and many great insightful comments as well!

    Like many commenting here, I too became a G+ user in the very first wave. I never wanted to have anything to do with Facebook, but G+ was different and it just clicked with me. I’ve loved using G+ for all these years, and made a few contacts in other countries that I regularly keep in touch with through Hangouts.

    But as we all can see, the sign is on the wall … Engagement is falling. Many regulars in my Stream have stopped posting and disappeared. I always got birthday wishes on G+ on my birthday, except last March when my birthday went by and I received not even one birthday message. It’s not that I really care about those prompted wishes, but it is a sign how usage is dropping left and right.

    I don’t know what I would do if Google decided to pull the plug from G+. I have no alternative place where I could post and share ‘stuff’ that interests me. I greatly dislike facebook and signing up there is a case of “over my dead body”. But until then I will hang on here, like the other die-hard G+ users, and just hope this will stay alive…

  144. I’ve copied most of my posts here to my personal “diary”:


    and I’ve repeatedly tried to quit posting here altogether. But even as our masters throttle G+ and most of my conversation partners jump ship there still seems to be some advantage to announcing things here… now and then. A sad tail end to an exciting story.

    I tried Twitter, but I’m not sure it’s working as well as G+ at “getting the word out” – for example, more contributors to the Azimuth Climate Data Backup Project came from G+.

    I like to use my blog for longish articles, not random fun stuff. I get great engagement there with smart people writing computer programs or proving theorems to explore my ideas, etc. But it’s not a place for me to join conversations initiated by other people. So I’m still a bit stuck. That’s why I’m still here.

    I’ll look at Mastodon, because I believe that federation is better than top-down corporate control. Instead of whining about our masters, we should be our own masters – and unleash our creative energies!

    math.ucr.edu – diary – December 2016

  145. Matt Uebel I didn’t want, and don’t want, a central hub of all things Google.

    I want my email, Search, messaging, and social, as widely separated as possible. I don’t want a single organisation to have that full damned data trove.

    I’d like the companies, if they are companies, which have that information, to have as little of it as possible.

    * I search via DuckDuckGo, which doesn’t track users.

    * I’ve recently switched to Protonmail for email, which is e2e encrypted. Still not as much as I’d like, but …

    * I’ve finally started a microblogging profile, on Mastodon.

    * I switched to a pseudonymous profile on G+, though even that proved impossible to maintain in isolation.

    I have other profiles, in various names, on other services. I work to minimise those to the extent possible.

    I don’t think Surveillance Capitalism ends well.

  146. As to the comment about sloppy…It takes almost 30 seconds for this post to load on my Nexus 6P running the latest Android version and on the Google Fi Network. Oh and I have full coverage (full bars and battery). If a post has more than 5 comments it lags when opening. This is a relatively new development and I think it may indeed speak to sloppy work. It may also be why actual engagement is being penalized. Having 1000 people plus my posts means nothing to me. I can’t have a conversation with your plus. What’s social about that?

  147. Matt Uebel I will rest easy in whatever grave I find myself, whenever I find myself there, knowing that neither you, nor anyone else, will ever be able to say “you didn’t tell us”.

    I told you so. In advance.

  148. TBH, G+ was dead when the social network donut thing came out that programmed people to consider G+ for Google employees and truthfully they didn’t even use it.

    What G+ had when I got here was the ability to follow Whoever without being their friend first…

    Truthfully… If someone did social networking right, it would probably destabilize the current power structure…

    If a social network actually connected the right people….

    Heh, maybe we can talk them into turning DeepMind loose on G+ to play the ‘connect the right people’ game ?

  149. That moment when you think you have got to end of the comments, only to realise you haven’t refreshed the post for a while.

    Holy cow there’s a lot to read through here.

    I was thinking about integration vs separation earlier. For me one of the real issues is that things have been taken away, because Google decided integration was not the way to go, but they misunderstood what integration is.

    Hangouts, Photos, YouTube, Gmail, Docs and all the other properties that Google owns can and probably should be separate, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be really helpful to at least have a link on a G+ profile to start a Hangout, or the ability to use Photos editing capabilities from within G+, or any number of things.

  150. Gideon Rosenblatt around the same time since Collections were introduced, I have been using Google+ as a place to collect information. Engagement with users was just a side benefit.

  151. Preach it Gideon Rosenblatt ! Some of us worked really hard right from the beginning to support this platform, only to have Google throw us all under the bus. I spent over 4 years building massive brands and communities here, and now I’m afraid the platform I loved so much, along with everything I worked so hard to build is at risk of being destroyed. I also know I’m not alone. Your speaking out against Google is in defense of us all, and I honestly believe its time for Google’s failed leadership, including its top executives to step down!

    It’s not just Google+ that is falling apart either, but Google as a whole. Their Youtube platform is now completely bankrupt, advertisers and media have turned on them, along with their content creators on Youtube, and now us as well.

    I wrote an article on Medium back in March expressing many of the same concerns you are today, and I stand behind my original words, Google’s executives must go.

    The real failure here is the fact that Google is a company run by executives who haven’t any heart and soul for what they do. This platform doen’t mean anything to them, not like it does to us. We’re the ones who lose, not Google.

  152. I think I’m one of the few who loved the redesign itself. For me it’s much better than the old one, specially in terms of speed. It still have some problems though.

    This post made me think about my own usage of Google+ and I realised some things. I’ve been following a community that does not interest me and does not produce good content and I had no idea why I was doing it. Now I believe it’s simply because my feed needs more posts.

    This is sad and I don’t want to believe Google+ is actually dying, as everyone has been saying for some time and I never believed. I really hope there’s a way to bring people here, this is still my favourite social network and I cannot find what I have here easily on others.

  153. It’s a little worrying that the feedback here is valuable or new or novel because a lot of this is what we have been complaining about for quite some time. I’m glad though that this is getting enough traction to be a good litmus test to see if the people running G+ will change their ways and see how it goes from here.

  154. Gideon Rosenblatt An acknowledgment, and from high up the product chain, would be valuable.

    Addressing the feedback in a further post, or more likely, series of same.

    I’m well aware that doing that within this thread would likely be a dogpile. Indicating where the conversation, if there is to be one, continues, would show leadership, maturity, and a willingness to move things in a positive direction.

    I’ve seen very rare glimpses of this. The standout example is the reversal, in 24-48 hours, of a prior change to Notifications which absolutely broke interactivity and engagement with G+ (November, 2015). I’m still shocked by that.

    We’ve seen other features reversed, but only exceedingly grudgingly, and with no apology.

    November 2015 actually created a mild stir of goodwill, so far as I’m concerned. The failure to follow through on it has hurt. That’s not promise, that’s gaslighting.

    (Intentional or otherwise, it’s gaslighting.)

    As I’ve said, I’m done. I provided free feedback and counseling to Google for years. And all I got was an Orange Piece of Shit.

  155. Last I heard, G+ wasn’t dying at all, in fact its user base was still growing. The difference is, it’s growing more rapidly in places who are only just discovering the internet, places like the Middle East or India. That’s certainly reflected in the types of people who comment on some of my posts.

  156. Well, to elaborate on what I said on my reshare (since this post is where the action is):

    Competing with Facebook is ridiculous. Facebook owns “sharing the happy pieces of your life.” Twitter owns “fast updates about the world.” The first is shallow, the second is noisy.

    I don’t want either one of those things. I do want a community of shared interests and intelligent conversation.

    I want to talk to people who agree with me, and people who don’t. I want information and ideas; a sort of virtual “salon.”

    I don’t want irrelevant collection recommendations or promoted plusses (or whatever they are called). I also don’t want to be shown recommendations for communities and people that haven’t posted in weeks or even years!

    Google has the knowledge to do better. Do they have the will?

  157. ( polite snarl to the G+ team ) … I have been assured, by the worthy Gideon, that you are watching and that the Feedback from the Folks has been So Valuable. The priests and pastors and other intermediaries between Mortal Men and the gods tell us to pray “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”, which is generally interpreted to mean that we ought to be conformal to what the gods want and not to wish for anything but the inevitable.

    Perhaps, at some point, you will take a look at the mess Google made of Orkut as a post-mortem for what G+ is about to become – and come down from Mount Sinai with some vision for this community. You have not listened to us, any of us. In this, you have abjectly failed.

    The latest incarnation of the G+ interface is widely hated, yet you have done nothing in response to our complaints. Because this is starting to look an awful lot like unrequited love. You have not listened. The very idea, that Sundar Pichai will not eat his own dog food, preferring the Twitter horde to us.

  158. Niche Networks = Google+?

    “If I was to give advice to anyone looking to build a social network right now, it would be pretty simple: go granular. Niche, even.” MG Siegler, Google Ventures

    (Comment from Peter Gasston) “I’ve started to spend more time in Google+ since they removed a lot of the cruft and focused on Collections and Communities. There are Communities with thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of people with common interests, and engagement seems to be much higher. Your home feed is interest-based rather than a stream of noise that you have to pick the good bits from. It’s less random than Twitter, and less friend-focused than Facebook. It’s finally its own beast, and it took organising around niches to achieve that.

    500ish.com – Niche Networks – 500ish Words

  159. Does this not say it all, “The people now charged with running Google+ don’t really understand what it was that once made this service so good.” What happened to the awesome amazing Google+ of 2013, when this platform was on top of its game?

    What happened to algorithms that brought us all together in popular posts, late night hangouts, and early morning chats? But all this functionality is gone, and it was things like this that made G+ the best social platform ever.

    Ripping this stuff out was like ripping out our souls, its just too painful to bare.

    As the old saying goes, if it aint broke don’t fix it. That first redesign in 2013 was a death sentence to my communities, and to be totally honest, it destroyed this platform. We’re sick and tired of watching G+ die a slow death too.

    We need new leaders here bad, ones who really care, that understand this platform, and its users.

    Maybe Google+ would be better off being run by its users, and not Google. Maybe produce a board of decision makers consisting of G+ users. I feel safer putting my hands in the people I already know and trust, as any trust I had in Google is gone.

  160. Jodi Kaplan So, assuming G+ is where you’d want to go for intelligent conversation, I set out to measure exactly that.

    And included another 100 or so sites and/or domains.

    The method was to compare the Google Search results (that is, publicly-accessible discussion) based on the Foreign Policy Top 100 Global Thinkers list (a proxy for “intelligent discussion”), vs. an arbitrarily selected character string, “Kim Kardashian”, as a contraindication, as well as a common English word, “this”, as a general proxy for total English pages within the search scope.

    G+ had about 1/20 the total results volume of Facebook, and a worse ratio of contraindicated to intelligent posts.

    Metafilter did best, by an extreme reach, for relevant discussion, amongst social sites generally, followed by Reddit.

    Results also include numerous mainstream and alternative media, educational institutions, several TTLDs, CCTLDs, and other selections.

    Again: G+ fails to deliver.

    Diving into the specifics of particular terms I’ve found that discussion overwhelmingly occurs in standard posts, not in Communities.

    I’ve been looking at re-running this or a similar analysis, though I’d like to make changes to the protocol and sites queried.

    reddit.com – Tracking the Conversation: FP Global 100 Thinkers on the Web • r/dredmorbius

  161. Denis Labelle That’s not the experience I’ve had with my brands here Dennis. My 2 largest communities have over 370,000 members, and engagement is almost dead now. Strategic gains 100+ members a day, but no one talks anymore.

    We had 10X more engagement in Strategic with 10,000 members in 2013 than we do today with close to 150,000. Yet, we’re growing 3X as fast today. Google isn’t doing something right.

    Back in 2013, engagement in our communities was constant, but there’s something about the last user interface and this new one that deters people from wanting to spend time here. It’s a broken concept.

    Look at community about sections, they’re stripped out completely. Navigation is truncated, and comment boxes in posts collapsed. Its no wonder this place is dead.

    I honestly think they should stick to their game with the mobile UI, and revert back to the UI on desktop we had in 2013, it was like 100X more logical, and it spurred constant engagement.

  162. I think any comparison between G+ and Facebook – has to include a significant measure of “CREEPY Factor” – whatever G+’s drawbacks – it is profoundly less creepy than Facebook – I signed onto FB in 2006 choosing it over MySpace – and until it went public it provided huge value to me and my close friends – I dropped out of active us in 2010 and just hate it every time I have to engage in it because many of my close friends and family are still there like hostage capital.

  163. CircleCount: I’ve just realised this post is pushing 190 re-shares. Do you have any idea of where that ranks percentile or in absolute rank in terms of posts overall? Because that seems like a pretty hot topic by my recollectin.

  164. I was one of the top users of G+ forever… until they pulled search results showing G+ stats, pulled hangouts and pulled well everything. I stopped posting regularly then 🙂 Most others I knew in “the industry” did too… even with millions of followers… I’ve accepted all the time I put here for what it is. Good times.. Good memories. 🙂

    Edward Morbius the space cat… still here… still posting G+ is dead… How fascinating you are still invested in proving the space dead with such effort …. what.. 3 years later? Good on ya. You must like it here since well its made you famous… 🙂

  165. Google+ product lead Danielle Buckley​ gave a talk on Google+ at Next this year… Apparently people are still working on Google+, but focused on adopting it for enterprise use cases. I’d guess an internal, Googler-only instance of Google+ is still quite popular, and it’s not surprising that they thought they may resurrect Google+ in that context. Still, it’s far from Enterprise-ready; even the basic features mentioned in the video won’t exist till end of the year. Definitely sounds like they’re running on a skeleton crew. And, sad as it is, I doubt consumer Google+ is a priority in any way whatsoever.


  166. Edward Morbius a year ago we have reduced the number of profiles we are tracking (https://plus.google.com/+CircleCount/posts/iP26C8PXg3Y). Means that I can’t tell you a (representative) rank regarding the number of reshares. In 2017 we have seen 5,317 posts with more than 10 reshares and only 133 posts with more than 170 reshares, but as mentioned above, that’s not really an overall stat.

    We are collecting right now “some” posts to get some numbers as a follow-up to this post. With 70 of 125 profiles that we have chosen to analyze it looks very interesting. More in a few hours (tease) 😉

  167. This post has been Reshared to the 20K member Community Owners and Moderators Community, where it is getting nice traction there too. Here is my response on that copy:

    ” Hear, Hear! I could have written every word up to the Mastodon part (which I will check out) – and I’ve been looking into Minds and Facebook and Emenator and Secular Nest trying to find a working social media platform after Google destroyed this one. I’ve said much of this publicly too – which is specifically why I was rejected by Vanguards. I was a huge Advocate of G+, and now I’m embarrassed for it. :”-( “

    I’ve not had a chance to read the comments on THIS one, but hope to get back to it and see what the gist of the response is here. Thanks for putting your thoughts (and mine) out there again for Google to ignore. I get the impression that at their end they see over a million new spambots joining and posting to G+ each day, so think the New Fiasco Interface is fine – and never notice all the quality posts by real people are gone now.

  168. Amanda Blain They should have never yanked Google+ posts out of search results, this was a huge mistake. Look at Youtube, it has enormous traffic and engagement levels, and its partially because it gets tons of traffic from Google’s organic search, while G+ gets none.

    The problem is, Google stopped promoting this platform. Youtube gets all the visibility now, we get thrown under the bus.

  169. Daniel Imbellino It was more stopping the need to HAVE a gplus account when Faceybook or Twitter generally fill most users social needs…..Like removing Authorship… Or Showing that my name had 5 million people following me.. in search results. The second the ‘business case’ was lost for businesses to be here.. G+ already had lost the case for the majority of users to replace your social platform… so whats left? This. Die hard old school fans. Those who used public hangouts and remember the good old days… I’m actually surprised to see so many of you still here fighting the good fight. 🙂

    I loved this site to death. But I accepted Google has long since stopped carrying about this product.

  170. Amanda Blain I agree with everything you stated. I’m still baffled to this day as to why Google took follower counts out of organic search results. It honestly provided those using their organic search engine with an extra measure of trust in the links they clicked.

    Now when I use Google search I’m offstandish, in that I don’t know which links to trust anymore.

    Their organic search is just as much broken as this platform too. Google’s search results are now riddled with content from link spammers, and I never see content from authors I know and trust anymore.

    Rather than rank the authors people know and trust, they rank content that has X amount of links to it, which is usually content from no name spammy bloggers that no one’s ever heard of.

  171. That’s why we have to take social in our own hands. Corporations will disband it every time they get it right. The trolls etc. are here for a purpose – to keep us divided.

  172. if “Ripples” still worked (another great feature google unceremoniously killed), it would be fascinating to see how far this post has migrated. This is the most active post I have seen on G+ in years.

  173. Jean-Loup Rebours-Smith You may be referring to G+ search results, I’m referring to organic search results from their standard search engine. I’ve only seen 1 Google+ post in organic search in the last year. Again, they don’t promote this platform in organic search anymore.

    Try this: Type in the name of any video game in the world into Google’s organic search. What do you see? Exactly, tons of links to youtube videos. Now how many Google+ gaming related posts do you see? None! They don’t promote this place anymore, they just let it continue to die.

  174. Edward Morbius It is mind blowing you spend such time focused on this site you hate… and me. Wow. I never ever saw your post that must have took you at least a few hours to dive into. Quality time spent. You rockstar math cat you…

    People like you and Google’s Plus inability to deal with them (privately and publicly) are part of why I left this place. Getting in the papers for your amazing math of how G+ is dead must have stung your fame thrill. 3 YEARS LATER SPACE CAT… still here… still proving you are smarter than everyone else and G+ sucks. I suggest a new hobby. Most of us have moved on. Maybe you should too kittycat. Go hug someone… You to me are the saddest form of human. hug

  175. Amanda Blain​​, you speak like a bully. If you’re so great yourself show example of how not to attack individuals. Note that criticizing a large corporation or service is different from ad hominem targeting an individual. It takes more courage to criticize the system than to insult an individual. Your culture may be bully-friendly, but down here we despise it. Yeah, Ed M. is often quite negative – sometimes more than I can agree with – but he also has tons of very good points and perspectives few others raise. And very often he has a reason to be critical when he is.

  176. Denis Labelle No…I do not mind…I joined that group because of you. But you are a very rare bird at Google+. You pay attention to many, many things and to many, many people. With the onset of Collections, which you knew I was a big fan of, unless one has a big brain and can handle diversity within it, people get marginalized here very easily. I think you would agree (and I don’t want to speak for you) that I feel this is a photographer’s medium. With Collections it has become even more so. There needs to be a photograph or some strong graphic attached to literally every single post in order for it to grab any kind of attention, in order for it to get any kind of traction.

    When I go out with my Canon 80D to take still photos within a very short period of time I can come up with a good one. But as a writer, this is not the case. It takes time to craft an essay and to write something that one is proud of. Tweeting is easy. Writing a few lines to accompany a photograph is easy.

    Writing a good poem is not. Writing a good essay is not. Those of us who are writers have two choices: spend all of your energy and time here competing with the visual and gain more traction, more Followers and bigger numbers, or spend your time working on things that really matter to you, which means, inevitably less time and energy spent here because it simply isn’t possible.

    I chose the latter. I really hoped that G+ would respond to the needs of non-visually inspired content contributors, but it didn’t happen.

    Ah…but, mea culpa…we have a President who doesn’t read books. Why am I surprised?

    I am not. And, as you know. I continue to post here because it was/is my medium.

    But I’m allowed to be disappointed, mais oui? 😉

  177. Sakari Maaranen ill imagine you didn’t read the post where the cat took a blog post i wrote and ripped it apart line by line a few above this comment here? Naw probably not. You don’t know me at all… You probably never even clicked on my profile… But again.. OPINIONATED ARMY! I was nice and non commenting to negative bully people on this platform for years…. I’m over it. It’s time i said what i felt.

  178. Sakari Maaranen It must be hard for her to have millions of followers here on G+ but just a few thousand on Instagram… but we all know it’s not about numbers … let’s take it easy and stay on the GREAT topic.

  179. Well now that Edward Morbius​ has determined that only he knows (insert topic of the day here) I’m muting this post. It’s becoming a sanctimonious statement about how he and only he knows what’s going on and what’s important. If you have to bully people into silence in order to stake your claim as the smartest person in the room Edward… You aren’t. And with that I bid you adieu.

  180. So, funny thing above, is I saw the name, thought “oh, I think I recognise that”. And found the post where … someone else, actually … had analysed engagement and followers.

    I’m quite honestly not all that interested in social media. I am interested in, well, interesting discussion and conversation. And if I can find a spot that supports that, so much the better.

    The G+ analysis (and followup) were trying to reconcile the horrible level of engagement I was experiencing, and apparently everyone else as well, on the platform. As well as the increasingly cringeworthy / Baghdad-Bob-esque engagement numbers Google were pumping out.

    When I realised that a space alien cat with a rusty laptop and finicky ‘Net connection could actually make a fair inference, and seeing as nobody else had … well, so be it.

    Again, kudos to Stone Temple Consulting for not only not shooting the messenger, but doing an amazing follow-up. SEO is about the last place I’d expect to find Heros of the Internet, but Enge & company stepped up to the challenge. Totally unknown to me, by the way, until they published their results as well.

    Which is to say, they actually did data science. Independent replication and falsification / validation of an earlier experiment.

    Again: I’m seriously impressed.

  181. And, since there seems to be some confusion on the topic (Ms. Adger, above): I’m not claiming exclusive knowledge on anything.

    I am saying, if you’re going to claim numbers, have something to back them up.

    Flouncing is as flouncing does.

  182. Wow. One thing I gotta give Google+ credit for… this post, started yesterday, was at the top of my feed today. I otherwise would have missed it, and that would have been a shame.

    As many have already said, thanks Gideon Rosenblatt for voicing many of the thoughts and concerns we’ve all shared for so long.

    I’ve long said that social networks are microcosms of society which means that users join and intermingle and evolve into a unique and unpredictable subculture.

    The blessing here was the creation of a subculture where people from all walks of life, who’d never previously met, could get to know each other and, as Pam Adger pointed out, have really incredible discussions.

    It’s wonderful to see so many of you here.

    The curse, sadly, is that despite claims and protestations, the goal for Google+ really was to unseat Facebook as the premiere, unchallenged network leader, and that aspiration failed miserably.

    The reason we haven’t seen official usage numbers in years is that they’d reaffirm what everyone already assumes – that network usage was never what it was publicized to be, and has been in near-constant decline.

    Despite that, Google+ was indeed a success for the people, like us, who devoutly used and enjoyed the network.

    From a business perspective, however, Google+ had no real future once Vic left (or was asked to leave, considering it was his ploy and gamble to integrate G+ into everything Google).

    Imagine that you invested years and millions of dollars into a product that failed to meet expectations. What would you do?

    Google, for their part, decided it would be best to spin Hangouts and Photos into their own products and simply the keep the lights on at Google+. Yet, as with so many other Google plans, even that wasn’t executed well.

    Just look at how much demand there is, right now, for live streaming capability. Many of us are staring dumbfounded at Facebook Live and thinking, “damn, we had that 3 years ago with HOAs!”

    The only good news, to me, is that social networks and users are fluid enough that it’s almost never too late to reverse fortunes, particularly when you do have an existing user base and enough revenue from other areas to make a working plan into a reality.

    Google+ should be re-integrating Hangouts right now and making it the place to develop real broadcast shows and audiences. Integrate it with Chromecast and desktop TV devices and now you’ve made it both possible and easy for regular people to create programming content that attracts a wider audience.

    Here’s hoping the folks at G+ really are listening.

  183. It would be great to know how much of the experience that was seemingly shared on G+ was actually a product of an algorithm, or just a happy conincidence of the Zeitgeist (also in the sense of asking, what did actually work well with G+, before it started to become too messy). Moreover as a thought experiment I wonder, if more human redaction could actually recreate such a communicative utopia. Part of the problem is probably, that there is rather little return on investment, except for the quality of the content!?

  184. Amanda Blain​ saying what you feel is all good. I guess criticism just easily gets us at a personal level – and we use that to get attention – even when discussing on a general level.

    Sure I have seen your profile here before, already years ago. I just seek less popular characters, something different from the main stream, so I may avoid more popular accounts with some exceptions for sure. I have actually uncircled some people because they’re so good – attracting too much of my attention. Seriously. They’re doing great without me and are already saying what I like so I might as well let them. They don’t need me.

  185. Dran Fren​ there’s no such thing as “just an algorithm”. Automated or semi-automated curation and interest matching etc. are human means of helping humans meet humans. That’s all human. Computers and algorithms are valid aids – nothing wrong with that.

  186. The new G+ is just shite, plain and simple. It’s a badly designed, badly implemented, glitchy, and user-hostile website.

    I can only hope that the management person responsible for this atrocity will eventually move on to destroy other Google stuff, like the ads business.

  187. Achievement unlocked… The space cat who hates Google and Google+ more than anything … yet spends every day here posting about how he hates Google+ and insulting it’s power users daily… has finally blocked me… 🙂 Happy Trails +Edward Morbius … May you find the fame you are so obviously still seeking. *another hug*

    Continue on G+ ghost town fighters… Sorry for the thread slight derail – Maybe I should do a blog post about the reasons I stopped posting actively on plus.

  188. Daniel Imbellino no I refer to Google search, their main business if you will. As I said, my own posts show up (as I’m logged in to the ecosystem). Others don’t but I suspect in some respect if they did there’d be no other sources (unless they do and appear in subsequent pages but I’ve not checked) and they’d get shouted at for favourising their own products again

  189. Hey Amanda Blain​​ – he has blocked even me – more than once if I recall right, and he is using multiple accounts – but he still has tons of very good perspectives. Don’t worry about it.

    On the topic – it’s good to sustain a message – you see, if you are critical of something or someone, you should bring the message to them. That’s what this spacecat is doing. Take Greenpeace for example – they hate oil industry, so they take their message to oil industry. I’m sure you know what I mean. If you want to resist the system, you go to speak to the system. That’s how it works – especially how democracy works. Only under dictatorship we are forced to leave if we disagree.

    Let’s embrace where we agree but let’s also embrace where we disagree. Thank you for being with us.

  190. The part the users of G+ never overly seem to grasp though…. G+ is not a democracy. It is a for-profit corporation. Every single decision Google makes is a number based eventual for profit reason. Always. G+ is not some charity project. You can rant and rave and provide feedback all you like. (Using your time effort and money) If in the end game it is not profitable.. Google is not going to do it. 🙂