Google+ (aka G+) is, or was, Google’s answer to Facebook. I say was because, as Google discovered over the years that it couldn’t even compete with FB, they tried to turn it into something else. Google+ is actually Google’s fourth major attempt at a social network. Orkut was launched in 2004, and managed to hang on until it’s demise in 2014. Google Friend Connect lasted from 2004 to 2013. Then there was Google Buzz, which didn’t even last more than a year after its launch in 2010. And those are only the major ones. There were smaller ones like Jaiku (a Twitter-like service), Google Wave, Google Lively, and others. All of them packed up.
Google+ started out in 2011, and has hung on till now. Here’s a fun fact: while Facebook has over 1.44 billion active users, G+ seems to have only 300 million active users. Big gap.
So here’s what I like about Google+:
1. The UI. To me, the UI, while it isn’t the best it could be, is quite beautiful and easy on the eyes. I like the multiple colour usage, with the dominance of red. Really, I have to give Google top marks for UI design.
2. The concept of “+1”. I don’t know why, but I really love the idea of +1. It’s equivalent to liking a post on Facebook. I like that you can use it in third-party services, too. I generally like the whole ” plus” stuff. It’s cool
3. The idea of circles. Circles help you easily group your G+ contacts into groups like Friends, Family, Acquintances, and more. It makes it easy to manage your stuff.
Why Google+ is annoying:
1. All your posts are private by default. When I discovered this, I was livid. All the while I thought I was sharing info with people, I had been talking to myself only! To make it even more annoying, you can’t change the privacy of a post after you’ve made the post.
2. You can’t unite multiple Google accounts. I currently have 5 Google (Gmail) accounts, with two of them activated for Google+. I have refused to activate the others, because that would mean i would have 5 different G+ accounts. Even though they all belong to me, Google doesn’t let me unite them into one. It’s quite annoying having to post something on one account and post it again on another.
3. It’s too complex and confusing. Facebook is easy to understand. Join. Add friends. Start posting. Join groups. Like pages. And, um…poke. But on Google+? Join. Add to your circles. Join communities. Follow people. Start posting (don’t forget to change your privacy settings). Create collections. (I don’t even know what collections are.) There’s just too much. Part of the confusion I face is due to its several evolutions. Whenever I face my G+ app, I’m always lost.
4. It’s boring. Not like me to say this 🙂 , but Google+ is boring. On Facebook, you could scroll through your News Feed and keep scrolling, reading interesting stories and funny posts, and completely lose track of time. Not so on Google+. No matter how much I try, I can’t spend more than a few minutes on Google+.
Bonus: There are hardly any Nigerians there. I’ve been on Google+ for over a year and a half, and I’ve met hardly any Nigerians. I still don’t have up to 10 Nigerian followers (or total followers, for that matter). I think it reflects badly on Google that, despite the number of people using Google accounts, only a fraction are active on Google+. The truth is that most people on Google+ are developers or corporate organisations. Few “normal” people are on G+.
So that’s it. I’m not sure if the good of Google+ outweighs the bad, but every once in a while, I open my G+ app and look around. As long as Google+ is still around, I’ll hang around and watch. You too, right?