What's wrong with Google+?

The UI designer in me has thought about this a lot. I really can't quite put my finger on it. There's so much to love about Google+, so why aren't more people using it, and why does the general interest appear to taper off? Is it just an incredibly difficult market to enter, like search after Google?

My first thought was that Google+ fell in to the trap of trying to create the "everything to everyone" product, collecting too many disparate features with too little focus to bundle it all up. This is usually a highway to hell for any product, but since it works for Facebook, why shouldn't it work for Google+?

I adore Google Hangouts. I use them weekly at work, and once the plugin is installed, it just works -- you'd think someone else had built the product. Even on flaky connections with 8+ people in a video conference, audio almost never stutters. Still, I can't help but feel that's the only thing I'm using Google+ for.

I'm in love with the "Instant Upload" feature from the Google+ app on my phone. It works remarkably well, backs up all my photos to the cloud and has a negligible impact on my battery. But it's supposed to get me sharing photos here, and I don't. At least not as often as the diskspace I use suggests.

When I first joined Google+, I was instantly enamored with the Circles concept. Unlike Facebook, I could easily create my own social circle and curate the groups I wanted to share with. Given time, however, I've found out that I'm too lazy to curate my Circles -- someone, a shell-script, curate them for me!

There's even something to be said for all the ways Google+ is surfacing interesting content from YouTube, circle recommendations, even the "What's Hot" search in the sidebar. Still, that just feels like a curated stream of what everyone likes, and not what I like specifically -- those two bubbles wouldn't be exactly on top of each other in a Venn diagram describing my interests vs. the rest of the worlds.

So what's wrong with Google+? For all intents and purposes it should be working for me! But somehow, as much as there is to love about Google+, I can't help but dream back to the days when I could click "share" in my Google Reader stream, and my three friends would read it.

#googleplus , #googlereader
Shared publiclyView activity