Discovery Tools: Incoming Stream
Google. Don't kill something if you don't have something better to replace it. Between moves like this and social search, I'm beginning to think that 2012 is the year Google decided to constrain our worldview on the Internet rather than help us expand it. Thanks largely to Google, the Internet used to be about what you couldn't find elsewhere.
I Want My Incoming Stream Back!!!

+Google+, in my opinion, just made their first major screw up. The Incoming Stream, for those that aren't aware of it, was a stream that included posts from people that have added you to a circle, but you haven't added them. It was an extremely useful tool to quickly browse through posts from the people who've added you, see what they're interested in, and oftentimes, end up adding them to a circle.

At the beginning of this month I even issued a challenge entirely based on it (https://plus.google.com/100035762233109552669/posts/5CWJ13dGseJ) It was a fun way of getting people to get to know one another, to interact with someone that perhaps on the surface they didn't share much in common with, and maybe find something surprising.

Well, that's no longer possible. Earlier today, Google removed this stream. Posted here (https://plus.google.com/113882113745075873153/posts/Rjt66GLtnA2) is the explanation for that choice, and I think it's foolish. The Suggested User list is not an adequate replacement for this feed. All it does is showcase high level G+ users, not those lesser known people who are constantly posting great content. In fact, the Suggested User list is largely useless. +Carter Gibson summed up the reasons why perfectly here: https://plus.google.com/115121555137256496805/posts/TWbvJ6qPMLU

The "What's Hot" list? Please. 90% of what I see there are cat gifs, posts from +Mike Elgan (which, since I follow him, I'm already seeing), and various posts from celebrities that I don't care about. Not useful.

They say that you can still see the people who circled you under the Circles button above. While true, it's useless for doing what the Incoming Stream did. A huge list of names does nothing for me. Do you really expect me to find the time to check the profiles of, at the time of this writing, 829 different people? There simply aren't that many hours in a day. Even if I were to delegate only 5 minutes per person, this task would take me just under 70 hours to complete. I'm not doing that. Would any of you?

In the comments for both +Dave Besbris's original post and +Natalie Villalobos's repost, I've seen people saying that they never used it anyway. Chances are, they didn't do that because they didn't know what it was. I'll admit, this was something that was never really explained very well, and it's only though trial and error did I figure it out. Once I did, I made almost daily use of it.

The solution to this was to perhaps rename the feature, or simply provide a better explanation of what it did...not to remove the feature for those of us who were using it.

I truly feel that Google made the wrong choice here, and I really hope they reverse it. The Incoming Stream was a valuable tool I used to decide who among the people that circled me should be circled back based on the content they posted here, and not having it changes a large part of my Google+ experience.

I want my Incoming Stream back.
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