, I can't speak for +Julian Bond
, but I'm beginning to think much the same - wondering what is going on at the top that they've seemed to be unable to manage Google+ or the press response to it.
Consider that in the past 3 weeks since the Ghost Town story broke, Google+ has released the following features:
- Changes to the +1 button and badge, including allowing it for your personal pages and a highly controversial color change.
- Hangouts change how you can invite people and bring Google Docs support into the main hangout product.
- An enhancement to Ripples
- A long awaited change to photo management
All this while Vic was saying they release a new version every day! Which may be true - but it means that users don't see much actual change. These changes are at the same time we continue to ask for some real and substantial fixes - the photo management is the one thing on that list that meets that description.
During this time period Vic and a huge posse were at SXSW. Did they make a major Google+ announcement or release there? No. Say anything to disprove that it is a Ghost Town? Just Vic saying that people are "using it wrong" and that their numbers say something different... but they're also measuring something different. (Do we really think they don't have time-on-site stats for the plus pages itself? Their Analytics platform can tell me this for my pages!)
A few people were at the GDC. Was there any major game-related announcements? None that I heard of. The only thing from GDC that I seemed to hear about was that in a year, "Google Games" will integrate your play across all platforms... and that the game developers want the ability to be more viral.
In this same time period, they made a couple of significant changes to other Google products. I may have missed a few, but the two that stood out to me:
- Introduction of Google Play. No mention that I've heard about Google+. None. My stream did pick up a little with Google Play Music reshares of the same cheap album, but then nearly vanished again.
- Announcement that you can make a YouTube channel based on your Google+ personal profile. Which is exactly backwards from what they're saying drives Google+ "traffic".
We keep excoriating people who say Google+ is dead for having low circle numbers. Perhaps that isn't the cause
but the effect
. When Vic says that people are "using it wrong", perhaps there is a fundamental problem with the design
that isn't helping people use it more or better. We can't just discount the people making these comments.
The problem is - it sounds like Google is
. And that
is what this article was warning about.