I adore you, I do. I took a test drive on your mobilesque desktop G+ and sadly you broke my heart. I have been here since the first couple days of Beta. The first Beta. I loved you at first sight. And don’t get me wrong, I still do. Otherwise I wouldn’t have taken the time to write all of this. And yes, I’m also sending the official feedback. But the official feedback doesn’t cover the overall impressions. I can’t highlight missing features. I can’t hide personal data because you’ve already removed that.
When you first said you listened to us and are focusing on interests. I was happy. Google + is where I go to find people with common interests and passions. But you left out one very important thing. The PEOPLE. Everything social has been removed from the new G+. Hangouts/Chat. Gone. About Me. Gone. Circles have been stripped down to uselessness. I have 39 circles, but I’m only allowed to view 6!? Do you know why I have so many? Part is I have people sorted by things they post about. One is for people who post things not always safe for work. (I don’t mind that they do, I just need to me sensitive to my surroundings). One is for shushed people. These are the people I adore what they post, but not what they plus. I have to segregate them because you don’t allow me to shut off seeing what they plus. I also have a circle for folks who I allow to see my contact info. My local peoples. People I’ve met in real life. That is a large circle. I’ve met, done hangouts with some amazing, inspirational, talented, kind people in the last several years. But I feel like you’ve taken them from me. It’s no longer easy to send someone a quick Chat message. (And yes I still call it Chat when it’s only text). When someone new circles me, not only do I have to click to see their info, it’s a stripped down version of it. Cold. Impersonal. There are some great About Me’s that will never be seen again. Take a look at Shawn McClure’s. It’s awesome. But it’s nowhere to be found on the new version. Only the 239,042,382 links ;-) See this album https://goo.gl/photos/Aq2dTGnkUQFVsPLV9
? It’s full of the folks I’ve met here on G+. I've been to your house!! There’s a photo of a couple I met in my very first hangout. The live half a world away, but when they came to vacation near me we met up in person. It was awesome. But I can’t even send you the link via G+ anymore. Just the horrible horrible Photos. Where they sit lonely because no one can comment, plus or anything. Just stare. I can’t look at someone’s profile to see their photos anymore either. To be honest unless they’ve been keeping up on hiding junk from highlights I haven’t been able to in a long time. I don’t care what events they’ve gone too – when I click on their (or my) photos tab I want to see the photos by that person. That’s it. Period. No more.
Now let’s talk about the UI. Is it a great redesign? I don’t know. To be honest it looks like a cross between Classic G+ and my cell phone. I get that nothing will necessarily be where I expect it, that there will be a learning curve. Like finding circles. I sincerely hope you make them more functional again. And more accessible. I get that you’re trying to blend mobile and desktop. But why? Most people I know use them in very different ways. And if it’s at a cost of removing features most people love and use daily, maybe it’s not a wise move. Everywhere I want to go, every comment I want to make, ever plus I want to press takes more steps now. Many more steps in some cases. An update or two ago a friend joked that you were in cahoots with mouse manufacturers trying to get us to wear out our mice faster. I’m starting to believe that’s true. What ever happened to elegant design? And the layout. Images are SO tiny. I have a big monitor, even so I have to zoom in my browser to 175%. And even then images and posts don’t fill the screen. While I like the stream having room to breathe, it doesn’t need half my screen’s width to do so. And speaking of filling up space why can’t I zoom in on photos anymore? And why on earth did you put the Delete button where the Close button use to be in the Lightbox view? I’ve nearly deleted my photo several times now. Why move the close button to the other side? It was happy where it was. It told me so.
What happened to the hover pop ups? Is that going away to mobile-ify the UI? I loved being able to hover over someone’s name and the circles I have them in would show up. Made it easy to rearrange. Or remember why I circled them in the first place. I could hover over someone’s name on a comment and see if I had them circled and the quick tagline about them. Gone. Now I have to click on the name, lose the conversation I was in just to see if I have them circled or to circle them. I can’t tell if they have me circled or not.
I do understand why you broke out some of the features – such as hangouts and Photos. I get that many people use them or want to use them without having a G+ account. But why remove all links to them from G+? I know how to do that on my Wordpress site- it’s easy!! Can’t you simply add a tab/button whatever that opens them up like in G+? Who wants to keep jumping from tab to tab when browsing and chatting with someone? How many missed conversations will there be because we forget to open the Hangouts app? Again – it’s the PEOPLE that keep bringing me here.
Communities. Come on. Why hide some of the most useful features in Communities? Why make the categories a drop down menu? (Again that mouse conspiracy theory rears it’s head). Just show them to me! It’s hard enough to get folks to read community rules when it’s right there in front of them. If they have to click to find it, forget it. Again. Classic Google I could simply over the category and a handy pop up menu would show up and let me move a post. Easy peasy. New one I have to click then select. Then when I’m done with one community, I have to go click on the Hamburger button. Click on Communities. Possibly tab between the ones where I’m a member or moderator (another thing that used to be on one handy screen). Then scroll and scroll and scroll to find and click again on the Community I want to view. I can’t simply click on All Communities at the top of well all my communities anymore. And no longer to I get the most commonly used communities at the top. I’m considering adding an AAAAAAAA to the name of all of the Communities I own ;)
You said you talked to users. You said you visited us in our homes. You said you listened. Honestly Adobe said the same thing about the latest Lightroom and that was a huge disaster. I hope you learned a bit from them and that’s why you’re releasing this test version. Because your biggest fans, your biggest supporters are your existing users. We LOVE G+. That’s why my stream is filled with upset people. We feel like you’ve taken our friends away from us. Remember if we didn’t like you so much we would simply leave. But we want to make G+ a success every bit as much as you do. We joined because G+ was different. It was filled with genuine people. Passionate people. Friendly people. Intelligent people. Please remember that. I'm glad you listened when people said G+ was the place for interests. It is, but more importantly it's about people with common interests.
And last but not least I have been and will continue to send feedback on specific problems. As often as I can :)