New Update: Followed Collections - Missed Potential
I'm still playing around with the preview version of the new look, so I'll wait until I have the full thing before talking about why I think it is what it is. What I will say is that with Collections, we just lost a major opportunity. I am a huge believer in Collections. I follow a lot of them. This update does nothing for me.
When you're like me, and you add lots of Collections to try to shape your experience here on Google+, what happens with the new design is that you simply add a whole bunch of pretty tiles to your "Followed Collections." If you want to see the goodies inside any of those collections, you need to dive into each-and-every-single-one-of-them. Like little cul de sacs - little dead ends that you have to pop out of for each one. That is a horrible design. Let me repeat that: horrible. Oh yea, and once you jump into one of those little cul de sacs and look around, it might start showing up in your Home stream, along with the friends you interact with, the featured and suggested posts, and some community posts. If you're lucky.
What we could have had would have been much, much more useful. When you click on your "Followed Collections," it could have taken you to a stream comprised entirely of just the collections that you've followed. Click on Communities, same thing: a consolidated stream of all the posts from all the communities you follow. Click on Circles (which is still possible w/ some tweaks in Settings) and a consolidated stream of your circles. Click on Home and it's a consolidated stream of everything (plus more secret sauce from Google).
So why, Gideon, do you care so much about this? Because I really love this place and I want it to succeed. But what's going to happen now is that people will be adding Collections and then forgetting about them. The posts from the people and Collections that they really wanted to see will be buried in the little cul de sacs of this cumbersome aspect of the design. Yes, Collections are awesome, but right now, their success is entirely contingent upon their showing up in the stream, which is fairly unlikely unless you visit a Collection, and that means getting people into the habit of visiting each of their Collections regularly. Not. Going. To. Happen.
We need a consolidated stream for Collections. We need a consolidated Stream for Communities (it has the same cul de sac problem). Fix that, and this service really does become a powerful place for sharing passions.