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If Google doesn't give us noise controls soon, we're going to see a lot more posts like Brian Shaler's, below.

I've seen this trend before on FriendFeed and Google Buzz. Some people love talking in conversation forums. Most don't and when the noise level gets too high (I call this the Chat Room Problem, read more about what that is here: ) people leave, or, worse, just spend time elsewhere.

I'm noticing this too. Twitter keeps streaming along at its same speed that it did before Google+ came out. It is now boring looking, but it still has far less distractions than the comment areas do here, especially since you can't filter or amplify yet.

And, yes, I do realize the irony that I'm calling Google+ noisy, but I'm a noise expert because of that. And, whatever you think of my noise I'm seeing a TON more on my screen, because I'm following so many here and elsewhere. That actually makes me noisy too, because in the noise I'm seeing a lot of fun things to share (I'd share more, by the way, if it wasn't causing such a noise cost on you).

Anyway, one neat thing is I'm following Brian everywhere, so will see his content no matter where he lands.
Brian Shaler originally shared:
The honeymoon is over, and I'm a little nonplussed about G+

(Feel free to skip this warm and fuzzy foreword and proceed to the next headline, "a-Buzz," for critiques)

Right away, Google+ and I hit it off fairly well. It's a splendid new social site that introduces new mechanics to how you can interact with your friends online. A welcome change from Twitter, Facebook, et al.

The biggest paradigm shift introduced by Google+ is a digital representation of a real-world social network construct: Circles. Your friends, family, coworkers, Internet-acquaintances, former classmates, and so on generally exist as clusters—or circles—in your mind. You talk about certain things with certain circles. Google+ does a great job of mirroring this behavior by allowing users to share content with specific subsets of your network and consume content from your friends based on what circle they're in.

As a bonus, it does all this using fancy HTML5/Javascript functionality in real-time. It's a joy to use.

Once I installed the Android app, my feelings for Google+ started to grow stronger. I miss Brightkite, and while Picplz and Foursquare have allowed me to share photos of cool places I've been, they're no placement. Google+, however, gave me a tingle, a phantom feeling of my long lost Brightkite limb. My "activity stream" could once again include thoughts and (geo-tagged) photos! What's more, I can post a group of related photos as a single update!

All this is to say that Google+ got my attention, and I would clearly love to continue using it. But will I?

It turns out investing my time into a social network is about more than what features are available on the network. Long before Brightkite shut down, it stopped being social. I felt like the only person among my friends using it. It had become little more than a chronological photo log of cool places I've discovered during my travels. The only social aspect of it was the syndication to Twitter and Facebook.

Everyone is different, and I'm sure I'm far from the norm, so I must add a disclaimer that even if a social network becomes useless to me, it won't necessarily fail. With that in mind, let's take a look what Google+ could do to improve and what might cause it to fail.

All a-Buzz about Plus

Remember Google Buzz? We shouldn't talk about Buzz when we're talking about social networks, because it wasn't a social network. It should have been positioned as a new kind of Google Reader. Google Reader is for reading RSS/blogs, and Google Buzz is for reading what your friends have posted online. Even with that perspective, would Buzz be considered a success? Definitely not. The biggest flaw in Buzz, no matter how you look at it, relates to noise and content equality. More on that later.

While on the topic of Buzz, a quick way to turn Google+ into a dismal failure would be to flip a switch (e.g. enable the API) that allows people to populate their streams using posts from other sites (e.g. syndicate Twitter updates to Google+, cross-post via a client application to Twitter/FB/G+/etc).

Google+ is meant to be social. If people automatically feed their content to Google+ without actually using Google+, you'll have content without people. Content without people isn't social.

Content Equality

Google Buzz suffered immediately from something that is slowly starting to signal the demise of Twitter. Google+ is on track to suffer the problem. The problem? If someone posts about eating a cracker—hey, maybe it's a really good cracker—that post is treated with the same importance of a post about a death or a divorce—a real one, not the celebrity kind. This wasn't a problem on Twitter a few years ago. People used to limit how much drivel they posted, and users would lambast you if you tweeted too frequently. Some people still follow less than 500 users on Twitter and read most or all of their friends' tweets, but as more people get more noisy, that Twitter lifestyle will continue to be less common. People now pipe their activity on other sites (e.g. Foursquare check-ins, YouTube favorites, farm/mafia status) to Twitter.

Twitter didn't scale. It worked when it was smaller, because there was a filter. But the filter—the judgment of the author—went away. Without that filter, how do you manage noise? If you follow 100 people and one of them posts as much as the rest of them combined, you'd simply unfollow that person. Well, that's not effective. All or nothing? You either subject yourself to everything or you disown them?

I digress. This isn't a rant about Twitter. In the context of Google+, I see the same issue already, within a couple weeks of public launch. The only solution to the problem is hiding noisy people in Circles, which sounds a lot like Twitter lists. This is a tangent I'll dedicate a section to later.

As a data guy, I have a mantra. You can never have too much data, as long as you have the proper tools to make use of the data. You shouldn't require all your friends to have an unwritten rule of how frequently to post or what is not important enough to post. As we saw with Twitter, unwritten rules can fade away.

I'm not a huge fan of Facebook, for various reasons, but I have to point out that Facebook is one of the only players doing this. They might not be doing it right, but they're doing it. Facebook has a chronological news feed and a "Top News" view. It's simple: If a post gets a lot of comments or likes, it bubbles up to the top. Facebook's implementation is far, far, far from ideal, but it's a great illustration of what can [easily] be done.

Twitter Lists vs Google+ Circles

People have made this comparison before. Aren't Google+ Circles just like Twitter lists (or Facebook lists for that matter)? Yes and no. When you read posts from a subset of your friends, Google+ Circles are pretty much identical to Twitter Lists. Wouldn't it be great if you could direct tweets at a subset of your friends based on which list you've added them to?

So we're clear: Google+ Circles are not like Twitter Lists.

Unfortunately, though, Google+ Circles are too similar to Twitter Lists in the way that makes Twitter Lists almost entirely useless. The best use case for Twitter lists is "fake following." You can "follow" a million people, but add only your "real" friends to a list, and have your intimate Twitter experience while being nice to everyone you don't actually care about. Twitter Lists are a tease, though. Wouldn't it be great to make a "Designers" list and see tweets about design? No, Twitter lists don't work that way. If your designer friends like basketball, you'll be sure to see more basketball tweets than design tweets during the NBA finals. Having topical Twitter Lists is just as useless as having topical Google+ Circles.

If Google doesn't start to differentiate Google+ Circles from Twitter Lists soon, people will start to realize they're only useful for restricting who can see your posts. There are cases where restricting who can read your posts can be great, but what will happen when people realize that posting something to a circle does nothing more than hide it from some people? This topic deserves its own section.

Posting to a Circle: What's the point?

I don't think anyone has pointed this out as a problem, since the feature is working exactly how it was intended and designed. I can post "Hey New York friends! I'm in NYC!" and not bug my Phoenix friends. If one of them goes to my profile, I'm fine with them seeing it. Not directing the post to them would be my way of telling the System, "So and so likely doesn't need to know this."

Unfortunately, due to the Content Equality problem, restricting who sees it doesn't increase the chances that those who can see it will see it. How often will you be using this social network to share "for your eyes only" stuff? It's fine for hide-from-everyone-else to be an option, but I wouldn't expect it to be the preferred behavior if an option is included to direct a post at a circle while still allowing it to be found by the rest of your friends (or the public).

Say you have 1,000 connections and you visit a place where you know 50 people, all of whom you have in a circle for that place. Will your post shown to 5% of your friends be treated any differently than a funny cat picture you shared as "Public"? It seems like that restricted post would be more relevant.

Another example: I used the "reshare" feature to show something to my friend +Ben Parr and shared it ONLY with him. Unfortunately, he's quite popular on Google+. Since I didn't "+-mention" him in the reshare (which would result in an email and annoying RED notification) or check the "notify this person" box, what are the chances he saw it? I bet he didn't. Oh well. I should have just emailed the link to him.

In summary, posting to circles is currently about who to hide content from, instead of who to push it to. Maybe I'm the only one whose bubble was deflated after realizing this, but I doubt it.

Group discussions

Okay, so there are discussions happening all over the place on Google+. Public/Private posts, comments, Hangouts (10-person video chat), and Huddles (mobile-only group chatrooms). But ever since the advent of Twitter Lists, people have wondered (perhaps too quietly/subconsciously) why there can't be a way of everyone in a list tweeting at each other on a given topic (e.g. Design)? Facebook has Groups for this, and mailing lists have existed for ages.

The issue here is that for a community to share content with each other (a community could be something like Arduino enthusiasts located in a particular city), everyone will need to maintain their own copy of the list. Twitter Lists can serve as a pretty good example, where Lists can be public or private, and if they're public, they can be "followed" by other users. This doesn't imply that the members of the followed List or Circle would see your content, though. In both cases, your content would only be seen if the other members of the List or Circle either A.) follow the same List/Circle, or B.) follow/add you directly. Facebook Groups handles this differently, where if you are added to a Group, you start to see posts from other members of the Group, even if you don't know them.

This area seems to be a mess, especially if you consider the desktop-only Google+ Hangouts, mobile-only Google+ Huddles, or the options available from other services (mailing lists, Twitter Lists, and Facebook Groups, oh my!).

Yet Another Walled Garden

No matter how great Google+ is, if I can't use it to keep in touch with my friends, what's the point? This is a tricky problem to solve, since you'll never get all the people in one place. As I said before, content without people isn't social.

With fragmented social graphs, there needs to be a smart way of irrigating the various walled gardens. For Google+ to get into a good (non-Buzz-like) position, it needs to allow users to keep in touch with their friends in other places.

Google+ lacks content syndication (there's a 3rd party hack to turn Public posts into an Atom feed), but should fully embrace it. I would like to see other networks listed as places to push content. For example, if I want to post my travel plans to Google+ users in a specific city, I might also want to push them to Facebook so my parents can see where I'm going. Or maybe I'll want to push a funny joke or cool picture to Twitter. It doesn't hurt Google+ if the other networks get [more] content-without-people, and it would lead to more links and traffic to content on Google+. Essentially, Google+ needs to become the hub and turn everything else into a spoke.

What about my friends that post content to Twitter and Facebook? If I have to go to the other sites to get their updates, I'll end up spending more time on the site where more of my friends are. If Google+ lets my friends syndicate their content into Google+ (cue Tom Cruise sliding out in his tighty whities), I can keep up to date with what they're doing without going to the other sites. Didn't I previously oppose this concept? Well, content aggregation is Risky Business.

Google Buzz highlighted the signal-to-noise problem with aggregation, and enabling it for Google+ would have the same result. Don't just aggregate! Aggregation and Content Equality simply do not mix. Even without the Content Equality issue solved, Google+ is getting noisy (Side note: What's noisy? Is it too much content? No. It's too much uninteresting content versus interesting content ). Once addressing the Content Equality issue, aggregation can and should be considered.

Weighting Content

How can Google solve the Content Equality problem? Well, there's plenty of low hanging fruit, such as factoring in the percentage of friends a post was sent to (If you're one of 10 people included in a post that would otherwise be seen by 1,000, it's probably pretty relevant), or how frequently the author posts (If I post once per day, it's probably a more important post than an individual post from someone who posts 100 times per day), or maybe even the closeness of the contact (How frequently do we interact? Is the author in several of my circles?).

I'm wondering, though, if Google+ can incorporate other Google software. Specifically, Google has a Prediction API. Call it Artificial Intelligence, call it Machine Learning. I haven't messed with it, but it sounds like it should help determine certain things about a piece of text. Did something tragic happen? Is it about sports? Is it related to a topic I find absolutely interesting or incredibly boring?

Keep in mind that Content Equality doesn't mean we have to show or hide content based on certain parameters. As a data visualizationist, I have to point out that there are many different ways to highlight some content while deemphasizing other content. Many data visualization examples are very abstract, but the core principles can be applied here. When you visualize data, you change visual characteristics based on attributes of the data.

Currently, Google+ visualizes your friends' content by arranging the posts along the y-axis based on date of last activity. Otherwise known as the reverse chronological list view. There are other ways of sorting content, as Facebook and Reddit illustrate. You can also emphasize more important content with size, color, or visual cues.

Take a look at Gmail. Gmail shows email in a similar way, but has a few visual cues that help you spot what you're looking for without reading every item. For email addressed only to you, it'll show one type of indicator. For email addressed to you and others, it'll show a different indicator. Emails can include a label, which can have a specific color. If Gmail visualized email data in the same way Google+ visualizes friends' posts, your email experience would be abysmal.

This post has gone on far too long

There are plenty of things Google+ has going for it, but I strongly believe it has a way to go to get real sticking power. Ultimately, clusters of people will form around certain social networks. If you spend more of your time on one, you'll drift apart from friends who spend more of their time on another.

If you and your circle of friends are all on Google+, and if the group is of the right size, and if the group self-polices post quality and frequency, then Google+ is probably just fine as-is.

In order for Google+ to be the powerhouse it's poised to be, things will probably have to change. Fortunately, the Google+ team seems to be pretty responsive to community feedback. Fundamental design changes, however, will need to come from the top and be executed with vision, not as a reaction.

Obviously, I'm a little out of practice with my writing. This post is way too long and doesn't flow especially well.

cc: +Robert Scoble +Fausto Garcia
Pierre-Yves Lendenmann's profile photoChristian Brumm's profile photoDipta Malik's profile photoPeter du Toit's profile photo
blah - i have no problem with noise. i just know how to use Google+ heh
People are so retarded with all these harsh critiques about G+ when it's still a Beta.
+Brian Shaler I think the key here is restraint. Don't follow more people than you can cope with reading, no matter how great the temptation. I suppose that goes against the Socnet grain, but it's good common sense
+Brian Shaler +Robert Scoble I am sure the Google+ Team is working on a filtering mechanism for us! We just all need to take a chill pill and let that stream go by. Try looking at particular circles (oh - that means you have to have circles defined). Just chill folks... watching the world go by can be interesting with the right attitude. Like a leaf in a river.
Yo Blowhard +Brian Shaler All of us are grateful you don't like G+. You would have been a stream killer.
The comment section is the biggest single killer in g+ for me. Having trawl past some pretty inane comments some people leave to get to the next post. I really want to hide the comments unless I actually want to read them. Have it as a default setting.
1st rule about G+ should be not to talk about G+. Unless its to a circle. Of Googlers. Or a post sent through the "feedback" button.

i.e., clean up your streams and get over it!
+Andrew Nimick there are tools to do that if you use Chrome. Comment Toggle is one G+me is another. Look them up. They help
Comments in posts are both a blessing and a curse. The comments section is where many of us can interact and learn new things, but at the same time the comments at times can grow out of hand and are difficult to control/view.
I don´t se the problem, just mut if you don´t like a post
Yes Google+ is noisy. How does Twitter avoid that? For me TweetDeck allows me to filter my streams. I wish Google had an app for that.
time to give a proper feedback, and picasa its self deserves whole article what to improve ASAP!
To those of you who keep pointing out "there's a mute button". I shouldn't have to click twice on every post I don't care about just to avoid it drowning out posts I actually may want to read.

I wonder if OP is reading our comments or if I should go post mine on his thread too
2/3 of Google+ sharing is private and private channels tend to be less noisy. You can set your default Circle to focus on people who aren't as noisy and don't have a million commenters.
"I'm following Brian everywhere, so will see his content no matter where he lands." Sounds creepy! ;-3)
+Matthew Allison G+me and Comment toggle are much more automatic than that. G+ is so good it allows me to follow even this fast moving thread easily :)
G+ is still in field trial though, and many new apps and features should be coming to us shortly. Many people on here forget that we are still in Beta.
Ron Bee
+Oliver Bouchard Would that not be more of a forum? Separating posts into topix is a forum imo.
if you can't keep up with the noise you might not be ready for the 21st century
No problem here to be honest. Interesting that the people who like the most attention are complaining the loudest. I'd say that is a sign that things are working pretty well for the rest of us.
I follow over 1,500 people on Twitter. Fortunately, Twitter has lists. My only regret is that I'm limited to 20 lists. G+ has circles. I don't follow enough people here yet to need a lot of circles.

One thing I do NOT want, on G+, Twitter, or anywhere else online, is an algorithm doing filtering for me
How can one complain about noise feed, and then post giant articles better suited for blogs? It might be better to post this kind of content to your blog, then share the link. That's likely more in line with what Google intended.
When it comes to user experience, Google just does not get it. Never has. The same applies to Android, Chrome, ...
I don't mind the noise; muting the posts works for me, but then again I'm not a regular user. That said, I have the feeling that one good way to filter noise would be something like an auto mute. We could chose to auto mute posts with more than xy comments. What do you think?
@+Silner Wilner My point is that sometimes I want 1% of some people's content, and only the best/most relevant. Showing restraint would mean unfollowing "noisy" people like +Robert Scoble. I don't like the thought of an all-or-nothing approach.
This feels like stretching for an excuse to not like google+, just to be different.
Of course you can "mute this post", but did you know you can mute a circle out of your main stream? Put the noisy folks into their own circle, then remove the circle from the main stream. More in my post: "HOW TO: Manage Noisy People & Filter Circles with Google Plus Minus Extension" Let me know what you think!
Theres a Mute button, havent you heard? im going to use it right now!!!
+Robert Scoble not based on the response to this thread it doesn't. Consequently, if it does, it appears they ought best voice their concerns to Googlers, as the support for such a cause seems waning now when we can simply clean up our circles.
In more prosperous times this would have driven the purchase of 40 inch monitors.
+Robert Scoble I think the bother comes from trying too hard to keep up with everything. This is where IRC users cope better. Because we have more realistic goals, to read as much as we have time for and just enjoy it
One thing that Brian Shaler mention that stands out "Yet Another Walled Garden" but we are not going to be able to around that.
Ron Bee
+Oliver Bouchard I agree with you on certain topix but that is the reason for circles. You create a circle for let's say xyz truck. Then all fans/friends also enjoy posting about xyz trucks. You are then joined together in a circle - problem solved. Plus as an added bonus - your other friends that are not enthused about xyz trucks are not notified.
Hence - targeted.
Sorry, the Mute button doesn't cut it. It's temporary. Facebook's "Top News" is brilliant because a) it's automatic based on algorithms, and b) there are ways to permanently adjust it if Facebook gets it wrong. I need something similar for my streams, some people post entirely too much and it is so annoying to constantly click mute.
+Oliver Bouchard Groups would be an excellent idea. It works well on Identica, but all groups need users willing to police the spam
In addition to the stream filters, what about having shared circles? Did someone mention this? In addition to privately managed circles, you could have circles that people could join / be invited to join? You know... like FB groups...
Thanks for making this wall of text even longer.
another misuse of the word "nonplussed." i appreciate the attempted pun, but ...
If everyone on G+ reposted this wall of Scoble just once it'd break the Internets....
Maybe we need a customization for our circles where, for specific circles, it doesn't show individual posts unless they have a certain number of +1s. For example, I could have a circle called "Prolific Writers" and put +Robert Scoble into it. Then I could set that circle to not show posts unless they are at or above say +80. Problem fixed? (And yes, I know that means I would be crowdsourcing my filter - but just for certain writers).
He makes some good points (i.e. pushing content), but I have issue with some of his illustrations. For instance, he mentions Facebook has a chronological news feed and a "Top News" view. It's simple: If a post gets a lot of comments or likes, it bubbles up to the top. Facebook's implementation is far, far, far from ideal, but it's a great illustration of what can [easily] be done. The problem is that the Top Content, when implemented, really pissed a lot of people off because Facebook was making the decision of what was most important. And those decisions were based not on what's important to me, the reader, but on the number of connections and comments the poster had. That's really pretty meaningless to me, and most of the users I know always turn off Top News so that they can see everything that Facebook might have hidden from them. Noise problem? Well, Facebook does limit posts to a lot shorter than what we just read. :)

As for Facebook Groups, they are also very poorly implemented. People created groups around a topic, but then discovered that, like a website, you had to go there to see what's been updated. You didn't receive notifications if someone posted a new discussion topic (although you would see a notice if they replied to you in that topic - but only if they replied to you and not the topic - pretty crummy), so people joined lot of groups and that promptly quit visiting them. All the action is on the home page. The group admin could send out a private message to all members, but that's pretty irritating. They came out with Fan Pages to get around all that, and when the Page Admin posts something on that page's Wall, it shows up in the Newsfeed of everyone that Liked the page. All the action is on the home page.

Don't use Facebook as an example except for things not to do.
if google doesn't allow google apps email users who pay to have profiles soon we'll have a revolt.
I dislike Facebooks Top News as they are chopping off posts from people that I want to hear from. It bothers me that they decide who I should hear from, and want total control over the FB realm. Its just another walled garden, only a lot worse than any other one that we have seen before.

Having circles allows me to control the topics that I have an interested in.

Using them for post is great as I can focus specific msgs on family, geek friends or other social groups and not worry much about things going to the wrong group.

I also set up one for Evernote, and anther that I just use for short items that I want to track.

Regarding noise. There is noise everywhere in life, this is a new situation and we just need to figure out how to do the auto filters that we apply elsewhere.

Just Saying...

Way too long a read....even coming from someone like me who always has long posts and comments.....

I agree what I did read....but isn't that why Google+ is in a test period of sorts....I don't remember this being open to all yet...that's what feedback is for....

I'm more concerned with them rolling out business pages out....for I see that as a make or break thing......seeing how well they can work on the social networks....and I hate to admit that.....

I will give this post an actual chance when I get out of work
Ron Bee
Wow - this post has spilled onto another monitor! lol
@+Mike Keller: I'm not about to disagree with you, but in all fairness, I should point out that I'm pretty sure FB fixed the main issue with the popularity->top news issue. While I would never say FB has done it right, at least they've done something. Their new algorithm is a little too much of a black box, weighting people you interact with higher and hiding people you don't interact with enough. The flaw? Classic rich-get-richer economics.
Brian, my thing is when I first log in to FB and it shows Top News instead of Most Recent, the Top News is like 8 hours old. Really, it shows me stuff from when I was last logged in.
I agree with +mike keller I do not want software deciding what I see. Just because something gets a lot of +'s and comments doesn't mean it's better. Could just be that person has a lot more followers. I wish Google would have the option of chronologic posts. 
because I hit the expand and because I agree so did not feel the need to read it allllll and just wanted to go to the next post, I am goint to <b>test</b> the water of sarcasm... need hot key to collapse if I do not want to read the entire post (floating collapse item maybe to the side?) or was really looking for something in my stream and thought it would be short to click the expand, unlimited character without this feature will be cumbersome for me... thanks

I contribute this noise because it is heard by those who chance to hear, I do not think there is a pure solution to the problem of noise as if all humans beings, completely dynamic, contributed one thing on one day such as a video there is not enough time to get it all. I already see that, and my noise is not even communicable on most levels... point is I am just glad to see innovations... everything gets old and because I got very little company work done today due to personal work and the novelty addiction of G+, G+ itself is getting old... it is one thing to speak on all the ways to se something and another to actually do them.
I originally thought sparks was going to allow me the ability to create a feed from friends posts. I think this would be a better use for sparks rather than the current feeds it makes. Plus, cut down on the noise.

For example, I would like to create a spark based on a keyword like "android"... I have several geek friends that talk about android often. A spark based on the android keyword would filter out all the noise from others and let me read only posts related to android.

When these same friends are talking about peanut butter I don't have to pull my hair out filtering through all the noise...

Google+ can solve this easily in my opinion by allowing custom post feeds based on keywords.

Plus, Google will have even more marketing data about me to work with. I would have an entire library of keywords I am interested in which Google could use...
I have to second +Emmett Lollis in that i find my self more engaged here than anywhere else.

Anecdotally, I can see some people leaving after observing all the navel-gazing going on now, that is to be expected. But this introspection is necessary to flesh out how these new digs will be decorated. We will have to see what happens when g+ is totally open and the so-called general public begin arriving. Hopefully the decor is tasteful and inviting ...
by the simple act of commenting to this thread, I'm creating noise on my stream, and thats because now everytime one of the gazillion people who follow you and place a comment here, I will get updated on it too.
+Rafi Kharman That's easy. Click "mute". The challenge is what to do when the all-or-nothing noise management of G+ is unwanted, like with noisy friends.
irish d
i'm managing with an extension called g+me (just google it) recommended by someone. try the list mode, it's really cool. you just have to find the right extension(s) for you. i'm gonna try a couple more before i settle.
+Brian Shaler That's the thing, all or nothing. I don't necessarily want to mute something I commented on, but at the same time, I don't want it dominating my stream either. I dont think there is an easy solution, when following someone with thousands of followers.
can you hear me now?
more innovation...
I want instant one-click-mutes … and I want G+ to politely ask me, whether I want to noise-limit (post-to-stream cooldown mechanic) someone after I sequentially happen to mute the same person…

(see my wall for more infos).
all google really needs are googlelites (cloud operators) trained in cultivating the end user to the an experience most suitable for them.
That mute button, it doesn't work with constant streamers/posters. It takes as much time/effort to mute each post than to just leave it alone. Facebook has that option to X out people's posts altogether without unfollowing/unfriending them. It's a little more PC.
+Robert Scoble Three words: Give It Time. Google is doing something great here, but you already know that.
There are lots of good apps in the Chrome web store to improve the usability, and I have found that g+ is infinitely easier to filter than twitter or facebook. G+ can be twitter, fb. your feed reader, email/messaging, and other things depending on how you choose to use it. To me it's similar to what I love about the Android OS on my smartphone - customization (to an extent, of course). And it's been said before many times, but it's only a few weeks old and they are working on it. That excites me because it's already so good.
+Raymond Brady The GPlus+ Search Chrome extension accomplishes this for now. Not automatic like a reader, but usable.
they need something like what Gizmodo has, you can change the view of their site. I prefer the old version, set up like a blog, not the, most popular crap at the top... no thanks.... give us G+ options.
Yeah I was wondergin about that. I have written in to Google as well. Time will tell what happens.
Whine, Whine, Whine. You know there is an app that will do the stream in lists, so you don't have to see all the comments or even the conversation. Second, Not our fault if you followed everybody and their brother. If you don't want to use the app, then learn how to control your circles. You know by now who posts a lot, or who gets a lot of comments, so put them in their own circle. Other than that, sorry, but you whine when no one is engaging, and now you whine when they do.
Google will intro such tools, no worries, we shld be a bit patience, bc releasing new features too fast is not professional.
Is there a way to collapse comments? If not, that is sorely needed IMHO and would partially solve the noise/firehose issue.
Apparently some people get paid by the word.

Default collapse ALL post comments except those from people in my circles. NOISE PROBLEM SOLVED.
I expanded a Scoble post once, and could not find the collapse comment button... Because it was not there. Sent some precise google feedback for that exact lack of button. When it shows up, you can thank me!!
After this post, you just earned yourself your own Circle. Congrats.
Life in the sandbox. Fun, dirty, and then you get bored. Don't fret. The G+ team is listening and will adjust accordingly (at least I hope they do.)
Notably, no part of the Chat Room article from 2009/11 mentions listservs: e-mail discussion lists. Usenet, yes. BBS fora, yes. Chat fora, yes. Listservs, no. That always was and still is the difference between open fora and listservs -- especially must-be-accepted listservs. (Apologies to L-Soft, Inc. for possible trademark Q as opposed to 'e-mail discussion lists'.) Usenet fora, being open to anyone, got trolled and spammed and bad-actored and noised. The only listserv I've ever seen go south was one that the moderators tried to treat as totally democratic and thus as open as Usenet -- and it got trolled and spammed and bad-actored and noised. (Lantra-L, for the curious) Its replacement (Rosetta-L, a Google Groups list) is generally on-point, focused on the topic of the list (foreign language translation -- although that itself covers not just theoretical linguistics and translation theory, but also terminology inquiries, reality checks, marketing, productivity, recommended software tools, etc. and just enough water-cooler talk to de-stress).

Ultimately, the issue is focus or lack of focus (and investment or commitment vs. lack of same). As to Usenet vs. listservs, the general notion was that usenet was wide open, one could come and go, and post flames, and disappear: drive-by shootings were possible, metaphorically. With a list, in theory there was more investment of time to join, more investment of time to appear legit at least for the first post or two, more investment of time needed to leave, etc.

Of course, a list topic like "foreign language translation" will by definition tend to attract only genuine practitioners and serious people, not random trolls and bad actors. Still, it appears to me that the big differentiator isn't "No one can enter this community without being invited" but that "No one can be in this community without being accepted as serious enough." Sure, the standards for "serious *enough*" may change from list to list; but that dividing line is a big one.

One can argue for the "must be invited" dividing line; but the "must be accepted" one is also significant, beyond the "open to anyone" non-line. Also, the issue of a known-in-advance topic focus (and social -- ahem -- social pressure to stick to the toic) counts.
I actually like the longer post capabilities of G+. What would be cool is if you could add your blogger account to a circle or +Blogger and have it push out to your account.

Also I imagine my optimum solution for noise filtering would be to let me have something like a soundboard interface where each circle is a channel and I can manage the volume. Maybe even giving it a few keywords for the topic that I associate with the circle. I know that google has enough data (see google lists and news) to figure out what is related. But I think part of the beta was to give them enough data to start analyzing peoples interactions statistically. That is something you can't create inside of a development team. 
I would really like an option of "Extended Circles I've Selected". I end up making a lot of San Francisco Giants baseball comments, and I know that almost nobody in my circles cares about them, and I certainly am not so self important as to believe that the people I'm following care about the Giants' magic number. But I have friends whom I know pay attention to that, and many of their friends do as well. I tend to make political statements and reshare political news also, and again, I have no desire to spam tech writers' streams with unsolicited political crap (especially if they're located overseas). But I can see friends of those people that I know wanting to see that political stuff...

In fact, I'm more and more thinking that Circles is trying to solve two different problems with the same solution. What I would like is Push Circles (to which I push out content) that are different from Pull Circles (people I follow). I can kluge together something like that now by using multiple circles, but it's painful.
IMHO the noise issue is that the circles allow you to break up posts by people and not by topic. I might be following someone who is a photographer, or a tech guru, but I get all their posts whether it is related to the reason I'm following them or not, this makes for a lot of extraneous noise. I don't mind one person posting a dozen times in a short period of time if it is relevant to the reason I am following them, But when they post ten posts that I don't care about and only one I do then it seems like there is too much noise. People complain about too much noise from you, which I don't share their opinion, however I have several people in my feed that I will probably end up blocking because they post way to much and say to little that I am interested in, but who I think/ know other people love. I admit I would be all over the place on most people's feeds (although I don't post a lot), because I'm not an expert on any one thing and really have internet ADD, I post what interests me at that particular moment.

Of course fixing circles to separate by topic would also mean that I would miss some very good and interesting posts, that are off topic but that would have interested me in any event.

The biggest advantage to nobodies like me is that we get to tap into the royalty of various fields, many, who we would otherwise never have a chance to converse with or get information from at the level Google+ allows. The downside of course is for the royalty(and I don't mean royalty negatively), the shakers and movers that everyone wants to know, who get inundated by the masses. And this interaction is what makes G+ better than Facebook, and which may chase the elite away.
+Robert Scoble I'd like to know, and I'm hoping you can ask your followers: Do you use "Mute" in a "Mark as read" manner?

Bonus points for using the poll format that +Chris Messina used for his smile poll.
Please don't be social, this is a SOCIAL network. Now, please go about your monitization strategies.
Give Google+ a break. They will be making tweaks and changes over time. I am sure you will get your wish.
Mute feature + G+ me Chrome extension = Peace of mind
I can't believe they didn't think to default comments to collapsed! This acts on the very silly assumption that the responses are always as worthwhile as the original post. In the case of my "following" list like Guy Kawasaki and Robert, I'm far more interested in the original content than the responses.
I love seeing all the premature pronouncements -- "the honeymoon is over," for example -- on a new tool that has such distant implications we couldn't see them with the Hubble. I do love it, because I see how our brains are lit up by the idea of a really useful advancement post Twitter and post Facebook. The avalanche of proclamations about Google+ will go on for a long time, so keeping an open mind (and an eye on the global brain) will just be more rewarding and fun as it grows and becomes what it is not yet.
p.s. Without the massive functionality of Twitter and Facebook, we would have a hard time discussing (and growing) Google+.
Dude, great article, but how much time do you HAVE ???? Sheesh. Just reading it took two cups of coffee.... writing it had to be an afternoon of mental energy.
The mute button is genius
I'd like the opportunity to get nonplussed with google+ but I only know 1 person personally who is on here and THAT has me bored with google+... more friends please!
My concern as a new user who WAS suggesting g+ to her friends is for one, how google+ is freezing all my friend's accounts who signed on using a pseudonym. Some of these people have been using them for years and have many followers. Without them, they have no privacy, say from overzealous fans. (I am not talking BIG celebrities, but even small ones need to separate themselves from their public life) So. 1/2 of my friends won't come here now, because they heard about how google+ freezes the accounts of anyone using one.

So, since most of my friends are staying over there. That's where I'm going back to. Oh, yes and one person said google+ is censoring our posts, like in omg, bad word category. I have a friend who wrote an excellent article about this.
Sometimes you want to publish to a person but not subscribe to them, or the other way around. I feel like circles should have a in/out or both setting if that makes sense...
Whoa, you are indeed busy. I just followed you, and got immediately overwhelmed.

+Robert Scoble Hello. What do you think about a button at the top of the stream/profile that toggles "public posts" on/off? I suggested that through feedback. If you like the idea, could you pass it on, whenever you contact one of the google team members? Thanks.
I am still very happy with Google+ I am sure Google are working on more tools to let us control the flow of information before they open it up to everybody. Lets all take a deep breath and relax. Some of the biggest noise has been long winded articles telling us about the noise.
But isn't Google+ a white listing for conversation. If you like a writer add them from public view or block them, you get a good G+ white list.
What I think would be nice (and maybe it's possible and I just don't know how) is to be able to put someone like Scoble in a circle, and you only see his posts when you read that particular circle- so you can have your regular friends stream as wanted, and then go check out what Scoble is posting when you'd like, and reduce the celeb-noise... can you do this by adding him to a circle, and then muting him in the main stream? or is Mute a global setting?
I disagree when it comes to circles. That's exactly what they are for so they are doing their job a 100%. You can't dismiss them because they don't do what you think they should do.

Even though there are add-ons to post Plus streams to Twitter and Facebook I don't use them because I have little control over the target audience.

I do agree though that there should be a filter that allows you to get to the streams as they flow in and another one that let's you see the popular stuff.

Of course we also need a way to filter content by topic. Maybe they can incorporate a "topic" area just like e-mails got subject and you'll be able to filter the streams that way. I like the Gmail example.

I'm not sure that the poster's problem is with notifications. That's why they are there for. If someone is very popular and is likely to miss out on important information you do whatever you can to get their attention. I laughed at the idea that he didn't want to check the box to notify the person and then he suggest he was better of sending him an e-mail instead.

You run the same risk if the person is a power user who gets tons of e-mails a day. Who's to say they get you flagged as priority in their inbox anyways?

I just hope that for people like me that enjoy Google+ now things don't change too much, otherwise I may as well stick with Twitter and Facebook.
This is getting frustrating now. As far as I am concerned all of these people jumping on the "the honeymoon is over" bandwagon are just prematurely throwing their toys out of the plan in a way as to say "look at me, I am so far beyond this now. You have to work hard to keep my accelerated mind and technological prowess appeased". Google Plus is just a few weeks old. It is not even nearly complete. Most people who are making these threats about leaving think that they have some influence...or would like to think they do. It seems to me that now is about the time that you would naturally expect a few additions to the service and these people coming out proclaiming that they will leave if no changes are made are simply doing it to coincide with these prospective changes. Then they can say afterwards "look at me, I made the threat to leave and changes were made...aren't I important and I don't I share the influence of +Robert Scoble". Of course Robert is aiding them in this by sharing their posts. I will agree that something needs to be done about noise and filtering, but anyone with more than a couple of marbles banging around in their head will appreciate that Google will have this in mind. All those who are threatening to leave are doing is showing their impatience, immaturity and desperation to be noticed as an influential voice in an up and coming social network. If you are going to leave do it, don't bore us with continually going on about it.
A Huge post like this itself is NOISE !
+Robert Scoble +Fausto García +Brian Shaler Also to improve the content to noise ratio, I would LOVE a +/- leveling on the comments to the posts (similar to that of and have a default setting of what 'range' of comments I want to see (don't show me - comments but only those with +2 or higher status and show collapsed those between 0 and +2)

I am finding that I am posting to circles more than I post publicly because my comments are generally specific to one or so aspects and rarely needed for everyone to see. When I do this, I find that I get a lot better response rate from people with insight on my post, or an appropriate answer to a question I pose... Maybe people just need to learn to post to circles first and publicly last - with this thought, maybe G+ should make public as a default circle and having to be chosen to make a post public? Thoughts?
still better than the alternative...
The comments aren't the problem... it's the super long posts that should be a blog article instead...
Actually, I came to this post this morning because I didn't see +Robert Scoble in my Stream, and started to worry about you. :)
Not super impressed by this review. Syndicating content to social nets does not mean those same social nets are not also being monitored and engaged in. Anyone who has actually done social media marketing beyond a campaign would know that(?). I stopped reading after that one.
Jon M
I agree. I like your posts +Robert Scoble but they are frequent and get tons of comments. I like to look at all my circles (Twitter and Facebook taught me this I guess) to see what is going on globally but it does get super noisy.
+Brian Shaler About Posting to a Circle: What's the point?
You ain't the first one to realize this.
Weeks ago, +Tobias Wolter and +Vincent Mo independently wrote something on this issue, and in conjunction, they inspired my circling strategy. But I'm still to combine their opinions in one "How I do it - and it works!"-post..
Wow. I miss 140 characters. Does anyone have an exec summary?!
Chrome extensions like G+ minus, G+ me, etc take care of most of this for me.
you know what's sad? it's how you can't convince your FB friends to move over, even if you're sending them invites. ;(
He doesn't seem to know that you can share with the circle and notify them at the same time. Click on the blue chip to see the option. That way you can make a post, add a circle and be sure your recipients get it.
What if you could make a simple list of topics, users, and keywords that you care about? And also a list of stuff you don't care about? And then easily update these filter lists as your interests change, or as over-hyped news happens?
don't discount the funnel effect of a beta test leading to noise to hub-like individuals like moths to lights. see these powdery wings flutter.
i like what dude said about restricted posts should gain priority; thought about that myself.
I already filter stuff so that I don't have 6 posts a day being cluttered.
It's also why I have circles for tech/geeks and photography to help filter it further, google+ can filter things very quickly if you have more then one circle.
And more to the point the circles are less about ny friends and vancouver friends. Its about WoW friends, co-workers, and family
I've talked about this before. We seem to have one side of the equation nailed down: Information is plentiful. But the other side is a filter.

The only problem with filters is that they are only as good (at best) as the logic behind them. God forbid that you set up a faulty filter and begin to miss a bunch of information "you want." Then, people will naturally blame the service rather than their own mistake.

It's just the way it works. It's a tech version of "the grass is always greener."

But it would be nice if we had better filter options here on g+.

However, it is new. Let's give it a chance. If you're getting "too much noise," turn off the whole damned machine for a few days. NOTHING you get here is so important that if you miss it for a day or two your world will cease to spin on its axis.
noise control is part of curation, by way of site and feature design.
On my About page, I created a list of the things I'm interested in and you can expect me to post about. It can also be viewed as a list of the things I'm interested in seeing posts about, so it's kind of a "these are the circles you should put me in, these are the circles I might put you in." Post too much noise outside those circles and I'll just have to remove you from my circles. I already see this morning a bunch of cartoons from one person I reciprocated with yesterday; is it too soon to drop them?
ok, it was too long, so I didn't read it all, but wouldn't this be very easy for google to fix by allowing us to search our streams and save those searches, so I could have a saved search for posts containing #design limited to people in my design circle, and another one with #ruby-lang in the public flow (not only from people I follow). This seems like a cheap and easy to understand solution, we are already familiar with the concept from twitter. It let's us channel both outgoing and incoming in a very simple and extensible way with lot's of room for user inventiveness and community evolution of practise.
i sent feed back to G+ hoping they would add under edit this circle an option to have the circle in the main stream, and not allow circles to post to the main stream. That way you could choose what you see, as well as choose what others see. If you were still interested in seeing someone you follows posts you could simply do so by clicking on that stream. By doing so, you could limit noise on your main stream, and keep the noise hidden until you wanted to read. You should have those that you follow, and those that are personal relationships. And you should be able to choose which you see on login.
I want the option to see original posts and a selectable number of the most recent responses (default to a couple). I'm following the author, not the audience.
Also i hate that i have to scroll through post comments all the way to the bottom of 180 comments. They need to have a most recent comments or kind of like facebooks 'show older posts, but with comments. And they also need to have the same fuction when it comes to sorting posts.
A great way to add weight to a post would be "mutual circles". Some circles are private, as I don't want anyone to know if I'm following certain people. But if I want to expose, say, a Drum N Bass circle that other people can Add and Remove Themselves AND post to, then members of that circle can come and go, and all content in that circle would be prioritized and shared among all members. This way, if I add you to my public DnB circle, and you add me to your public DnB circle, we both know to view the same circle to get the same people.

Essentially, have private personal circles, and public circles, so if a stranger adds my friend in the DnB circle, I will get their DnB content as well. Like sparks, or tagging, or anything at all to get filtered content without having to sort all the people myself.

Also, can we get tagging of abstract words or concepts in posts? Like #tags, but don't "ugly up" the posts with #hardToRead everywhere, just add a second field to include the tags. That way, I can filter my feed as I wish, and see all recent posts on a narrow topic.
Hiding noisy people in circles? That's easy: Uncircle them. Nobody HAS to follow anybody else here, that's the charm of it.
you should be able to set your account to "auto" mute on keywords.... i would start with ANY post that contained the words "taylor" and "swift" and work outwards from there.....
Jeez, why doesn't he just use a good doc?
Circles solve the noise problem. If you want to see everything your followers are posting and not risk missing anything, follow less people or organize your circles better.
+Alex Zee +Georg Mir 1-click mutes (as a keyboard shortcut 'm' is part of the "Replies and more" extension. Works like a champ.

If you are running G+me as well, which I recommend, all we'd need is for the tan "mute bar" to fade out within a second or two, and it's done (I tried the "G+ Tweaks" extension but it didn't seem to play nice with G+me).
Anyone complaining of noise must simply be following the wrong (or too many people). You are saying you want Google to censor what you see then they have provided tools for you to control your own stream? Sigh.
+Casey Nordell I don't think this is true in all cases. By following someone who is generally interesting to you is cool… but what if he suddenly keeps posting flic after flic of some stuff you don't care about?

Or has a problem with sharing to the wrong circles. Like writing in a foreign language and not having realized he is spamming some people.

The system has to be able to handle that. So thanks +Alex Schleber for providing insights on how to do that. I just wish it was a built-in thing.
+Casey Nordell following only a few people (when you have genuine interest in following more) because of absence of better filtering/surfacing is no solution at all. It has always been a pseudo-solution.
This problem has been seen before and solved before. Slashdot created a self-moderating system long ago that depends on users to moderate discussions and allows adjust the level of noise they want to view. Slashdot just keeps humming along and growing. Someone needs to implement Slashdot-like noise management features on Twitter/Facebook/G+/etc.
The only part I disagree with these posts is the "soon".

Noise is an obvious problem that everyone is obviously aware and google is obviously working on. Although they have hundreds of also important problems to worry about. There's no need to keep bringing the "soon" to the table. It's silly to do so. They're busy, working on it, it's comming.

Google+ isn't doomed to fail or succeed depending on whether they solve noise in 1 week or 3 months. You and I just need a little patience.
+Robert Scoble +Brian Shaler I don't understand why you can't use your circles to filter what you see and the mute button...and I know probably 1000 people already said this but I just don't understand the complaint
G+ lacks the quick hit/scan abilities of FB and especially twitter. You end up scrolling for miles to get anywhere with the long comments and posts. It is an interesting challenge but they do need to make this more consumption friendly...
gotta be able to remove circles from the main stream...
+Georg Mir I respectfully disagree.
If someone interesting suddenly becomes uninteresting, I unfollow them.
If someone is using Google Plus improperly and it lessens my experience, I unfollow.
If they are posting in another language, Google Chrome auto-translates it for me (with an extension).
If someone continues to be a problem, I block them.

Again, I reiterate, this problem should be addressed by education users and providing them with noise control tools. An algorithm isn't the solution to every problem.

I like it the way it is now while others do not. Therefore one "solution" will not fit all. That's why I think letting each user address his/her own issue with the service is the way to go.
You CAN control the noise - just click on the circle you want to follow. I rarely look at the full stream, mostly check out my friend's circle and a few other circles to see what they're up to. There's no need for you to sit staring at the full stream constantly.

Also, muting is swell, but I'd really love a "collapse comments" button. That would clean up the majority of the "noise" on my stream.

There has to be a "don't cross the streams" joke in their somewhere.
I agree with certain points mostly content equalization and groups.. I think groups is a must... He is completely off key with his circles view though. Its the USp..even though i may use it once properly every day but that once differentiates it..
ted m
I'm with you on the circles needing a redo. There needs to be criteria you place on individuals, that will self-define what circle they would most appropriately fit into. I have some great books I"m selling, or would even give to friends, but I find I have to "spam" everyone, because these are pared down classics for younger readers, so chances are my reading circle would have read them or would want the full editions. I believe some of my photo friends circle can also read ;) and I wouldn't want to exclude them from this giveaway bargain.

Likewise, if I take a great photo of my cat, It would not do my reading circle justice to exclude this photo from them.

I have a lot of ideas. Is Google hiring for G+ renovation??
ted m
Sorry Scoble, post is too long, blocked.
+Casey Nordell Interesting point and thanks for the polite nature of your sharing — let's say I'm rather used to hear arguments getting harsh pretty soon. Maybe that's an Austrian problem, hehe.

User Education
On Topic: Well, educating users is the way to go. That's what I think about the democratic system as well. I would like to think that everybody is in control of every aspect of using a product. Experience has told me that this is not the case though, and never will be.

Stream Types
I know how to handle unfiltered streams (like twitter), but I also like Facebook's edited news stream. Especially since you can switch between full chronological view and the weighted version.

Stream Control
But yes: I would really like to have control over the Stream too, without clicking through circles. I am aware of this capability, but still would like to have a more useful Stream.

General Assumptions
And I totally second your opinion on giving people different tools to handle their information needs/problems. I just think some interactions could be made more fluent — even without resorting to algorithms. I am also currently rethinking how comment & plus1-interactions could be used to make posts sticky. It's a matter of using good metaphors and coming up with a believable mechanic… but I'm not sure if it would really solve any problems. Eg: posts with general utility getting lost, others sticking to the top of the stream.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Thanks for your thoughts as well. Good points. Let's hope g+ gets better for everyone. Regards.
+Robert Scoble I think you are quite noisy. (That's what I think of your noise.) But from what I've been hearing, I think G+ will add all kinds of new controls, so you'll get your wish.
Funny, I was thinking the exact same thing today. The more people I connect with the more cluttered the dialogue becomes. After so many contacts, you need a search engine to decide which conversation you want to be a part of...I still think its a great platform.
G+ is the future.
It is just a matter of time. facebook membership will reduce
That's why I'm here! Google + is the place to be.
If you think G+ is too noisy it's user error. You need to learn how to use your circles and adjust the amount of posts from each circle. 
+John Underwood Facebook tried to figure out what my feed should look like based on my behavior. That's one of the reasons I deleted it. I want to be in control of noise in my feed...not leave it up to an algorithm. Hence... G+.
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