I used to love Google+. For a long time, I didn’t use any other social network apart from Googles own majestic stream of useful & interesting information. However, over time things have dramatically changed at casa del Google+, and I’m starting to ask myself, is Google+ dead?
Cast your mind back to the summer of 2008. Google had something special in the works. Originally it was invite only, and a lot of geeks jumped on the bandwagon. I was lucky enough to be given an invitation to Google+ and I quickly fell in love.
For me, it was everything that Facebook should have been. Simple to use, great to look at, but most of all, no stupid memes or pictures of cats! Even if people started sharing pictures of their cat, or their over burdened dinner plate, it was fine because I could easily tune them out with this new fandango concept of circles.
There was a single, linear feed that you could use to keep up to date with all the goings on within Google+. You could quickly and easily add people to your Circles, and you could then filter your feed based on those circles. It. Was. Great.
At the time, I wasn’t on Facebook, and I’ve never been able to get used to Twitter and it’s crappy 140 character limit (seriously Twitter, you should sort that shit out). I was happy on Google+, it was far from the graveyard that some people made it out to be. It was social media Valhalla for me. But then things started to change…
In 2014 the proverbial shit started to hit the fan. Google began changing stuff, and Google+ started to go downhill fast. First of all, they completely overhauled the look. Generally the look of the site was ok, but the functionality was a whole different story.
Instead of this easy to use linear design, Google decided to change things up and start using a “brickwork” design for the layout of the site. Now, you might think that this looks good and it crams more posts on the page. However, it’s an absolute nightmare when it comes to scrolling through your feed. Not only do you have to read vertically, you also now need to look horizontally. It’s confusing, and I’m ALWAYS missing stuff.
I could live with that though, because of all the tools and innovations that Google+ brought to the party. Not to mention the many interesting people I had met through the site. However, in 2015 they changed the design again, and at this point, shit got real. I just can’t get used to the new design:
Seriously, WTF is that? There’s just too much going on within the screen. Not to mention that a lot of the functionality of the site feels alien. Instead of having simple links to do things like +1 a post, or add a comment, everything has a silly icon which looks more like a summary of the activity on a post, rather than a usable icon to do something.
So not only have they made Google+ butt ugly and difficult to use, Google have also striped out a load of the most useful tools of the network. Such as pictures & hangouts. So, if you want real-time chat within Google+, forget it. If you want video calling, you’re out of luck. Manage your photos? Not a chance.
And let’s not even get me started on the joke that is the profile page. How on earth do you even find any information about that person, let alone interact with them?
Go back 18 months, and you would have found me on Google+ every single day. But now, I’m lucky to check it once a week. It’s a real shame, as Google+ had the potential to be something great. It may still have that potential, I might be missing something (but I don’t think I am).
To answer the question at the start of this post – Is Google+ dead? For me, yes it is. What about you?