Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Hey, who invited that boring Google+ kid to the party?
On June 28th of this year, Google+ will be five years old. 

There are those who will acknowledge this milestone. Many, if not most, will largely ignore it. And then some will write yet another post explaining why Google+ should just die already.

Rather harsh words to wield at a five-year-old.

But not entirely unjustified.

Perhaps for social media junkies, the late arrival of Google+ to the party felt like the guest with that “special” something whose arrival everyone awaits. But for the rest of us, it felt more like Google+ crashed the party.  And then it didn’t even bother to bring anything. (Not even a token bag of chips.)

Of course, fans of Google+ would disagree. Listed below are some of what they deem “special” features:

1. Google+ has an impact on personalized search results so that if someone follows you, or follows someone who shares/reshares/+1s your content, then that content will show up higher in the search results.

2. With the circle functionality, you can group your contacts into personalized categories (circles) and then share content in only the circles where it’s relevant. You are also able to share circles with colleagues and then they can create circles based on those contacts. Other platforms can’t do that. (Neh neh, boo boo.)

3.  Google+ is interest driven. This makes it easier to find others that share similar interests so that when you connect with them, you already have things in common. And with the built-in tool called Hangouts on Air, you get the power of Google Search and YouTube helping you get found on the Internet.

4. With Google+, you can turn up or down the volume on certain streams so if the topic of a circle interests you more than another, you can turn up the volume on that one so that you’ll get more posts from that category. 

5. There are fewer distractions from ads, thus placing the focus on content. (Take that, Facebook.) Plus, Google+ posts are less prone to being lost in the noise, when compared to something like Twitter

Well, okay.

These may well be valid points. Circles are nice. Who hasn’t dreamt of turning up the volume on one? (Except maybe everyone.) And most of the rest sounds viable, though frankly I don’t see Twitter and Google+ attending the same party, let alone hanging out together. I mean, Twitter is twice Google+’s age.  And not much of a talker.

What it all boils down to is that these features just aren’t “special” enough for most of us.

We’re already stretched in all directions trying to maintain the current social media platforms into which we’ve weaved our lives, egos and TMI. And Google+ isn’t offering anything outstanding or different to justify our getting on board with yet another. According to critics of this platform, its design updates have actually done less to improve it. The mobile experience is lacking, which is a huge drawback. And despite its moniker, Google+ does NOT drive all SEO.   

And then Google took nepotism to a whole new level in 2013 when they upset the YouTube community by requiring people to have a Google+ account to comment on what was once a wide-open site for self-expression. They have since admitted defeat and require only a regular Google account now, but this did nothing to parley favor for Google+.  Rather, it positioned their legacy/love child as a spoiled brat that tries to gain popularity through bullying tactics and pulling rank. It’s just that sort of behavior that keeps one from getting invited to parties. And inspires hateful rants.

Google+ feels not just like another platform, but another thing to maintain and another thing to do. It’s simply too little, too late.