Google+ has possibly had one of the best social media site launches in history, going from 20 million and then to 50 million users in a very short time. Though Google is no stranger to good practices on the internet, LA Times and many other outlets and individuals have expressed skepticism about the success of the social media site and have called out Google+ as a “fading interest”.
The graph below shows total visitors of Google+ in a measure of biweekly increment for five months (until November), as measured by Hitwise.
This brings me to the first negative aspect of Google+:
1) Lack of participation- Though Google+ has a great potential, the amount of people that login every day and contribute to the user experience has diminished, if it ever took off. This adds to the users not seeing the social networking site as something they would like to spend time on.
The screen shots above gives an idea of how a user may view the activity of both (Facebook and Google+) when logging in. Going into my profile, we see that in Google+, my feed has something new every hour or so. Looking at my homepage, it is sometimes only three or four activities logged a day. Whereas on Facebook, my contacts are sharing activity every 15 minutes or so.
2) Merging circles – With circles being a central feature of Google+, one would think that the capabilities of it would be readily available. However, the simple task of merging circles is not one of them. Once a user adds a person, they put them in a circle to initiate the consent of adding the person. If a circle becomes outdated, however, the simple task of combining circles is not an easy one. A user has to manually add each individual into another circle to get what merging circles would have done.
3) Games – Many users like the idea of having social network sites with a good amount of games to play with their friends. Since you have all your friends in one site, why not initiate a game with one of them rather than playing with a random individual? In a message accidently published by a Google engineer, a criticism of Google not understanding platforms was the idea of users wanting to game. He admitted that Google+ had only added that feature at the very last minute, and even now, the site has only 28 games to choose from.
4) Missing synchronization across networks – Many networking sites including LinkedIn have been able to integrate other platforms with their own. Foursquare and checking into a destination, Twitter and tweeting updates, Spotify and what music users are listening to are just a few platforms that Google+ could have set-up on their site. With more synchronization, more users can share information with their friends across networks.
5) Posts for circles cannot be changed – Unfortunately for users, if a post was intended for one or more circles (or everyone), and it had not been selected by the user before publishing the post, the user has to go back and then delete the post and rewrite and make sure he or she selected the circles that it was initially intended for.
6) Removing a friend’s post from your feed – Do you get bugged by that “friend” who posts ridiculous content, or is outright annoying on your feed? You love them, but their posts are unnecessary and you don’t want to read it when logging into the site. Unfortunately, Google+ does not give users the option to hide all posts from a certain contact without removing the friend from their Google+ circles. A little harsh for those friends who are open to share everything or anything.