Google tweaks Google+ mix as Photos, Streams break away

Mike Murphy gets to the point for Quartz when he writes Google will strip Google+ for parts.

Stripping for parts is a delicious metaphor — the tech industry just can’t get away from car analogies.

The deal is this: Google will pull the Photos and Streams components from Google+ and set them up as two new products.

… and Google Hangouts?

There’s talk elsewhere the company will do the same for Hangouts. I’ve never had success with Hangouts but I know many readers love the application and prefer it to alternatives like Skype and FaceTime.

In some ways Google+ is a better social media tool to use than either Facebook or Twitter. It has a clean interface and offers greater flexibility.

I’ve found engagements with others on Google+ can be more enlightening [1] than the terse 140 character limit Twitter imposes. And there’s a higher signal to noise ratio than you’ll find on Facebook.

Google+ easy to read, navigate

Best of all, you can quickly read back through discussion threads. That can get tricky on Twitter when talks take off in multiple directions. And, of course, being Google means you can find things fast.

The problem is that Google+ never managed to get past the feeling that there’s tumbleweed blowing down empty streets.

Google says there are billions of Google+ account. That’s sort of true. Signing up for the service is more or less mandatory if you use other Google products or even an Android device.

Yet estimates say Google+ only has a few million active users. That’s about two percent of Facebook’s active users and, maybe, five percent of Twitter’s.

Twitter grumble

There’s a joke that you go to Twitter to listen to people grumble, go to Linkedin to listen to people pretending to work hard, go to Facebook to watch people play and go to Google+ to see what Google employees are up to.

Google+ wasn’t Google’s first attempt at social media. You may remember Buzz and Wave. Both were awful, but they had fans. Google+ was a better experience, the basic idea and code were sound enough. It’s just that Google never seems to have got social media.

Commentators are writing Google+ obituaries. That may be premature, although one never knows with Google. This is a company that has no compunction about taking lame horses behind the stable for shotgun practice.

What is clear is that Google+ will change.

[1]: At one point I wanted to use Google+ as a way of managing comments on my site.

4 thoughts on “Google tweaks Google+ mix as Photos, Streams break away

  1. You forgot about Orkut. From what I’ve heard it was very successful in Latin American markets.

    I’ve always seen Google+ as Google’s glue to make you want to use their products, akin to Apple’s walled garden approach. They inject a common user system with commenting, photos, news etc which bleeds into Gmail, Docs, Android, Auto, TV… so the more Google things you use the better the experience as all your digital things are brought along. Obviously this isn’t fully implemented and I think the hard pushback they got when they merged YouTube into Google Accounts with Google+ and their unification of the privacy terms across products probably gave them a hint how hard people were going to make that transition for them.

    Apple started out with restrictions and made the transition look like value-add (oh look now you get notifications on your computer!) whereas Google’s transition seemed to take value away (the oh so bad user management they have and the real name policy).

    I am not fussed if Google+ gets split apart. I think this is the start of version 2 of that vision I think they have of a unified Google Platform. I think they’ve learned from Apple and are going to be more sneaky about how it happens from now on. You’ll just one day realise Google has higher walls than anyone, they’re just quite far off in the distance.

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      • Yes, indeed. It is easy to see why they have changed tactics if you see the lawsuits coming at them, not just from competitors but governing bodies and like. Of course one or two lawsuits wouldn’t be able to stop them but with the constant barrage they get I guess they’ve figured they can’t fight it constantly.

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  2. Google+ seems to shine for the Ingress community, the G+ communities feature allows people to effortlessly organise local faction meetups or provide a subject-based social media newsfeed in a way that just seems a lot cleaner than the way facebook handles events and groups. Granted, Ingress is a product of a Google startup (Niantic Labs) which explains why they have built G+ integration fairly heavily into the game, but the fact remains that Google+ provides a functionally excellent community engine for this purpose.

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