My beef with Google+

Limited, eh?

I’ve been a member of Google+ since day 1, but I’ve not really taken to it in a big way.

Initially I thought this was because none of my friends were on there, but no… now lots of my friends and other people of interest are on Google+ and (reasonably) active.

So I thought to myself what it is about the user experience on Google+ that’s holding me back.

I love the idea of putting all my contacts into so-called circles. It’s great to be able to make the distinction between friends, acquaintances, famous people I’m following, etc. and being asked to choose each time I share a new item. Facebook and Twitter both have lists for incoming data but Google+ has made it easy to do this for outgoing data.

Except it hasn’t. When I first saw the demo of circles, I imagined that it would be possible to include circles inside other circles. I have a circle called Friends and one that contains my partner and my very best friends which I’ve called Inner Circle. Now, I can’t think of any time I’d want to share something with my friends that I wouldn’t want to share with the inner circle, so it would make sense for me to include the Inner Circle in the Friends circle. But I can’t. Sure, I can put the members of Inner Circle into Friends which is fine for those 4 or 5 people, but what happens when I want to put Friends into Acquaintances for the same reason?

The clumsiness of this interface has pretty much put me off using Google+ altogether, because its major advantage over Twitter vanishes in a mess of unusability.

On a similar note, when I visit my own profile I’m presented with a feed of all the posts I’ve shared with anyone ever. Sure, I can type a person’s name in to see how it looks to them, but I really don’t want the posts I’ve shared with just one person appearing on my screen at all when I visit my profile at work or in another public place. I hate to say it, but I miss being able to write on someone’s wall and see it on their profile instead of my own.

I don’t think these are major obstacles to overcome, and I think Google+ has a lot going for it1 if it can just get over the “underlying implementation great, user experience shit” problem that so much startup software has.

Google isn’t a startup any more. They should be getting these things right first time.

  1. The integration with my Android camera, syncing photos instantly is genius. []

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