Tag Archives: Social Networking

Forbes: 6 Months Later And Google Plus Still Sucks

Google+ wordmark

According to a writer for Forbes named Paul Tassi, Google’s latest attempt at social networking is still a failure. Mr. Tassi wrote about his dissatisfaction using Google Plus last year and he received some criticism from loyal diehards of the site – although most people would agree with Mr. Tassi’s observation that the site…well, sucks.

The Wall Street Journal a little while ago published an article claiming that the site is a virtual “ghost town” and users only spent like 3 minutes on the site per month. Of course Google denies this and released vague numbers to contradict any negative publicity.

Anyway, Mr. Tassi gave Google Plus some more time and a second chance to prove itself. He published another article today and he says that Google’s social networking site still doesn’t impress him. He wrote:

“…but I thought now was the time to revisit my thoughts on the site, quite a bit down the road. Over half a year has gone by since then. I’ve posted nearly every day to my G+ page, and have engaged others in conversation about many a topic… I still do not believe Google Plus is the social network it needs to be, nor do I believe it will ever pose a significant threat to Facebook in its current form.”

Mr. Tassi says that none of his friends use Google Plus and don’t seem like they ever will. His friends are using several other social media on the Web, including the red-hot Pinterest which I’m hearing a lot about lately. I think I remember reading someplace that Pinterest is credited for giving websites much of their referral traffic – far exceeding Google Plus.

Mr. Tassi believes that Google Plus appeals to a “niche community” of tech geeks and people who are in certain industries that find the site useful in connecting with the general public versus connecting with friends. Google Plus isn’t really a place you go if you want to connect with your close friends. He says that Google Plus is full of strangers who don’t comment much or engage with the site often. So even though he believes Google Plus isn’t necessarily a “ghost town” based on how you look at the numbers, it sure does give off the feeling that it’s empty and cold.

 I have posted an article on my blog calling Google Plus “pretentious” once. I actually think Google sells its social networking site as being a high-brow version of Facebook – as if Facebook is that place common folks exchange frivolous things with one another while Google Plus folks share more meaningful material. It’s typical Google arrogance.

Google’s social networking site does not look like it will get any better any time soon or ever. It’s been around for a long time now and the company has huge expectations for the site. Google desperately wants to see its struggling social networking site grow and become a success, there is a lot weighing on it. Yet even with so much invested in the site, Google cannot seem to win.

To read Paul Tassi’s full article, please click here

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Google Plus Ad Campaign Is Boring And Fails To Promote Struggling Site

Google really doesn’t “get” social. It seems to me that they lack the ability to understand how people want to connect and how they interact. Google executives like Marissa Mayer have admitted that Google has fallen behind in the social aspect of the Web and they are desperately trying to play catch-up.

Well, today Google UK uploaded a video on YouTube advertising the company’s social networking site called Google Plus. The campaign to get more people to use Google Plus doesn’t impress me much. Their video is titled “Google+: Tom” and it shows a man going through life on Google Plus. We see the man add his wife to his circles, it then shows the couple’s newborn child, and other significant moments in life. The video ends with a future look at the aged man as he reminisces about his youth with his friends in a video chat.

Sorry, but the video is so dumb.

I find it so pretentious, over-the-top, and confusing. I don’t like how the video doesn’t show the consistent and linear progression of the man’s life. In my first passive viewing of the video I got confused about whose life was being shared – the dad or the child? When it switches from the little boy in the green school uniform to the prom scene, I thought it was the little boy grown up ha-ha…but it was actually the dad.

I had to take a closer second viewing of the video to catch the stuff I missed.

Afterwards the narrator goes on about being a solider, being in a cannon, being a Justice, and a wise soul ha-ha. It finally ends with a corny aged look of the man with his friends, and he then adds his grandchild to his circles.

I know what this video is trying to be, but I don’t think it successfully accomplished it. It doesn’t pull on the heartstrings, it doesn’t excite me, and it doesn’t make me want to use Google Plus. I don’t think the video is mainstream enough and, quite frankly, it’s boring.

Also, I really don’t want Google keeping decades of personal data of my life  “well saved” on Google Plus. No thanks!

Now compare this video with a video uploaded by Facebook last year, which Google pretty much tried to copy. The Facebook video is so much better and gets to the point. Facebook’s video shows the life of a man from birth to present-day. It’s easy to follow along, it’s organized well, the music is energized, it’s fast paced, it pulls on the heartstrings, it’s funny, and it just works.

The Facebook video feels fun and fresh – while the Google video comes across as old and high-brow. Facebook is more inclusive while Google is more like an exclusive dull club for a particular type of person.

I’m gonna have to take pass on Google Plus – it just doesn’t do it for me.

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Yep…Google Plus Is Still A Social Networking Site And Still A Failure

English: stamp with the words "Fail"...

Guess who was out selling a sucky product yesterday?

Google’s vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra is trying desperately to make Google Plus a success, at least to the media. He desperately wants to change the negative public perception of Google Plus by trying to shove the product down our throats until it catches on.

After the Wall Street Journal called Google Plus a “virtual ghost town” because of the dismal user engagement on the social networking site – Mr. Gundotra has been speaking to the media denying that it’s a ghost town. Google believes that Google Plus is a success and they measure that success by “every metric [Google] care about”

Vic Gundotra spoke at a SXSW event yesterday where he tried to explain why he thinks Google Plus is doing well. Yet again, Mr. Gundotra made the claim that Google Plus sees 100 million active users every month. They don’t strictly base this calculation on how many people actually use their social networking site. If you have a Google Plus account and you never actually engage with Google’s social networking site but you use Gmail, YouTube, the search engine, or any other “Google Plus –enhanced” product then Google will count this as engagement on Google Plus too.

They actually use the numbers from other Google owned websites to give Google Plus a boost. They have no problem notifying the media about engagement numbers for YouTube by sharing how many videos are uploaded every day to the site – but when it comes to their social networking site you have to measure its success based on the success of other Google sites. Ha!

Mr. Gundotra even compared their entire social networking site, Google Plus, to a “like” button.  I kid you not! He argues that measuring the success of Google Plus based on those who directly sign in to the social networking site and engage with it fully, is akin to measuring the success of a “like” button. The “like” button is just a bonus tool that gives you more to do but it isn’t a standalone product– well, apparently, Google Plus is just a site that gives you more to do on Google as whole but isn’t a standalone site.

Google is fighting against comparisons to Facebook because they know that if becomes a competition against two social networking sites, Google will inevitably lose. So Google’s strategy is to not even compete with Facebook – at least not overtly. This is why Google doesn’t even like calling Google Plus a social networking site, they prefer instead to call it a “social layer”. Again, this is Google trying to claim that Google Plus isn’t a standalone site, but one where you can use a social tool to enhance your Google experience as a whole.

When Google Plus was compared to Facebook, a Google engineering director whose team built Google Plus responded by saying this:

“I disagree. When you say, ‘It offers the same functionality as Facebook’…what It are you referring to? See Facebook has Facebook Music. What is our music feature called? Oh yes…Google Music. Facebook has messaging. Ours is Gmail. Facebook has chat. Ours: Google Talk. See the difference is that we think ‘Google’ is the ‘it’. All of Google. Every part. You think it’s just ‘plus.google.com’. That is the difference.”

So, by this way of looking at it, I guess what Google is trying to say is that Google itself is the entire social networking site. You share videos on YouTube, you share messages on Gmail, you look for stuff on the search engine, etc. These are all things Facebook has in equivalence somewhere on their site too. Therefore, what Google Plus really becomes for Google is a way for Google to retrieve your legal name (they force you to use your legal name), your address, your contacts, your photographs, and other sensitive data about you. This way, Google can fulfill its mission to combat against “the faceless web” and start selling your personal data to advertisers for bigger profits.  Google Plus isn’t about getting more social -it’s about making it easier to monetize your personal data.

This is why Google Plus fails – it doesn’t focus on social interaction and engagement. As long as Google has key personal data about you, they couldn’t care less if you engage with Google Plus for hours or three seconds. As long as they know your personal information, who your friends are, and what you’re “liking” (or “+1-ing“) all over the web – then it’s all good.  This is what Mr. Gundotra said,

“You can think of Google+ as Google 2.0. In the new version of Google, we know your name, we know your circles and we make (our) services better… Everything is being upgraded. We already have users. We’re now upgrading them to what we consider Google 2.0”

The more Google knows about you the better it is for Google. This is why Google is so envious of Facebook. Unlike Google, Facebook has a treasure trove of personal data which advertisers love. Google wants a slice of that coveted data and they are willing to say and do anything to get it.

Google will deny and lie to change public perception. The truth is that Google Plus is a social networking website – they can call it a “social layer” till the cows come home, but we all know the truth. The truth is that Google Plus is indeed a virtual ghost town. Even the man interviewing Mr. Gundotra at the SXSW event, who’s a Silicon Valley venture capitalist and fan of Google Plus, admitted that Google Plus is basically dead inside. Mr. Gundotra countered by saying

“Make sure you’re using it correctly”

Perhaps, instead of blaming the users, Google should have made sure to build it correctly. If people are not using Google Plus correctly it’s because you didn’t build it correctly. Google Plus is an utter failure and Google’s true motives are plain as day.

For more information:

All Things Digital, “Google’s Vic Gundotra on Why Plus Isn’t a Minus” – click here

Mashable, “Google+ Executive to Critic: ‘Make Sure You’re Using It Correctly’” – click here

googleexposed, “Google Fails To Convince The Public That Google Plus Isn’t A Failure” – click here

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