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December 11, 2011 7:41 PM   Subscribe

Will G+ become Google's only product? Mike Elgin of Computerworld thinks so. Google+ launched on June 28th, and, as Elgin states, ".... since the launch, Google has "integrated" a dozen more major products into Google+, turning them into de facto features. This process starts with a minor integration and evolves into a major one."
posted by tomswift (134 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
I read this article earlier.

In all seriousness: Here's hoping it doesn't.
posted by fake at 7:43 PM on December 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


I just noticed that G+ Circles have been integrated with GMail.
posted by vidur at 7:47 PM on December 11, 2011


I'm not sure I want to be assimilated.
posted by arcticseal at 7:54 PM on December 11, 2011


G-
posted by Thorzdad at 7:55 PM on December 11, 2011 [11 favorites]


I've been nurturing a pet theory that Google+ could eventually beat Facebook, if only Google had the patience to wait Facebook out for five years or so, quietly adding and improving their service all the while.

My main reason for thinking this is that (at least from my perspective), it seems like Facebook basically got where it is by being a less-trashy version of MySpace. Facebook appear out of nowhere: they'd been in the social networking space for years, back when it looked like nobody could possibly beat MySpace.

However, given how Google handled several previous products, I was seriously doubting that they had the corporate willpower to actually hang out for that long.

This article raises some interesting points, especially the central one about software products becoming non-viable once they become standard features.

All that said... I'm still rooting for an open-source social networking alternative: right now Disporia seems like the only one on the horizon, but hopefully if it doesn't take off, others will follow.
posted by ®@ at 7:57 PM on December 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Facebook *didn't appear out of nowhere. Oops.
posted by ®@ at 7:58 PM on December 11, 2011


I don't really expect it will replace adsense, or their corporate docs/gmail platform.
posted by delmoi at 7:58 PM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


"What all this means is that if you're using +1s, Maps, Search, Chrome apps, Chrome, Reader, YouTube, Google Music, News, Translate, Gmail or Contacts, congratulations: You're one of the more than 1 billion people who use Google+ every month. "

This may be the way Google sees it, but it's not how I see it. I use G-mail, or Reader, because they function fine as stand-alone products and I can ignore the Google+ integration.

If Google tries to force me to use g-mail from inside Google+, I'm quite likely to simply find another e-mail service.
posted by oddman at 8:00 PM on December 11, 2011 [27 favorites]


All that said... I'm still rooting for an open-source social networking alternative: right now Disporia seems like the only one on the horizon, but hopefully if it doesn't take off, others will follow.
Don't forget GNU Social!!
posted by delmoi at 8:00 PM on December 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wrote something to this effect shortly after it came out. I'm pretty sure Google will never force you to use G+, but it may be that you find that you're using it without noticing.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 8:01 PM on December 11, 2011


oddman... I don't think they would ever force you to use gmail inside of G+, but I think they will find ways to make it attractive for you to do so.

I remember discovering google in the early days. Just a simple search engine, that was all... but it was clean, there were no ads, they made it worth switching from Yahoo/Webcrawler.... They seem to be smart that way.
posted by tomswift at 8:02 PM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I think they will find ways to make it attractive for you to do so."

They're going to pay my family and friends to move to G+?
posted by oddman at 8:04 PM on December 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Appleseed.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 8:04 PM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I deleted my Google+ account within two weeks and still use Gmail, despite the Shit Sandwich that is the latest redesign.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:05 PM on December 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


euugh i hope not
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:06 PM on December 11, 2011


haha, I still have the old gmail UI.
posted by delmoi at 8:06 PM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


It makes sense in terms of the patterns and substance of human language. The idea of a unified Google product is analogous to a grammar that all humans share. Perhaps Google is just a "language golem" powered by the aggregate of trivial dynamics in human relations. But, the accumulated affect of clicking on ads or viewing content that influences political dynamics is anything but trivial. The distribution of social impulse, as chaotic and 'free' as it may seem, is likely more conformant to historical systems of power than it ever has been before. The dynamics are free-form, but the envelope of cultural perspective is shrinking. I think this is true everywhere on earth.
posted by kuatto at 8:07 PM on December 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


If Google tries to force me to use g-mail from inside Google+, I'm quite likely to simply find another e-mail service.

+1
posted by theredpen at 8:07 PM on December 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


I suspect I will be forced into it some way, at some point, but I'll be damned if I ever "+1" anything in my life. At least "Like" is a word human beings used, not some boardroom-birthed bullshit.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:07 PM on December 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


GOOGLE DIASPORA
posted by hermitosis at 8:08 PM on December 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


In the Google-era, political expression is an Energy Landscape
posted by kuatto at 8:09 PM on December 11, 2011


This is like arguing that if you take an entire high school's set of junior varsity teams, and tie them all together at the waist with ropes to Larry Page, then they can beat Real Madrid, because playing soccer is now just a "feature" of Google+. The product that has all of these features has to actually, you know, be worth using, and the features have to be decent in their own right.
posted by grimmelm at 8:10 PM on December 11, 2011 [11 favorites]


I've mentioned this Ars article from June 2011 before. I am not a G+ user and don't envision becoming one, but it may be inevitable. They're all but betting the company on this.
Google+ is not a typical release. Developed under the codename Emerald Sea, it is a result of a lengthy and urgent effort involving almost all of the company's products. Hundreds of engineers were involved in the effort. It has been a key focus for new CEO Larry Page.

The parts announced Tuesday represent only a portion of Google's plans. In an approach the company refers to as "rolling thunder," Google has been quietly pushing out pieces of its ambitious social strategy—there are well over 100 launches on its calendar. When some launches were greeted by yawns, the Emerald Sea team leaders weren't ruffled at all—lack of drama is part of the plan. Google has consciously refrained from contextualizing those products into its overall strategy.

That will begin now, with the announcement of the two centerpieces of Google+. But even this moment—revealed in a blog post that marks the first limited "field tests" outside the company—will be muted, because it marks just one more milestone in a long tough slog to remake Google into something more "people centric."

"We're transforming Google itself into a social destination at a level and scale that we've never attempted—orders of magnitude more investment in terms of people than any previous project," says Vic Gundotra, who leads Google's social efforts.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:10 PM on December 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


For a game-changing product, there doesn't seem to be a lot of substance to it. (In inept but memorable language, "there's no there there".) It's one page that you look at, and all my friends use it for is linking YouTube videos. I assume 99% of humanity doesn't see anything at all on it.
posted by shii at 8:13 PM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stavros... scary stuff, eh?

On a scale of 1-10, how much influence/power does Google have right now in the digital world?
posted by tomswift at 8:15 PM on December 11, 2011


Hmmm so anyone care to speculate on how the self-driving car will become a feature of G+?
posted by indubitable at 8:15 PM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


It makes sense in terms of the patterns and substance of human language. The idea of a unified Google product is analogous to a grammar that all humans share. Perhaps Google is just a "language golem" powered by the aggregate of trivial dynamics in human relations. ... In the Google-era, political expression is an Energy Landscape
.... What?
In mathematical terms, an energy landscape can be defined as a pair (X, f) consisting of a topological space X representing the physical states or parameters of a system together with a continuous function f: X → Rn representing the energies associated to these states or parameters such that the image of f represents a hypersurface in Rn.

The term is useful when examining protein folding; while a protein can theoretically exist in a nearly infinite number of conformations along its energy landscape, in reality proteins fold (or "relax") into secondary and tertiary structures that possess the lowest possible free energy. The key concept in the energy landscape approach to protein folding is the folding funnel hypothesis.
.... What?
posted by delmoi at 8:16 PM on December 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


What's with all the G+ trashing here? The complaints seem pretty emperors new clothes-y to me.

I hate Facebook as much as the next person but I actually have reasons, can anyone explain their reasons for loathing G+? Even if you don't use the social aspect of G+ (and I mostly don't) the idea of a common portal tying all the various Google services I use together seems like a pretty good thing to me. As a user of Chrome and with a Nexus phone I am really sold on how Google is helping me organize my life.

Wow, this is the most fanboy post I have ever made.
posted by Cosine at 8:17 PM on December 11, 2011 [12 favorites]


haha, I still have the old gmail UI.

Not for long.
posted by vidur at 8:18 PM on December 11, 2011


Will G+ become Google's only product?

Google only has one product: AdWords. Everything else is a loss leader ad targeting and delivery system.
posted by ceribus peribus at 8:19 PM on December 11, 2011 [52 favorites]


It's really a shame they went with "+1" (a completely awkward "verb" unlikely to enter the lexicon) instead of the much more obvious "plus". As obnoxious and marketingy as it seems, I could easily imagine people "plussing" a page if G+ became sufficiently popular.

In any event, I think G+ will become Google's "only" product in the same way that spines are vertebrates' only distinguishing features. If they don't lose interest within the next five months then it will probably become the backbone of most or all of Google's public products... but that doesn't mean it encompasses everything they do, just as "some things have a spine" isn't the most meaningful statement about terrestrial ecology.
posted by Riki tiki at 8:20 PM on December 11, 2011


The person writing that Computerworld article is too sure of themselves by half. It's a conversation starter but I don't think the opinions expressed in there are bankable.

I am resisting the assimilation, although, yes, it may become inevitable. I will look for different products if there is any tighter integration of (hated) G+ and email/rss at any rate.
posted by peacay at 8:20 PM on December 11, 2011


I hate Facebook as much as the next person but I actually have reasons, can anyone explain their reasons for loathing G+?

1) As a standalone product, it's pretty lame. It offers some features that Facebook doesn't, like hangouts, but aside from Circles I have no interest in any of them. Functionally it's turned out to be Facebook minus the games (which I also don't care about), most of the people and the ability to post on walls.

2) I don't like when a company tries to force me to use a product I don't want in order to get at one I do.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:20 PM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


If G+ doesn't have Farmville the'll never beat Facebook.
posted by Jumpin Jack Flash at 8:20 PM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Google only has one product: AdWords."

OK, I thought about that for a minute...and I can't remember the last time I saw/read/paid attention to an ad on a google related page. I either have some fantastic scripts installed, or have developed the ability to blow them off.
posted by tomswift at 8:21 PM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


If Google keeps pushing Google+ to the point that I can't use any of their non-search services without using it, I will just stop using Google for anything other than search.
posted by hippybear at 8:21 PM on December 11, 2011


This is a terrible idea that will destroy Google. (Which is to say: Yes, please.)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:23 PM on December 11, 2011


I can't remember the last time I saw/read/paid attention to an ad on a google related page.

You may be an outlier (and my experience is the same as yours), but there are obviously plenty of people seeing and clicking those ads.
posted by vidur at 8:23 PM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe I'm in the minority, but despite using numerous Google products daily-- especially search engine and Reader-- I'm barely even cognizant of the existence of the +1s. Sure, they flicker somewhere on the edge of my attention, but I have honestly no idea what they're for or what they do, and I am no more likely to click on one than I am a banner ad.
posted by threeants at 8:24 PM on December 11, 2011


I suspect I will be forced into it some way, at some point, but I'll be damned if I ever "+1" anything in my life. At least "Like" is a word human beings used, not some boardroom-birthed bullshit.

Nthing this remark.
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:24 PM on December 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


If Google tries to force me to use g-mail from inside Google+, I'm quite likely to simply find another e-mail service.

Me too because that means they turned off IMAP. The only time I got to gmail's web view is when I need to jack with the settings. Oh, and send an email to the last person on earth whose Exchange server is still set up that can't open Mac attachments.

But yeah, I believe months ago that Google itself it said it would integrate the shit out of G+ within other google properties. Google wants to be your one stop shop for everything from social to search to mail. Facebook wants to be that too.

I've been nurturing a pet theory that Google+ could eventually beat Facebook, if only Google had the patience to wait Facebook out for five years or so, quietly adding and improving their service all the while.

I do think that in 5 years Facebook will be like MySpace today. Or like AOL was. If there's anything about the social interwebs of the 21st century is nothing lasts forever. Either Google will when by waiting it out. Or something will show up that makes them both answers to "has been web properties" on trivia night.
posted by birdherder at 8:25 PM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I suspect I will be forced into it some way, at some point, but I'll be damned if I ever "+1" anything in my life. At least "Like" is a word human beings used, not some boardroom-birthed bullshit.

Nthing this remark.


Did you mean "+1ing this remark"?
posted by vidur at 8:25 PM on December 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


At least "Like" is a word human beings used,

FB Wall Post: My mom has cancer.
23 people like this.

G+ Post: My mom has cancer.
+23
posted by birdherder at 8:27 PM on December 11, 2011 [22 favorites]


delmoi, a practical example of an energy landscape is A/B testing in online marketing. The "funnel" in this case is a conversion. In a political sense you can think of a "conversion" as a vote or, abstractly, the conformal systems of power that drive decision-making.

The point is that the entire society is developing a statistical awareness of itself, tracing the contours and features of the landscape only in order to manipulate it. Adwords are just one expression of this mindless analytical mode and Google's ambitions are far greater. The more we use their services, the more they learn about us, the larger the golem becomes.
posted by kuatto at 8:29 PM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


It sometimes seems that way, but it definitely seems like they're rushing things faster than they should. They shut down Greader sharing, before they actually had integrated G+ sharing. And when they did, it was broken as hell, it took another week or two before that sharing actually worked, and even now it's not nearly as rich, or works as it obviously should. And don't get me starting on the mobile sharing platform, which is so patently stupid I've largely stopped using it.

I get that new features never work the way that I want them too, and that the ultimate testing audience is the public, at least for a product like a social network. But there are so many obvious mistakes in the product, or things that I hope are mistakes (as opposed to purposeful things designed to get us to share things we don't want, etc), that it just feels like the work of a much lesser company.

For instance, there is no way for me to hide someone from my default G+ feed. Oh sure, I could block them or not add them in the first place. But something that Facebook understood early on was that I might want to or have to be connected to someone on their software, but I didn't want to have to see the inane shit that they posted. On Facebook, I can hide them from my feed. On G+, I have to put them into a separate circle, and then create a feed for the circle that does not include them. Which is a clumsy, stupid way to do it, and is still not my default feed. Google understands that I might want to only share to a specific group of people, but they don't seem to get that I might only want to receive from a separate group of people.

The other thing that G+ fails out in a massive way is groups and events. Circles are not groups, no matter what they say. Groups, before they were incredibly nerfed by Facebook and sort of subsumed into pages, was a standalone unit, something that existed outside of any single user, that people could join. I can create a circle for my boardgaming group, but I can only share to that, other people cannot join. I can create a page, but that's a clusterfuck and a half. And I want to be able to create events through that group.

You'd think it would be easy, after all integrating with Gcal should be an obvious step, what with all the good calendar and scheduling tools. But nope, it's just a big blank void. These things seem obvious to me, and to my friends, why isn't obvious to anyone else over at Google? That's a product that I'd use, that would be a whole bunch of eyes for you to capture.
posted by X-Himy at 8:30 PM on December 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


Funny, I received a notification a few weeks back that Google Wave is being sunsetted and the first thought I had is when I would get the same notification for Google+ (which is basically Wave made to look a little like Facebook). I signed up for Google+, found it pretty useless, read about all the privacy concerns and deletions, and closed up my account a few weeks later. It seems that many of the the other gazillion people who signed up didn't close their accounts but aren't bothering to use them either.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 8:30 PM on December 11, 2011


[23 favorites +]
posted by vidur at 8:30 PM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cosine: "can anyone explain their reasons for loathing G+?"

I think a lot of the backlash is related to the fact that Google added G+ to their services alongside significant and controversial UI redesigns. It fed right into many critics' "YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED" fears, and those critics reinforced normal users' annoyance at having to adjust to an unfamiliar interface.

Frankly, I think they did just fine a year or so ago when they added an autohiding bar to the top of most pages. It was useful, yet allowed every service to retain its own personality; a good approach since each service's interface had evolved according to the needs of its user base.

Disclaimer: I might just be bitter about the scrollbar changes. I'm not using a tablet. I'm using a computer. I don't need you to hide the scrollbar or reduce it to a minimalist grey square. I want to know where I am on the page, I want to know how large the current viewport is in comparison to the page, and I want to see that without having to actively hover my mouse over it. Fire the Eurotrash designers who told you that whitespace is king. You're in America, dammit, and in a democracy the users are the kings.

NOT EURO-IST
posted by Riki tiki at 8:31 PM on December 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


Google Search: Users found this product confusing. As part of our Spring Cleaning, Search will be replaced by Google+ Keywords, as well as a curated directory of Top Sites.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:37 PM on December 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


"the idea of a common portal tying all the various Google services I use together seems like a pretty good thing to me."

It sounds a lot like AOL to me.
posted by oddman at 8:40 PM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I suspect I will be forced into it some way, at some point, but I'll be damned if I ever "+1" anything in my life. At least "Like" is a word human beings used, not some boardroom-birthed bullshit.

As with many things Google, there's actually a nerdy basis for this. I believe it actually has its origins in decision-making for the Apache Software Foundation.
posted by Slothrup at 8:46 PM on December 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


+1, Slothrup.
posted by telegraph at 8:48 PM on December 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't understand how Google massively failed to understand the relationship between facebook's launch and it's subsequent growth.

facebook launches at harvard -> grows to 95% social network coverage on Harvard campus

facebook extends to elite colleges, since harvard students know people who aren't at harvard -> grows to 95% social network coverage on elite colleges

facebook extends to all colleges, since elite college students know people at non-elite colleges -> grows to 95% social network coverage on non-elite colleges

these college students graduate, and facebook adds all of their moms, dads, etc.

Compare to:

google plus launches for everyone, everywhere -> gets about 10% coverage (highly optimistic), noone cares.

Maybe google tried to replicate this by launching on it's internal network first, but that implementation seems like a half-assed version of facebook's steady accumulation of entire segmented social networks (college after college).

it's like noone wants to pay attention to how the social networking success story actually grew, and instead wants to pretend that their product is so good that it will instantly reach critical mass at scale.

PATH DEPENDENCE PEOPLE
posted by The Ted at 8:49 PM on December 11, 2011 [28 favorites]


It's probably worth pointing out that, with all of these cloud services, you are subject to the whims of your new corporate overlord, in much the same way as you are with Steam or the various other 'services' you can subscribe to.

The thing about services, as opposed to products, is that the company providing the service can change the terms of the deal anytime it wants, no matter how much it hurts you. They are not obligated in any way to continue providing a service to you that you have come to depend on, or they can attach extremely onerous restrictions to your continued use of that service. They can change the terms of the deal, and your sole remedy is praying they don't change it any further.

As has been pointed out, now, many times, with these 'free' services, you're not the customer. You are the product. You have more control when you're buying a product, instead of using a service and BECOMING a product.

At the very least, I recommend in the strongest possible terms: spread your eggs among multiple baskets. Make absolutely certain that any data you care about is not in the sole custody of anyone, probably including yourself.

And be aware that any data that goes into the cloud is not private, no matter what the company says, and no matter what technical measures they claim to employ. If you put it out on the Net on a machine you don't directly control, assume it will be snooped on. It's possible this may not happen, but if you proceed under that assumption, and some horrible security breach happens, or some government goes rogue and demands all the unencrypted data, then you shouldn't be hurt much at all, because you haven't (knowingly) put any data out there that can really cause you grief.

Don't treat the Net like a hard drive -- or if you do, make goddamn sure that the data is encrypted and you're the only one with the keys.
posted by Malor at 8:49 PM on December 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


Hm. Makes sense to me. But what if I don't want all the things I do online integrated into one mega online experience? I already feel weird just having my chat transcripts searchable through Gmail, but that's not even the beginning..
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 8:51 PM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Google only has one product: AdWords."

It has always baffled me that, this being the case, the AdWords interface is so completely terrible. If there's one upside to the G-plussification of everything Google, it's that eventually someone will at least try to cleanup the experience of AdWords (and the Google Books backend. My god, the horror of Books...)
posted by mumkin at 8:52 PM on December 11, 2011


X-Himy: But there are so many obvious mistakes in the product[...] that it just feels like the work of a much lesser company.

Google is not, to my knowledge, really known for making great software. Their sole truly great ability is search, and almost everything else has been so-so. Honestly, I'd say most Microsoft software is substantially better than most Google software.

In their defense, it's much harder to write an app for a browser than for a desktop. There is a LOT more that can go wrong. The software has a lot less control over the system, and there are several flavors of browser, each incompatible in exciting new ways.
posted by Malor at 8:57 PM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


But you'd at least expect their stuff to work well on their own browser.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:59 PM on December 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't understand how Google massively failed to understand the relationship between facebook's launch and it's subsequent growth.

Google doesn't need to grow. It's already a multibillion dollar company. It'll just slowly accumulate users to g+ until it hits critical mass, and then boom.

Though it seems like it's going the opposite direction. I follow about 150 people on it and about 5 of them post anything worthwhile and 4 of those people are only posting animated gifs.
posted by empath at 9:05 PM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Google is not, to my knowledge, really known for making great software.

In what respect? Because the whole company is software. Maybe not software running on desktops, but google isn't made of fairy dust and magic. There is real software running on real servers in the background.
posted by empath at 9:06 PM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Threeway Handshake: "But you'd at least expect their stuff to work well on their own browser."

Can you elaborate? I'm genuinely curious... what works worse in Chrome than in other browsers?
posted by Riki tiki at 9:08 PM on December 11, 2011


The Ted, that was the single pithiest and most accurate explanation for Facebook's success I have ever seen.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 9:08 PM on December 11, 2011


-I follow about 150 people on it and about 5 of them post anything worthwhile-

Yes, that seems like the fault of the platform, the software and the multibillion dollar company behind it.
posted by peacay at 9:08 PM on December 11, 2011


Given that it's their jobs to convince us to post stuff on G+ instead of Facebook or Twitter or whatnot? Yes, it does seem like their fault.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:13 PM on December 11, 2011


"Google only has one product: AdWords."

Well, that and the various products they have that you can pay money to use, like Checkout, Apps, App Engine, Site Search, Commerce Search, Extra storage for your account, Google Mini, and the Translate API. There are probably more. Do you count the Android Market as a product since they take a cut from all sales?

Do they get most of their money from advertising? Sure. But they have a bunch of other products.
posted by markr at 9:16 PM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah, that seems like the basis of a great defence.

"Honey, what could I do? The pub's job was to lure me in and keep me there and I can't be held responsible for the 47 beers that followed."
posted by peacay at 9:18 PM on December 11, 2011


No one likes feeling coerced into using a product. That was obviously a big part of disliking Microsoft, and I think part of the anti-Facebook backlash as well. For a lot of us, having a Facebook account isn't really much of a choice. I mean, I could delete it, but it's kind of like not having a telephone. So Google is leveraging its other popular products like Gmail and Picasa as a Google+ gateway. The big danger for them is that users feel like something they didn't ask for is being forced on them.

There is a lot of activity on Google+ if you go looking. On Facebook, I'm connected with about 200 people, all of whom I know personally. On Google+, I follow over a thousand people, almost none of whom I've ever met. It's a very different type of experience. To me, Google+ feels more like Metafilter than Facebook in that on G+ you're discussing a topic of mutual interest with strangers. Of course, you can't expect the community atmosphere we have here to scale to something like Google.

What I'd love is a unified interface for all of my streams: Google+, Facebook, Twitter and whatever else, all in one place, nicely integrated and sharing across all of them. Google's business model could work in that kind of environment. I'm not sure Facebook's could.
posted by Loudmax at 9:19 PM on December 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


I still have the old Gmail UI, but after watching this it doesn't look that awful. You can adjust the 'density' of the UI in settings, it looks kind of sparse by default but if you crank up the density it looks a lot like old Gmail.
Functionally it's turned out to be Facebook minus the games (which I also don't care about), most of the people and the ability to post on walls.
G+ has games now. They have Cityvile, which is Zynga's more popular game now, as opposed to farmvile.

What they don't have, is a publicly accessible UI. You have to get invited to make a G+ game, which is super-lame, IMO.
delmoi, a practical example of an energy landscape is A/B testing in online marketing. The "funnel" in this case is a conversion. In a political sense you can think of a "conversion" as a vote or, abstractly, the conformal systems of power that drive decision-making.
So you just mean "path of least resistance" but decided use some really obscure mathematical terminology? An energy landscape, according to wikipedia involves a multivariate function associated with a topological space, whereas you're talking about something as simple as Hill Climbing, or linear optimization or whatever. Just one output function. The energy landscape thing seems to deal with energy in multiple parameters, not just one. It sounds like, from what I'm reading that when you're working with protein folding you have a situation where in order to properly fold portions need to fall down a 'funnel' from higher energy to lower energy. If a protein didn't have a funnel it wouldn't have a stable shape, and wouldn't have evolved.

But that doesn't mean all "energy landscapes" have funnels in them, like any other optimization, you can have local maxima or minima and get stock in those. So if you optimize for conversion rate In other words, you have a site with a good conversion rate, and any changes reduce that conversion rate. But it could be that some other major redesign could blow everything out of the water in terms of conversion rates.

So basically what I'm saying is that the mathematical metaphor you chose is more complex then the thing you're trying to describe, (Also conversion wouldn't be the 'funnel' but rather the function.) Also it doesn't work properly because you have a self-referencing system. The shape of proteins don't change the laws of physics, but what google does change society. This is even more true in politics.
posted by delmoi at 9:22 PM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


They're selling a social experience. Their entire goal is to convince people to populate the site to the point where the activity draws new users in - that's the whole "critical mass" idea. You think if G+ never hits that mass, the people who run Google will come to the G+ team and say "oh well, you guys did everything right, but it looks like the users just weren't feeling it - what can you do?" Or will it be more of a "clean out your desks" sort of talk?

Note that "convince us to post stuff on G+" includes making that service materially better than its competitors. I'm not just talking about advertising here.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:26 PM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, that seems like the fault of the platform, the software and the multibillion dollar company behind it.

These are people that I also follow on facebook, twitter, etc, where they still post a lot. Pretty much the only content I get on g+ is from people that cross post.
posted by empath at 9:29 PM on December 11, 2011


G+ is nothing like Facebook in my experience. I know exactly one person IRL that actually posts on G+. It's basically a glorified MetaFilter for me. I quit FB a few weeks ago, but one advantage it did have is that I was pretty particular about who I friended, so I didn't worry about checking my privacy settings with every status update I made. I tend to be much more reticent to post personal or controversial things on G+ because I can't remember who I've added to my circles. They really, really need an easy way to distinguish "people I follow" from "people I want to share stuff with." Just because I want to see your cat pictures doesn't mean I want to tell you about my latest trip to the doctor, and I have to think about who's in what circles every time I post.
posted by desjardins at 9:31 PM on December 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Alls I knows is, I wish everyone (almost all of my *local* clients prefer using Skype over an actual phone, for some strange reason) for would just use Google Talk instead of Skype. It works so much better.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:40 PM on December 11, 2011


The reason Adwords makes money is because their competition (mass media) is hopelessly inept in the modern world.

Facebook's strat has always been about the exploitation of personal information.

Can google really pull this off without being evil? Perhaps, times change and people change and there is a legion of kids growing up whose only experience is online media.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 9:45 PM on December 11, 2011


God, I hope not. Just last week I discovered that if you have a G+ account, your "Photos" nav link no longer goes to Picasaweb but to "Google Photos". Which is great if you want to share all your tags and notify everyone you're labeling in your photos or do all the other completely useless bullshit that Facebook lets you do, but if you want to do something, you know, photo related like play a slideshow or order prints, whoops, you're SOL.

Apparently, this happened months ago, but I didn't notice because I always use the picasaweb.google.com url directly. Oddly enough, just days after I noticed this I got an email from a family member who had just discovered that Picasaweb had "disappeared" and been replaced with something completely useless.

Once I started looking into migrating my several GB of photos onto some other service I quickly discovered that you can still use the old url, and if you delete your G+ account you even get it back in your navigation.

Which is what I'll probably do. So kudos, Google. You made me choose between what you think is hot shit and what I actually use. My choice: I hope your hot shit dies in a fire so it can never touch my stuff again.
posted by bjrubble at 9:47 PM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey can I just complain about how basic functionality in existing Google products seems to have seriously fallen lately? I'm not talking design changes. I've been noticing lots of messages getting dropped over Google Talk/Chat ... last time I tried to use the Google Voice app with my Blackberry it was pretty useless... and Gmail/Reader/Maps/everything take waaaayyy longer to load... half the 'support' pages are useless.. and overall it's just kind of making me unhappy, to see Google get excited over all these cute new features when I feel like the basic experience is lacking.

Okay thanks for letting me rant.

Features are nice, but they're not gonna keep me from leaving if the basics turn to crap. Sigh
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 9:56 PM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


(and the Google Books backend. My god, the horror of Books...)

Books is bad, but really, pretty much everything about Google is a godawful shambles, even on the front-end.

Take YouTube. When they shifted to HD, they left it so that if you played a video that was uploaded before the shift to HD, it'd be all stretched out and shitty-looking. This would be trivial to fix. They have not fixed it. The problem is compounded by videos that are uploaded in the wrong aspect ratio. Again, trivial: Put an aspect ratio selector on the player. But no, their is for the uploader to add special tags to the video, which is basically the worst possible solution. And that's just one of many, many, many problems with YouTube.

And, as I mentioned in another thread the other day, they even managed to break their plain old Google search -- which was as close to perfect as could be hoped -- by taking your search terms and deciding that your choice of verb conjugation isn't important, and that all uncommon searches must surely contain misspellings that need auto-correcting before the results are shown, and then, just for the hell of it, throwing in a bunch of stuff that's sort of like your search terms. Now the results are often inaccurate and/or just plain wrong.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:58 PM on December 11, 2011 [12 favorites]


They really, really need an easy way to distinguish "people I follow" from "people I want to share stuff with."
Uh, you mean like circles? Which are the entire basis of the system?
And, as I mentioned in another thread the other day, they even managed to break their plain old Google search -- which was as close to perfect as could be hoped -- by taking your search terms and deciding that your choice of verb conjugation isn't important, and that all uncommon searches must surely contain misspellings that need auto-correcting before the results are shown, and then, just for the hell of it, throwing in a bunch of stuff that's sort of like your search terms. Now the results are often inaccurate and/or just plain wrong.
Why don't you use verbatam search. The substitutions they're doing are probably helpful for most people. And if you want an exact match, you can put it in quotes.
posted by delmoi at 10:07 PM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Uh, you mean like circles? Which are the entire basis of the system?

If you have people in any circle, then they are in your default 'reading list'. Which lead me to uncircle a lot of people that post way too often or post too many self promotional posts. There's a dozen or so mefites in that category that are following me, but who I am not following. They won't see anything from me except my public posts, and I won't see anything from them. I'd like to be able to create a default reading list where I can exclude those people without having to uncircle them entirely. And no, creating yet another circle that i need to click on when i go to google plus to filter out all the terrible posters is not a solution.

Why don't you use verbatam search. The substitutions they're doing are probably helpful for most people. And if you want an exact match, you can put it in quotes.

I do these things, but I didn't used to have to. I also used the + operator when I was looking up error messages with weird spellings or abbreviations, and I can't do that any more, either.

If someone came up with a search engine that has a simple search box and no social crap and searches for the words I'm searching for and nothing else, I would switch to it tomorrow.

Google is turning into Yahoo, and it's really disappointing to watch.
posted by empath at 10:16 PM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but, see, no. Why should I have to jump through hoops to find "what I really want"? I should be getting that by default when I type it into the fucking box, 'cause, like, that's why I did that. I don't mind a helpful "were you looking for [correct spelling]", but retooling a search without my input is not helpful at all, ever, and is insulting to boot.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:17 PM on December 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


If someone came up with a search engine that has a simple search box and no social crap and searches for the words I'm searching for and nothing else, I would switch to it tomorrow.

DuckDuckGo works pretty well.
posted by Wolof at 10:20 PM on December 11, 2011 [15 favorites]


If you have people in any circle, then they are in your default 'reading list'. Which lead me to uncircle a lot of people that post way too often or post too many self promotional posts.
That is annoying. There should be a way to take people, or circles out of your newsfeed. But that doesn't sound like what desjardins was talking about:
I didn't worry about checking my privacy settings with every status update I made. I tend to be much more reticent to post personal or controversial things on G+ because I can't remember who I've added to my circles.
People can be in multiple circles so you can add everyone who you want to be able to see your posts to it and leave them in other circles. That's different from the "I want to share stuff with people but I don't want to hear all their crap." problem.
posted by delmoi at 10:26 PM on December 11, 2011


Google+ will be Google's Waterloo albatross Internet Explorer.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:27 PM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


The + tells me that Google is the new Jesus.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:34 PM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've used DuckDuckGo as my default search engine since I heard about it a few weeks ago.

The results I get on its queries are often of better quality than Google's but so far it clearly has a narrower index and as far as I know it also doesn't have special blog-, news- and discussion searches I like to use on Google.

DDG does makes it very easy to repeat your search on Google, though.
posted by Anything at 10:38 PM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


So you just mean "path of least resistance" but decided use some really obscure mathematical terminology? An energy landscape, according to wikipedia involves a multivariate function associated with a topological space, whereas you're talking about something as simple as Hill Climbing, or linear optimization or whatever.

The example I gave was just so you could grok it. I think the definition involving abstract spaces and energy functions is more appropriate.
posted by kuatto at 10:42 PM on December 11, 2011


I read this interview with Google exec. Eric Schmidt earlier; the ending is a little ominous, or at least, unusually frank.

[...]
Slate.fr: Why would Google+ succeed where Wave and Buzz didn’t?

Schmidt: Well these things are hard to do. I want to say that what Facebook has done is very difficult to do and they should be given credit for that.

It’s hard to get the privacy right, it’s hard to get the scale right, it’s hard to get people to spend time on it and so forth. In Wave, the product simply didn’t work, from the moment we announced Wave, its adoption declined. In Buzz, we had problems with privacy because it was centered on email, and we made some mistakes there. So we canceled them both.

With Google + we learned from those two experiences. I use Google+, and I find the quality of the comments are very sophisticated because there is more trust inside of Google+ than there is inside of Twitter and Facebook for example.

Slate.fr: Would you consider not pursuing the social network if this doesn’t work?

Schmidt: We need the information about yourself and your friends to make our products work better so we will always, I think, have something like that.
(emphasis added)
posted by Rumple at 10:43 PM on December 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


This concept of "when a product becomes a feature, its over" sounds good at first reading and the article linked to in the FPP makes a strong case for it. I'm sure that even VCs, as per the author, evaluate this aspect critically. However, I have a few bones to pick with it.

- Sales of cameras will plateau and decline as more and more 'phones'/handheld devices build in great cameras... really? This may indeed be true for the "oh by the way" crowd or the mass majority (and I'm trying not to let this turn into a rant since I've been looking around for a camera ever since my workhorse died in the field last month) - that is, the mass majority. But there will still be a market for a good camera, just probably not gazillions of people.

- Using a number of examples of where products became features - zip file compression for eg now being part of Windows - the author then goes on to extrapolate this into Google's future.

That is, search is now a feature, so its future as an independent platform is dead - now lets build a platform around which search becomes a feature, as do all these other functional tasks we wish to do.

Just like the camera example - sure for the masses and masses who search for URLs or single words in their browser bar, search is a feature.

But does this a) hold true for email, Reader, Photos, Video et al (I mean really boys, this is not a mathematical algorithm here) ?

and b) is this so called feature embedding path necessarily the right way to go?

tl;dr - the online world began as the output of geeks, nerds, scientists, Ivy league dropouts (both Goog and FB) as tools for people to use for their work. Its jumped the chasm now and the late majority are online. Therefore there's a redesign focused on the needs and behaviour of the lowest common denominator (the iPad to take kindergarten graduation photos as one eg of what's happening)

But what happens to all of us who want a camera that works and does its job without the dumbing down?

Are we so much of a minority or is there an opportunity for new startups?

/loses point in rambling rant
posted by infini at 11:05 PM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


"If you have people in any circle, then they are in your default 'reading list'."

If you're using Chrome the Plus Minus extension is a pretty good solution to that. It basically adds little checkboxes beside all your circles to add or remove them from your main feed.

I use a "Following" circle to follow people in my industry I'm interested in, but use that to filter them out of my main feed.
posted by markr at 11:09 PM on December 11, 2011


And, as I mentioned in another thread the other day, they even managed to break their plain old Google search -- which was as close to perfect as could be hoped -- by taking your search terms and deciding that your choice of verb conjugation isn't important, and that all uncommon searches must surely contain misspellings that need auto-correcting before the results are shown, and then, just for the hell of it, throwing in a bunch of stuff that's sort of like your search terms. Now the results are often inaccurate and/or just plain wrong.

My theory is that the average person, when they search for something that could be interpreted as a correct spelling of something obscure or an incorrect spelling of something common, is searching for the common thing.

But you'd think that google would know I'm not the average user and I probably mean what I typed. They know so much else about me.
posted by madcaptenor at 11:20 PM on December 11, 2011


/loses point in rambling rant

What I think is missing is the fact that all of the functions of a portable device, whether photography, telephony, data access, whatever, are all features of the small computer in your pocket.

All of them have different physical ideals, though. But there really isn't a reason you couldn't take an excellent pocket camera like the S100 and add a simple phone to it (obviously not without some engineering, but allow me the conceit). This would allow people to shop for the form factor most useful to them (full-featured camera which also allows me to make and receive calls, or tiny phone which allows quickie snapshots, or just-barely pocket sized data browser which can also take calls, or whatever) while still being able to only carry one device.
posted by maxwelton at 11:50 PM on December 11, 2011


The example I gave was just so you could grok it. I think the definition involving abstract spaces and energy functions is more appropriate.

The point is, there are lots of simpler, more common mathematical representations of what you're talking about, while energy space is kind of obscure and probably not what you actually meant.
posted by delmoi at 12:44 AM on December 12, 2011


Whether you think it's evil or not, Google cannot survive if it does not do this.

Facebook has a massive user base. When someone messages someone on Facebook, they are not sending an email on Gmail. When people decide to be friends on Facebook, they did not add each other to their Gmail address book. If they post video to Facebook, they are not doing it on YouTube.

If someone's video chatting on Facebook, they are using Microsoft (Skype). If they are using Facebook's map features or timeline, they are using Microsoft (bing). If someone clicks on an advertisement in Facebook, they are using Microsoft's ad platform.

The more that Facebook and Microsoft integrate their products (and there are a lot of them), the more that their users will be bypassing Google, just out of convenience.
posted by romanb at 1:04 AM on December 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Count me as another one who can't believe there's still no Google Calendar event management stuff in G+. You know what's convinced a whole lot of Facebook-resistant people to create an account?

Access to event invites.

I've watched this process happen to at least 4 people I know of. They don't want to use facebook, but they make a fake account just to get access to events, then they start using the chat or commenting on something and kapow, they're a facebook user.
posted by xiw at 1:37 AM on December 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


G+ seems to be having a censorship issue showing that it is not quite as all inclusive as it pretends to be. See also.
posted by adamvasco at 1:37 AM on December 12, 2011


I think it's kinda funny that the 'occupygpluscensorship' (whatever that's supposed to mean) blog is on Blogspot, owned by Google. What I'm not sure about is if it's deliberately funny or not.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:02 AM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Btw, on a side note, this duckduckgo that folks are talking and recommending - it just cleans out the tracking but the results are still weird - what is Bing's algorithm or logic behind search results?
posted by infini at 2:29 AM on December 12, 2011


And furthermore (back on topic) even if Google has no way to go but dumbth down


/suddenly realizes what it means to become a minority outlier in the user profile stakes for huge design changes. Contemplates future. Considers options. Weeps and gnashes teeth.
posted by infini at 2:34 AM on December 12, 2011


Will G+ become Google's only product?

No.
posted by zippy at 2:43 AM on December 12, 2011


adamvasco: "See also."

Okay, so I'm very sympathetic to the idea that Google shouldn't be censoring artistic nudity. But that link basically says "Google censored a piece from an artist that the NAZIS hated... is Google agreeing with the NAZIS?!?!"

That's pretty much as Godwinned as you can get, and it doesn't add anything useful to a complex debate (and it is a complex debate, because Google opens itself up to a lot of headaches if they get into the business of measuring the arty-ness of people's photos).
posted by Riki tiki at 2:58 AM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am really sold on how Google is helping me

Heh, You said "sold."
posted by spitbull at 3:24 AM on December 12, 2011


I always knew we'd eventually get an invoice for all this "free" Google stuff. Maybe their business model will be to get people to pay to scrape the barnacles off the bottom of the boat?
posted by chavenet at 3:41 AM on December 12, 2011


I'd somewhat inured to the privacy issues surrounding FB, Google, Twitter, et al.

However when I moved to a different country, Google started localizing me - for everything. For some services like search it's extremely cumbersome to turn it off (and I still haven't found a way to do it with Safari, although you can in Chrome and FF).

So from my perspective at present, the problem isn't that these companies know so much about as it is that the might get it wrong for all to see.
posted by digitalprimate at 4:21 AM on December 12, 2011


Maybe their business model will be to get people to pay to scrape the barnacles off the bottom of the boat?
This one (Eric Schmidt) or this one (Larry Page) ?
posted by adamvasco at 4:39 AM on December 12, 2011


In terms of useful content on G+, I've actually been pretty happy. None of the people in my immediate social group were all that fond of FB, so when G+ came out I made the switch and annoyed everyone into switching over. As it is, G+ is full of the people I want to share with and interact with on a daily basis, while FB is full of all the people I should be friends with, or was friends with but don't defriend for whatever reason. I'd close my FB account, or at least consider it, if it were not for groups and events, and the fact that I run my boardgame group out of FB.

So I use G+ to share interesting things with my friends, and they with me. I appreciate the sharing granularity of the circles, and I've made all of my circles completely opt-in. Every couple of months I just put out a public post and say "up to you". So the G+ functionality as I want to use it is not terrible. Sharing from greader is still a mess, and still not what it should be. I like being able to share directly to G+ from greader, but not at the cost of being able to share and read inline.

So for me, unlike others in this thread, my issue with G+ is not lack of content; I have a few dozen friends that are posting interesting stuff all day. Instead, it's all the obvious bugs and misdesigns that make me think that people at google are not following one of the important rules of software design and eating their own dogfood.
posted by X-Himy at 4:51 AM on December 12, 2011


g+'s anti-pseudonym stance is pretty rank and vile

also can we stop fucking using "godwin" as a thing, i am sick of it
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:20 AM on December 12, 2011


there were no ads, they made it worth switching from Yahoo

Yahoo! had already outsourced its search to Google the day Yahoo! started using pop up/pop under ads.

That was the day I said "why not just use Google instead?". And I didn't go back to Yahoo! for years after that.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:21 AM on December 12, 2011


No one likes feeling coerced into using a product. That was obviously a big part of disliking Microsoft,

If one goes with "all software is broken" with open source you can fix it yourself or pay someone else to fix it. At least you didn't pay good money for the broken software.

With Microsoft, not only could you NOT fix it, but you paid cash money for broken software that won't get fixed or even gets cancelled so the utility you built on top of their product has to be rebuilt on the new platform. And at one point the Microsoft licence said If Microsoft gets named in a lawsuit over your product built on the Microsoft platform - you agree to pay Microsoft's legal bill.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:31 AM on December 12, 2011


g+'s anti-pseudonym stance is pretty rank and vile

This battle is won, you know. You can create a page that can leave comments, talk to people on IM, and do so all in the name of that page with no visible links back to the author. If you're really concerned about Google knowing the link you can create a g+ account in a false name, lock that all off as private (nobody will complain about the name when nobody can see the account) and then have that make a page.
posted by jaduncan at 5:37 AM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Schmidt: Well these things are hard to do. I want to say that what Facebook has done is very difficult to do and they should be given credit for that.
It’s hard to get the privacy right,


Not all that hard Mr. Schmidt.

"They trust me — dumb fucks," - Mark Zuckerberg (Mr. Zuckerberg was discussing people's passwords and the privacy of passwords.)

Having a functional moral compass means you don't use passwords on a system you control to access accounts on other systems and is a foundational part of your end user privacy.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:41 AM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hate Facebook as much as the next person but I actually have reasons, can anyone explain their reasons for loathing G+?

Maybe I'm just more private than most, or my experience with the paranoia of being in the closet has made me hypersensitive, but personally I am deeply uncomfortable with the idea of my search patterns being connected to my social network. Frankly it creeps me out to think about the profiling Google could probably already create about me if they wanted to. Their servers are an authoritarian government's wet dream, and whereas Facebook's privacy issues are quite visible, Google's are IMO much more insidious.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:04 AM on December 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


@jaduncan

if things are better, then cool
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 6:10 AM on December 12, 2011


Well, G+ is turning out to be the "platform" as per that recent rant. Stands to reason.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:13 AM on December 12, 2011


personally I am deeply uncomfortable with the idea of my search patterns being connected to my social network…and whereas Facebook's privacy issues are quite visible, Google's are IMO much more insidious.

Research tells us that 90% of people seek advice from family and friends as part of the decision making process. This “Friend Effect” is apparent in most of our decisions and often outweighs other facts because people feel more confident, smarter and safer with the wisdom of their trusted circle...Today, Bing is bringing the collective IQ of the Web together with the opinions of the people you trust most, to bring the “Friend Effect” to search.
posted by romanb at 6:27 AM on December 12, 2011


Further down from the same Bing blog post: Bing and Facebook are making a bet – one that will marry the logic of search, with the recommendations and opinions of your social network and the masses – to extend search beyond just fact-based decision making, to decisions that are made with the power of people AND search.

And they are probably right in their 'bet', and I don't mean morally. In many areas people seem to prefer collaboration, convenience and publicity over anonymity and privacy. There are some natural contradictions there that make it rather impossible to have everything at once. On the other hand, maybe that website just doesn't get listed in the search results.
posted by romanb at 7:09 AM on December 12, 2011


Well, Google, it's working, this PR campaign. I just closed my Google+ account, and finally downloaded and deleted all my Gmail, which I hadn't done since last spring. And I switched my primary search engine to DuckDuckGo.
posted by spitbull at 7:31 AM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like G+. I've already made a lot of friends with it, and had some interesting conversations, and it's gotten me the incentive to write on a regular schedule. I think it's a pretty neat site. It's too bad that it has apparently disappointed some people. I hope no one is actually as bitter as some are coming across in here.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:44 AM on December 12, 2011


Well, Google, it's working, this PR campaign. I just closed my Google+ account, and finally downloaded and deleted all my Gmail, which I hadn't done since last spring. And I switched my primary search engine to DuckDuckGo.
posted by spitbull at 7:31 AM on December 12 [+] [!]


I did the same thing i did to hotmail ten or twelve or fifteen years ago, I turned my gmail account into the my website-signup and junk account. I'm running DuckDuckGo, with no major complaints, but sometimes I still run to Google if I can't find anything, they don't return quite the same results.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:46 AM on December 12, 2011


I hope no one is actually as bitter as some are coming across in here.

I'm mostly bitter because while the social stuff is a fun distraction, I depend on Google searches to do my actual job, and the changes they're making to the search engine keeping making that more and more difficult. They're throwing more and more useless crap on the page every day, changing basic functionality, removing features. It's irritating.
posted by empath at 7:47 AM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Entertainingly, I logged into hotmail for the first time in a decade the other day because apparently you need some kind of microsoft account to get into XBox Live? Then, buried under advertising, fees, and a maze of bizarre GUI options I realized why I stopped using MS crap a decade ago.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:47 AM on December 12, 2011


For those wondering wtf DuckDuckGo is all about: Don't Bubble Us, Don't Track Us.

I've switched to DuckDuckGo as well. I miss a few Google-y things (e.g., being able to immediately post your search to images.google or shopping.google or news.google), but mostly I haven't skipped a beat. DuckDuckGo has some nice keyboard shortcut power features as well.
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:49 AM on December 12, 2011



I've switched to DuckDuckGo as well. I miss a few Google-y things (e.g., being able to immediately post your search to images.google or shopping.google or news.google), but mostly I haven't skipped a beat. DuckDuckGo has some nice keyboard shortcut power features as well.


Just add !gi to your search string to shoot it to google image, or !g for google. I believe !bi is Bing Image if that's your kind of thing.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:51 AM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have no problem with the integration. Integration is what we work on all the time when we do sites for business large, small, and individual. It usually means you don't have to use multiple disparate systems, but it's still not one product, it's just integration. I'm fine with it.

I quite like the newer interfaces as well.

Me too because that means they turned off IMAP.

Why? Can you cite some evidence for this? I can't think of a single reason they'd do this nor how it would benefit them.

Google is not, to my knowledge, really known for making great software. Let's take Maps and all the related Maps applications for example. Sure, at times, there are locations errors but I simply fail to see how Maps isn't great software. But such things are relative of course so it's what is great for you rather than what isn't for others I suppose.
posted by juiceCake at 8:37 AM on December 12, 2011


Can you elaborate? I'm genuinely curious... what works worse in Chrome than in other browsers?

I didn't say that. I was replying to the person who said that "apps" in browsers are beyond app-makers' control; pointing out that it just so happens that the appmaker is also a browser maker.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:42 AM on December 12, 2011


++good.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:18 AM on December 12, 2011


X-Himy: … Instead, it's all the obvious bugs and misdesigns that make me think that people at google are not following one of the important rules of software design and eating their own dogfood.

Not sure how much this generalizes, but I've got a number of friends from college who are now working at Google, and they all seem to be using Google+.
posted by JiBB at 11:59 AM on December 12, 2011


Good, can you tell them to fix the obvious shit? It is nearly 2012, and we as a userbase have a much better idea of what we consider to be the bare minimum basics of a social network. We can certainly be sold on new features, but at the very least include the things that nowadays define social networks.
posted by X-Himy at 1:42 PM on December 12, 2011


Heh funnily enough no one even mentioned Orkut in this thread
posted by Tom-B at 2:07 PM on December 12, 2011


I remember it got big in Brazil, is that still the case? Is it too getting Google+ified?
posted by Anything at 3:09 PM on December 12, 2011


I don't understand all the hate in this thread. Google have created (or bought in) some of the best-of-breed web apps currently available, including Maps, Docs and Gmail, funded primarily by an above-board system of pay-per-click advertising. Google+ may still be a fledgling but is potentially a serious facebook competitor in future, and I welcome this possibility.
posted by cbrody at 4:37 PM on December 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


To me, G+ isn't a Facebook competitor; it's a (much) better and more full-featured Twitter, in that its strength is in discovery rather than just sharing. I have a few complaints about it, but nothing that a decent API wouldn't let me (or someone) work around.

The Picasa integration is icing on the cake.
posted by coolguymichael at 4:45 PM on December 12, 2011


Good, can you tell them to fix the obvious shit? It is nearly 2012...
Uh, what is the obvious shit, if it's so obvious?

They fixed the pseudonym thing so I don't know why people are having such a cow over this.
posted by delmoi at 6:58 PM on December 12, 2011


G+ can not be Google's only product.

You are Google's only product.
posted by Twang at 7:34 PM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


jaduncan writes "This battle is won, you know. You can create a page that can leave comments, talk to people on IM, and do so all in the name of that page with no visible links back to the author. If you're really concerned about Google knowing the link you can create a g+ account in a false name, lock that all off as private (nobody will complain about the name when nobody can see the account) and then have that make a page."

That's great if you want anonymity; It's less great if you want to maintain a handle as a separate thing from your real identity. Something that as far as I know hasn't changed and the nasty gram I got from them last week re my handle would seem to support that.
posted by Mitheral at 8:01 PM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


All of this talk of google products got me thinking about Google Groups, and how they made it terrible and took away the ability to directly add addresses to your mailing list. So I started using GroupSpaces instead, and it's been wonderful.
posted by ropeladder at 8:51 PM on December 12, 2011


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