Not Dead Yet? Google+ Tries Again

Category: Social-Networking

Google still wants to be a social network player, despite the four-year floundering of its mercurial entry, Google+. The latest reincarnation of Google+ is rolling out now. Google is touting it as faster, simpler, and more relevant to what Google+ users have said they want. But that doesn’t mean it’s what normal people want. Find out what's new, and see if it's for you...

The New, Streamlined Google+

The original Google+ tried to roll all Google products - Gmail, YouTube, Hangouts, Picasa, Google News, etc. - into one hub around which users’ lives would revolve. The result was complicated, confusing, and unwieldy. It also alarmed users, many of whom felt Google+ was a corral into which they were being herded for advertisers to pick off at leisure.

Google didn’t help by requiring users to create Google+ accounts in order to comment on YouTube videos, or by automatically creating a Google+ account for every new Gmail address, or by insisting, a’ la Facebook, on “real names” for Google+ profiles.

Those requirement are gone now; pseudonyms are allowed on Google+, and a Google+ account is no longer required to use most Google services. Also gone are YouTube, Hangouts, and Picasa (now Google Photos), although one can still pull content from those services into one’s Google+ posts. The new Google+ is a slimmed-down, standalone product.

The New Google Plus

What’s left are two services: Google+ Communities and Collections. Both are, essentially, message forums; the chief difference is who can start a new topic with a new post. In a Community of, say, “moms who blog,” any member can create a new post (or start a new topic, if you prefer). Only the owner/creator of a Collection can create a new post. Anyone can comment on a post in a Community or Collection.

Well, not just anyone, necessarily. Communities or Collections can be wide-open to the general Google+ public, or restricted by their owner/creators to certain users. The owner/creator of a Community can admit and expel members, delete posts, and appoint moderators to whom these powers can be delegated.

Diving Into Communities and Collections

I was confused initially by the distinctions between Communities and Collections. Here's what you need to keep in mind: In a Community, any member can post a message that kicks off a thread of comments (hopefully). In a Collection, only the owner can post a message but others can comment on it.

That’s the essence of the new Google+. The Help files go into greater detail about how to create posts, control who can see what on your profile page (“newsfeed,” in Facebook parlance), and how you can filter the torrent of posts that might otherwise flood your profile page.

The search box at the top of every Google+ page will help you discover people, Communities, and Collections that match your interests. But until Google+ gains more traction, the results may be disappointing. Even when you find something that looks interesting, it may turn out to be an abandoned page. Google+ is not exactly a “ghost town,” but more like a scattering of survivors surrounded by a sea of zombies. You may do a lot of fruitless clicking before finding an active Community or Collection.

It’s interesting to note that Facebook and Google+ have started from opposite ends of a spectrum and passed each other going in opposite directions. Facebook began as a relatively simple message forum and added features, while Google+ began with every feature and is now streamlining for the sake of simplicity.

If you found Google+ confusing at first, take it for another spin and see if there's a group of like-minded people with whom you can learn and share. Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Not Dead Yet? Google+ Tries Again"

Posted by:

Bob Pratt
02 Dec 2015

"...and more relevant to what Google+ users have said they want. But that doesn’t mean it’s what normal people want."
Well, Bob - that pretty much sums it up for me. For me the whole Google experience is far too complicated, I find myself spending more time trawling around help pages and FAQs than actually getting anything done. It would appear Google will try anything and everything to get me involved in their social networking - my headstone will have the inscription "Good try but no cigar."

Posted by:

02 Dec 2015

This sounds more like a Yahoo group. I was always surprised that Google had nothing like that, but I am guessing now they do. Yahoo Groups are so popular and Yahoo is sometimes so difficult it will be good for them to have some competition.

Posted by:

02 Dec 2015

Thank you for the information. I did not use Google for the same reason you said, you have to open an account..NOT!

Posted by:

02 Dec 2015

I want a good alternative to Facebook!!! I rarely go on FB, due, to all of crap FB does and has on board. I have found that too many people use FB, for a diary. Writing down thoughts and feelings, whenever they occur. I don't care about all that and I personally think, these people are more impressed with themselves than what anyone else might contribute to their page.

I really do miss the AOL Private Rooms, which is about the only thing I miss about AOL. LOL

Good conversation and help could be had, in a Private Room. No one would bother you and it was Ad FREE!!! I think, AOL did the Rooms correctly. There were Private or Open Community Rooms.

Now, if, Google can do that kind of concept, I'm in. The most trouble I would have, is convincing my family and friends to use a room.

Posted by:

02 Dec 2015

I think Facebook does what is does okay. My only complaint, admittedly a huge one, is that I want to see all my friends' posts in the order (or reverse order actually) that they posted them. For private groups Yahoo works okay. Our Tenor Guitar Foundation board has used Google Hangouts a couple of times for board meetings and it worked fine. I don't see any great need to add another alternative to either unless it was vastly superior in some way. As much time as I spend on FB, I certainly don't need more social hangouts.

Posted by:

02 Dec 2015

I think FB is too entrenched now for Google to make any substantial inroads. For me, I have already formed a large circle of FB friends the past 5 years that I don't want to start all over again. Another feature I get into a routine now everyday is to look for new posts from other FB pages I have subscribed to, such as government, academic. medical, financial and technical sites for major breaking news. And for weather and medical emergencies , I can count on FB to contact my family and friends all at once instantly, especially when I am on the road or overseas.
I don't if it's just me, but I don't have any ads on my FB page the past few weeks at all. I used to look at them at the tiny far right column to see if there were any exceptional bargains. I kind of miss them.

Posted by:

Earl Jules
03 Dec 2015

I went over to check out the new Google+ ...

Those looking for a nice alternative to Facebook might have to keep looking. It isn't as friendly or as simple as FB... hovering over buttons doesn't show their purpose; I guess the entire world should be familiar with all versions of Google buttons by now (wink)...

I like the communities functions ... but following the discussions is a bit convoluted. I'm not sure I'll ever get any responses; maybe they'll get posted, I'm just not sure I'll see them or find them. . . LOL

On a scale of 0 to 10 ... G+ is a 4 in my book.

I'm not sure I'll go back.
I left when they tried to Google the world...
I don't miss them as much as everyone said I would...

We'll see. . .

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