Creator behind Google+ pulls few punches in condemning Google’s (mis)handling of the social network

Creator behind Google+ pulls few punches in condemning Google’s (mis)handling of the social network
When it comes to social networking, there is Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn is growing methodically through its focus on professional networking, and smaller services like Ello or Socl are GIF factories of sorts.

Where does Google+ fit in? Is it a success? Is it a failure? It is certainly an eye-pleasing presentation, on the desktop as well as the mobile app. There are not any advertisements or annoying invitations to play with on-line farm animals either.

So what is the deal with Google+? The guy behind the social network of Google (and “Godfather” to the hashtag as we now use it), Chris Messina, is asking the same question and he is more than a little disappointed in the (lack of) direction things seem to be going. This past October’s feature release of Polls is something Chris worked on over 18 months ago when he was still with Google (he departed in August 2013).

In the mobile space, iOS in particular, Google+ and Hangouts lag far behind other platforms in terms of update releases. While that does not mean Google is not thinking about it, it is hard to dissuade from the idea that Google+ is not being refined or enhanced on a continuous basis.

You might be thinking why Chris cares at all, given that he left the company, and despite the rather placid environment, Google+ is still very much alive and kicking. Frankly, he wanted Google+ to be a more visible alternative to Facebook, “the future of digital identity should not be determined by one company.” He feels that Google+ has lost its way.


His concerns are certainly valid, even if the jury is still out on whether they are justified. In the long term, it is not about a simple “social network,” but it is about how we (all of us) connect and communicate. “If you take the long view, you’ll understand why this moment in time is important: the companies and apps that solidify their position in our lives today will likely live on far into the future. Google is one of those companies that has already done this. I believe Facebook will too. So the fundamental problem that I have with Google+ is that I just don’t understand it. And what I don’t understand makes me nervous — and should make you nervous too.”

In defense of Google+ and Hangouts, Google+ handles media splendidly, and video Hangouts are great. There really is not anything else out there that does that so well. Google+ communities are pretty well stitched together too. Based on this part of the picture, one could argue that Google+ was not meant to be a direct competitor to Facebook or Twitter.

Still, Messina is feeling disappointed and believes that Google+ is in a state of perpetual “catch-up,” soon to become irrelevant. Google, Chris asserts, missed the opportunity to rethink the entire puzzle of online privacy and how we manage our digital selves.

In the end, Chris is hopeful, as are we. PhoneArena.com has a great looking Google+ page, and we have a very nice Google+ Community. We would love to see you there!

sources: Chris Messina (Medium) via Business Insider

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