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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21 Comments

1. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

Even I have no idea why Google+ isn't that popular, its app is much better than Facebook's

3. totex71

Posts: 9; Member since: Feb 19, 2014

No its just as bad as facebook. both should be banned!..

4. vincelongman

Posts: 5728; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

I'd agree Google+ is better than Facebook in most aspects as well The problem is no one uses it Just like WP No offense WP users, WP is great, just again no one uses it (so it has bad app support and less mods) Also since Google forcing Google+ with YouTube didn't help because people want to comment anonymously Made everyone hate Google+ without actually trying it

6. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

Because Google+ user mostly pro android and Apple hater.While Facebook is more neutral

10. quakan

Posts: 1418; Member since: Mar 02, 2011

Terrible analysis. It just never caught on like Facebook did.

2. Rigbaby

Posts: 98; Member since: Nov 06, 2014

Hey does all of phonearena's news articles get posted to google plus?

5. kalloud

Posts: 155; Member since: Jun 21, 2012

Yes I think so.

20. AndroidLollipop unregistered

posts only the link

7. ManusImperceptus

Posts: 724; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

Google's greatest problem is their insistence on alienating users, WP users getting zero Google services being a typical example. If you insist on downgrading the experience for anyone who's not a full blown supporter, you'll have to accept loses...

19. blazee

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

yeah thats it, WP is the downfall of google + lol

8. SaintHelena

Posts: 397; Member since: Nov 05, 2014

In term of forcing user, facebook really do have an upper-hand compared with G+. In term of invading privacy, facebook really do better than G+, and that's why facebook might be 'better' social networking than G+, But, that's why I don't like facebook. I find facebook is too intimidating. I like G+ better.

9. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Nobody uses G+ because nobody uses it. People use Facebook because everybody uses FB. "Better" doesn't apply. I don't use G+. I wish all my friends were on G+ so I could. but they're all on FB, so I use FB like they do. I f$%@k hate FB, I hate all the adds, I hate all the goddamned game invites. One thing I'll say for FB though, is that since "everybody" is on it, I've done some good in the world. I've returned 3 lost wallets, 2 lost credit/debit cards, and an iPhone 5 (smashed to hell, but the SIM was there) because of FB. It's funny that a few years ago everybody was excited about the no-call list with phone numbers, yet everybody's on FB now, so they're even easier to find.

21. AlikMalix unregistered

Awesome post...

11. dspkblympkbl

Posts: 52; Member since: May 23, 2013

Chris Messina? Isn't that the wrestler turned actor?

12. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

Phone arena why haven't you posted about the EU wanting to split up Google like every other site? Are you just not done with the article or are you just shamelessly shielding Google because you are bias? Seems very strange to me since it's been reported for many days on other sites.. FYI if you post back with defensive tendencies I'll know which answer applies Now on to the article.. I use Google plus daily and while it's aesthetically pleasing it needs better uniform and better search options. I also feel that Google needs to stop pushing it down the throats of YouTube users. I do feel while loosing ground to Facebook it is still a good service. I believe by not having the dominant program for once it will help Google get better.

13. bucky

Posts: 3791; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Because they shove it down your throat, the youtube debacle and tries to hard to merge Google+ profiles with your gmail. I personally don't use it because my YouTube name is showing up on gmail.

14. Tziggy14

Posts: 624; Member since: Sep 02, 2014

There was 3 major problems with G+: 1. The YouTube integration. 2. FB already had developed a Google-level stranglehold in the social market by the time G+ even launched. It was already too late for any competitor to make any real inroads into social. Those apps like WhatsApp, Kik, IG, and Snapchat are merely supplements rather than real threats. 3. Google merged your Gmail account and pushed people to join it.

15. simpleas

Posts: 196; Member since: Apr 30, 2014

I don't want GOOGLE PLUS ANYTHING on my google account. Stop forcing me to use it please. I made my google account back in 2001 I think.

16. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

There's nothing wrong with Google+ it just feels like a place for photographers and such (looking at you nerds). Most of the common folk don't even know it exists. If you think about it, that doesn't seem like a bad thing per se, people go through enough trouble managing their Facebook accounts already. Ello should be something to look out for though, I mean those guys should just release a mobile app already. It may not reach Facebook scales but it sure will be better than G+ by a mile.

17. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

IMO Google+'s interface is way better then the other major social networks. It is very clean and it is very easy to post things and to filter your feed.

18. deepblack

Posts: 50; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

the number 1 battery drain app.

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