I like Google+. Okay, I don’t have the +1 button here on this blog but that’s just me being lazy. I like G+ for two important reasons.
- Communities – gaming, digital marketing without the RSS or automated spam, Ingress, comic books, geeky stuff
- Content – not just content from people I know, but content surfaced by the platform based on my interests
Google now bangs this drum. They call out Communities and Collections as two great features in Google+.
I’m now on the new Google+. It’s supposed to be faster and better. I worry it’s incomplete.
One of the main reasons some of the communities I exist in on G+ are on that platform is because of G+’s Event organisational system. You can shepherd people to the pub for Ingress, organise an online conference or virtual tabletop RPG.
The new G+ does not (yet) have Events.
Was usage that low? Maybe, but I’m not sure it matters. Events contributed to Community and if Google+ is to embrace community then it needs to reconsider its position on Events.
On a similar note, many Communities use Hangouts to talk to one another directly. The new Google+ doesn’t have integrated access to Hangout chat in the way the old, web version, of Google+ did. It doesn’t even seem possible to add Hangouts to Google’s App Launcher in the menu bar.
Polls? There are huge communities that make Polls their bread and butter. I can see Polls in the new mobile G+ but if they’re present on the web version then they’re hiding from me.
Google’s been criticised for not getting social. It’s easy to see where that sort of criticism has come from when you review the new Google+. The team wants to promote communities but doesn’t seem to understand what builds and enables communities.
As a final example of just how bad the lack of understanding is – the new Community pages no longer have sticky posts/community description panel on show. This area was used not only to describe what the community was actually about but to share important rules for what sort of post was considered on-topic and welcome versus what wasn’t wanted and would be deleted. These details exist but are hidden away under an (i) icon and there’s no way to link to them.