It is no secret that many people think Google Plus sucks. Despite a big splash when it was launched (including a waiting list for access), Google Plus failed to gain the traction enjoyed by Facebook or Twitter – which many consider to be its chief competitors.
Now, four years after its launch, it appears that Google Plus is being dismantled with several services spun off separately. Google Photos and Stream will be run by VP Bradley Horowitz. Hangouts will see more investment as Google plans to “work hard to get to the next stage,” according to Google’s Senior VP of Products Sundar Pichai. Pichai announced in a Febuary interview with Forbes that Google Plus may be broken up into components.
Why do so many people think that Google Plus sucks? There are at least a few reasons.
The idea behind Circles was to provide better control over who users shared certain information with on Google Plus. Unfortunately, many people find Circles confusing and difficult to use. Facebook also has since rolled out better privacy and sharing features that many people find easier to use than Circles.
Google Plus has been called a ghost town by more than a few commentators. Everyone already knows all of your friends and family are already on Facebook. Who has time for yet another social network when everyone you need to connect with is already on Facebook?
Google Plus is not the first digital product flop for the company. In fact, the list of products already killed by Google is long. Google has already killed off or retooled Reader, iGoogle, Health, Knol, Picnik, Buzz, Aardvark, Sidewiki, Notebook, Dictionary, Labs, Wave, SearchWiki, Dodgeball, Jaiku, Lively, Page Creator, Zeitgeist, Answers, Urchin, Social Graph API, Message Continuity, and Authorship – to name but a few.
The long list of “failed” Google products should not be surprising, however, considering Google’s philosophy of failing fast. The company is willing to try innovative products publicly to see if they connect for its users. Google routinely eliminates products or services that are not seeing widespread use and adoption.
Despite some high-profile failures, Google’s successes are also significant. The company all but redefined search and remains the standard by which web content creators and web designers create sites and content. Gmail has been a smashing success with massive adoption by individuals, businesses, and even government agencies internationally.
Google Maps remains the standard for digital maps, and YouTube all but owns the video sharing market. Google Plus is just not one of the company’s better products. Plus came to the social game too late and without enough distinguishing features to set it apart and make it a “must have” social network. Ultimately, Plus failed to attract enough active users to make it a viable social platform and its slide into obscurity continues.