So I called a doctor’s office to make an appointment. They were missing a form. They asked me if I had a fax machine. I said, “No, but I will gladly scan and e-mail the form to you.” They said no. Really? Because it’s 2012 and most humans don’t own fax machines. And I personally don’t/can’t/won’t fax because it’s archaic. (No, I do not care that ‘Internet Fax’ exists. Not even a little bit. That’s basically the same as scanning and e-mailing it.) I get it. I’m a technology snob.
But this pretty much sums up how I feel about the flailing Google+ social media platform. It fails to innovate, or even make sense in a digital age and completely ignores obvious, low-hanging fruit. So for now, Google+ still sucks, and unless it integrates better with their existing properties, it will continue to suck for the foreseeable future. Why not just not use it, you ask? Because they’re continually integrating Google+ more and more with the rich media in their search results and they’re essentially forcing us to use it or get left behind, whether or not it’s a garbage social media platform right now.
Here are just 4 of many things I see as woefully wrong with Google+. If I feel like continuing the rant, I’ll add more in later. But for now I think this is enough complaining for all of us!
#1 – GOOGLE+ VS. THE WORLD
My target audiences are not present and active on Google+, plain and simple. This, by far, is my biggest hesitation to spend any time on Google+. Unless you’re into web, tech and interactive careers, Google+ isn’t particularly useful and doesn’t do much that Facebook and Twitter can’t. The only people I see actively using Google+ are marketers and promoters just like me. The Washington Post reported today that Google’s social network has 100 million “active monthly users.” That’s an announcement straight from Google, and naturally, it’s completely vague as to how “active” these users really are. The announcement simply states that the 100 million active users come from those who visit Google+ online or on their mobile app. (For reference, Facebook has 955 million active monthly users.) Even if Google+ really does have 100 million active users (not bloody likely if you consider active users to be people actually engaging on the site), not many of them align with the target audiences of my clients, and the ones I do find aren’t active or engaging with other people.
#2 – GOOGLE+ VIDEOS VS. YOUTUBE
This one has baffled me since the day Google Plus launched on that not-very-fateful day in June 2011. Why on earth would I bother to upload my videos to YouTube (800 million unique visitors per month) and then wander over to piddly little Google+ to then have to upload it again into the Videos folder on my profile or page? Answer: I wouldn’t. I don’t. I won’t. Google owns YouTube. My Google+ accounts are all registered to the same Google profiles my YouTube accounts are. I’m sorry, only having a YouTube URL share link in a status update just isn’t good enough. Don’t make your social media platform a pain to use. Integrate YouTube and Google+ profiles already. This one is so simple and obvious.
#3 – GOOGLE+ VS. GOOGLE+ Local
The Google+ Local roll-out was a total farse. It was a botched, janky roll-out that only served to confuse people. My clients were outraged as we watched their photos, videos and content not make the transition, as their map listings suddenly pointed to the wrong businesses, they temporarily lost access to edit and update their Google Places listings, and there was a complete lack of communication to name a few problems. The Google+ Local pages look almost identical to Google+ pages, and yet Google insisted in support tickets that they are separate things – even if they are confusing to users and business owners alike, and at this time it’s impossible to connect them. So there are two virtually identical-looking and virtually identically-named Google+ WHATEVER profiles out there for many clients. Again, integrate Google+ and Google Places profiles already. This one makes me so furious I’m not even going to continue talking about it.
#4 – GOOGLE+ EVENTS VS. GOOGLE CALENDAR
Setting aside that Google Calendar is mostly only valuable for personal use and not public use, Google+ Events are painfully limited. Great idea in theory for the occasional one-off event, especially if it’s a Google+ Hang Out or event on the web. This one wasn’t of particular importance to me, until a Google+ rep in my vertical called to suggest that I use Google+ Events. I thought, “Gee, this would be great to connect with the public Google Calendar I have for industry events, conferences, shows and competitions.” Well too bad so sad. There’s no easy aggregate of non-online (Nonline? Trademarking!) events – similar to what Google Calendar offers. Yet another case where integration could make me not hate it. And one more small beef with Google+ events – you can’t select “All Day” as the timeframe of the event.
What it all boils down to is… don’t make me work twice as hard to be a valuable, optimized member of your social network that hardly anyone wants to be on anyway. I already have 800 things going on with the various Google properties, the last thing I need to do is duplicate my work after years of cooperation with new Google services just to get on yet another redundant, only vaguely useful social media platform. So Google, until you fix a handful of these things, I’m just not that into you.