Over A Year Later We Revisit Google+ Google Circles

Back on August 23, 2011 I wrote that I thought Google Circles and Google plus were probably not going to take off the way some folks were predicting-

GMG Tech Talk- Google Plus, Google Circles

Posted on August 23, 2011 by Joey C

How many of you are actually using these services?

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When they first appeared around what seems like a couple of weeks ago lots of people were signing up and tech media were predicting that it was going to turn Facebook on it’s ear. ahem (Paul Morrison).

The numbers of people were signing up for the services were enormous as there are already a ton of people who use and trust Google products to begin with.   So the growth was probably from people saying sure, what the hell, I’ll give it a try and with the sheer number of Google users to begin with those numbers of new accounts when reported in the media are staggering.

Well Google products have a long history of success and I use many of them daily. Gmail, Google Calendar, Documents, Google Music and Google Listen among a few I use most every day.  There have been a few misses with products that may have been a little ahead of it’s time or too smart to catch on universally.  Among one that comes to mind was the collaborative tool Google Wave which promised real time online collaborations.  I used it once or twice and it was interesting but not enough folks caught on.  Kenny and I edit our podcast shownotes in Google docs sometimes simultaneously and Google Docs seems like it took a lot of things from Google wave and integrated them.

As tech savvy as I consider myself I still can’t get the hang of circles.  It may be just a little too slick and I just don’t have the energy to figure it all out right now.  So my intuition tells me that if I can’t figure it out in a snap that most grandmothers will say fuck it and not bother.  This is a huge difference between Facebook and Google Circles.  Facebook seems just super easy peasy lemon squeazy whereas Google Circles seems like people really need to sort a whole bunch of stuff out to make it manageable.

Google +?  I’ve clicked on that +1 button on a bunch of different sites including this one when there are things that I find interesting and I figure it will share that somewhere but I’ve yet to figure out where that +1 button is visible or who gets to see the post or page that I find interesting enough to click the +1 button for.  Again, I consider myself pretty much a 9.5 on the scale from 1-10 on the tech geek scale so for me not to understand it gives me a strong sense that a good majority of people don’t understand it either.

Maybe once my season slows down and once the winter doldrums set in I’ll have time to get more into it but I’m just not sure the masses will and isn’t that what Google wants to capture with it’s products-  the masses?

Now over a year later I see a few hard core geeks (and I say that in the most complimentary way) ahem Paul Morrison, are using these services and it hasn’t made a tiny nick in the armor that is Facebook from what I can tell. 

It’s rare that I use either of the two, how bout you?  Do you still use Google Circles or Google+?  Do you think it will stay as part of the Google ecosystem?  I imagine they are still adding users but my guess is that the rate at which they are adding subscribers compared to the first couple of months when they were rolling out the service has dropped to a teeny tiny fraction of what it was.  Back a month into the roll out I found it preposterous that analysts were extrapolating the numbers of people signing up in the first month for Google Circles far into the future as if that growth wasn’t simply the shear number of Gmail users that were trying it out for the first time.

When I hear social media pundits like my boy Ryan Pinkham talking about relevant services I never hear them talking about Google+ or Google Circles the way they talk about Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and I find that telling.  Maybe he will chime in here and give his take.

Your thoughts on the service?  Your thought on how you use it compared to the way you use Facebook?  Comment below- 

Social Media Guru Ryan Pinkham adds-

There’s been a lot of talk of Google+ being a ghost town. The way that Google reports on how many people use it is really out of whack, so while they may say they have 100 million+, the level of activity doesn’t match up.

When I have a blog post or find an article I like, I never think “Hey let me share this on Google+” It doesn’t come close to matching the reach of FB, Twitter, or even LinkedIn. Also it doesn’t offer enough of a unique experience to make me put in the effort. I’m a lot less interested in learning about a site that’s trying to be the new Facebook than a site like Pinterest which is offering a unique experience.

I also have never met a business owner who says Google+ has helped their business, would love to hear from anyone who has seen success.

Truthfully I would love to see Google+ takeoff because I think people are getting kinda Facebooked out, but they’re still a long way away.

That all being said, if your a business owner it’s worth it to hop on Google+ and claim your business name now, before someone else takes it. That way, if Google+ takes off in the future, you’ll be ready to go.

About Joey C

The creator of goodmorninggloucester.org Lover of all things Gloucester and Cape Ann. GMG where we bring you the very best our town has to offer because we love to share all the great news and believe that by promoting others in our community everyone wins.
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4 Responses to Over A Year Later We Revisit Google+ Google Circles

  1. Ryan Pinkham says:

    There’s been a lot of talk of Google+ being a ghost town. The way that Google reports on how many people use it is really out of whack, so while they may say they have 100 million+, the level of activity doesn’t match up.

    When I have a blog post or find an article I like, I never think “Hey let me share this on Google+” It doesn’t come close to matching the reach of FB, Twitter, or even LinkedIn. Also it doesn’t offer enough of a unique experience to make me put in the effort. I’m a lot less interested in learning about a site that’s trying to be the new Facebook than a site like Pinterest which is offering a unique experience.

    I also have never met a business owner who says Google+ has helped their business, would love to hear from anyone who has seen success.

    Truthfully I would love to see Google+ takeoff because I think people are getting kinda Facebooked out, but they’re still a long way away.

    That all being said, if your a business owner it’s worth it to hop on Google+ and claim your business name now, before someone else takes it. That way, if Google+ takes off in the future, you’ll be ready to go.

  2. Google Plus is not a replacement for Facebook. Since using G+ the one social media I have stopped using is Twitter. You’re absolutely right about grandma, she will have no use for G+ and will stay in Facebook. Facebook is for cat gifs, sharing what you had for breakfast, and the latest goofy meme. Not to say that doesn’t also occur on G+, it does if you want it to, if you open that goofy circle, but intelligent conversations also occur.

    My experience as of today. I am relatively active, I post publicly about science, cancer research, astronomy, basically stuff I find interesting. 15,075 people have circled me which means I am in their stream and they might easily read what I write about. I post publicly so the other 400 million can also read it if they run into the post. Current data suggests there are 400 million G+ users of which 100 million are active and post publicly. From those 100 million I have circled 3,278. I have circles which I have named “serious scientists”, public post scientists, skeptics, atheists, political, MacCentral Alumni, funny, loudmouths, wicked science, genetic science, high content, science and space, etc.

    At any time I can listen to all or just a few of my circles. With 100 million active posters it is very easy to corral a set of very intelligent posters. If someone spams or pastes in idiocy I block them immediately. Click and gone. But I’ve only blocked 35 people. I run a program that deletes anyone that has not posted in the last six months (I may have deleted you!). This way I keep the content high.

    Trying out G+ without anyone good circled and G+ is nothing. You’re sitting in an empty room. Try circling Faser Cain’s “Super Science Circle”
    http://publiccircles.appspot.com/circle/z13jfblbrn2fyja3b23filbbplfdvbkgv04
    396 active posters who post about science.

    Or you can go to my profile and start circling some of mine.
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/107071332326571881653/posts?hl=en

  3. My partner in the literary project I’m working on lives in Manchester, NH, so I’ve used Google+ a little for video conferencing, etc. We also use the Google Drive to share documents. But I’m not hanging out there or anything. Not yet. Facebook appears to be getting more aggressive with advertising. Seems like the first thing I see in my feed these days are advertisements for McDonald’s and that Romney character, both being pushed on the wrong person.

  4. OK, i had to go back to read my comment on Joey’s original post in August 2011:
    ——–
    I first logged onto G+ about three weeks ago and I see the light. Facebook is dead to me. My kids don’t even use Facebook anymore, going back I feel like I am in kindergarten and the desks are too small. While I still use Twitter I can see that it will be crossed off my list soon. LinkedIn will stay viable for professional connections but it also may wane.
    ——–

    I didn’t say Facebook was dead, I said it was dead to me. My kids still don’t use it anymore. Not cool. It is grandma’s social media. It’s not totally dead to me. I still use to connect to high school buds in Woods Hole group or another Macintosh Koolaid drinking group and with some relatives. I do like the timeline feature. But I could do without it and FB while not dead to me is on life support. One year later I am surprised that Twitter is indeed dead to me. Reading a tuned stream in G+ is much more interesting than twitter but I haven’t tried hard to tune who I follow on Twitter. It is good for the occasional scientific meeting I cannot get to but really that is more the National Enquirer coverage.

    If you bet a thousand bucks on Facebook when it went IPO you lost half your bet. A Google bet would have gained 20%. Doesn’t really mean too much concerning their social media products but you might see a lot more MacDonalds ads on FB as they trade below 20. Too bad you can’t put money on WordPress.

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