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Introducing the new Google+ (googleblog.blogspot.com)
346 points by runesoerensen on Nov 17, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 287 comments

Google seem to keep making worse the thing that matters most to me. What I want is to conveniently read. I want to see content, from a variety of sources. I want density. I want to catch up and be aware.

It was like that in the earlier days. Every update kept reducing the amount of visible content, and severe reductions in density. Here is a screenshot of my screen - http://i.imgur.com/fM2WIVf.png (1920x1200) - almost two million pixels. There are a total of 7 (yes seven) sentences of article and 5 sentences of comments. I have to click and/or scroll to see anything more. (This is their densest layout - the single column version has a total of 4 sentences.)

With Reader they had a community of people who read a lot, and an interface design that worked well for doing that. They took that away. By not having access via an open standard like RSS for G+ streams, they don't even allow alternative interfaces that can address their problems.

I can only conclude that the people who persevere with G+ do so despite it, not because of it. They must also be very patient and do a heck of a lot of scrolling.

I think the biggest issue is the design. The card layout is generally big no-no in design community. It presents too many choices for the reader for where to focus. Users don't like to make choices because it represents friction in consumption. The FB layout is one item at a time with small column so eyes doesn't have to scan right to left too much. If user doesn't like item you just move on. The ranking of posts is absolutely the core fundamental key to keep user interested. This is such a simple and basic design issue that I'm surprised no one is talking about and no one is fixing it. Making consumption choice-free, decision-free and friction-free should be the guiding principle in all social apps. Once you fix this problem, more users can start posting and vicious cycle can start to roll on. of course, the other issue is that G+ discourages cross posting, 3rd party apps and related APIs which again limits people who are willing to take on further friction. These issues are easily solvable and too glaring to ignore.

> The card layout is generally big no-no in design community.

I disagree-- it would appear to be exactly the opposite if you look at current design trends (checkout dribbble.com), cards look to be a very big yes-yes in the design community. I believe googles implementation of the cards within Google+ very poor UX. If they made each card the same height so your eyes can move about the page more orderly it might make Google+ more palatable. You are right in that it is very hard to digest the content with that design.

Trending design ≠ efficient design. Lot of me-too designers try to copy what's on popular websites even though it's clearly a wrong approach and that's how bad designs become viral (Jumbotrones is another example which has become viral but has measurably lower engagement metrics). Also many designer falls in to side-by-side measurement trap while what they should be measuring is users engagement metrics. Card layout looks pretty in PowerPoints and SBS numbers would generally shine but any designer who have actually measured actual engagement metrics with card layout would agree that it's horrible idea. BTW, I'm taking about card design where there are more than one horizontally laid-out cards.

Didn't say it was the right thing to do but that is surely up for debate though it is definitely a current design yes-yes. Personally, I like the card trend. It makes designing for responsive a bit easier and I enjoy the material looks which plays well with "cards'.


Design is only a part of the experience, most of the value comes from usefulness.

It depends on the content and the users' goals.

Pinterest is mainly focused on pictures and its users like to scroll at leisure through long lists, collecting items that catch their eye. On the other hand, G+ is more focused on reading single articles: notice an interesting headline, read the first few lines, click to read more.

This distinction between grazing for images and hunting for text articles is why lack of horizontal alignment makes Pinterest more enjoyable and G+ harder to use.

> The card layout is generally big no-no in design community.

Interesting. Could you provide any links/citations for this?

I ask because it feels like practically every designer I talk with these days wants to force a card layout onto everything (even text-oriented sites) and I'd love to hear the other side.

+1 for a damned list ...

I mean look at the front of hacker news.

Speed. Read.

HN isn't considered great design by majority of users outside this community.

It isn't necessarily considered great design inside either, judging by how popular Hacker News plugins and readers are.

But a pretty strong argument can be made that, for sites focused primarily on text and reading, simple layouts may sometimes sometimes be better than complex ones.

HN is kept this way on purpose. That the GenPop doesn't like it is a feature, not a bug.

As for designing sites focused on reading, I wholeheartedly agree with this: http://motherfuckingwebsite.com.

Almost. I agree more with this: http://bettermotherfuckingwebsite.com/

>A little less contrast

Other than this, I agree. Black on white is fine, and hell no, don't make the background slightly gray. If my display is too bright I turn the brightness down.

Do you dislike the slightly grey background on HN? I can't say I really notice such things.

Oh, yes I do. And I hate the grayed out downvoted comments. I have a chromium HN plugin that fixes the background.

>"You're a fucking moron if you use default browser styles." >- Eleanor Roosevelt

Why are the default styles so bad?

There are two interpretations of your question, which do you mean?

1. What is wrong with leaving HTML completely unstyled and allowing the browser to apply its defaults?

2. Why is it that the default settings applied by (most) browsers are so awful?

The answer to the first is pretty much, as another HNer noted, the topic of the Better Motherfucking Website page. The defaults suck.

Why the defaults suck is ... probably an accident of history that's difficult to undo. Browsers default to no margins and a whole slew of other stuff, and CSS requires that you either start from known defaults or explicitly style each and every element.

If every browser used its own distinct set of deviations-from-default for various entities, CSS would be even more of a hack than it already is.

Some of the fault also surely lies with standards organisations, including the W3C. If they elected for specific defaults to be applied to all pages, and, by some miracle, browser vendors actually adhered to these, you could conceivably have a world in which most Web pages didn't need much if any styling, and where users could choose to apply default styling to pages.

I do this presently via uBlock and uMatrix on desktop, and via ReaderMode on Mobile. I virtually always prefer the simplified, standardised view to a site's native design.

You've asked a simple question, but a deep one.

The default styles are lousy because there's no reasonable standard on how pristine HTML5 untouched by CSS should look. So browser developers make assumptions because they figure everybody will just use CSS anyway.

Fortunately, we have stuff like normalize.css (https://necolas.github.io/normalize.css/) nowadays.

The whole site tries to explain that.

This is great! Together, they form a perfect design philosophy!

> HN is kept this way on purpose. That the GenPop doesn't like it is a feature, not a bug.

The "GenPop" don't even know this site exists and, if they did, would be turned away by the content, not the layout.

That argument is made here often, that somehow liking the plainness of HN's layout is a shibboleth to detect quality users, but i've never really bought into it. Sites like Craigslist, Reddit and 4chan manage to do quite will with relatively simple looks and broader appeal.

I wasn't really trying to make an argument out of it; I think there's a direct quote from pg floating somewhere that this is one of the reasons HN's design is kept bare-bones. I may be misremembering though.

EDIT: I found one quote:

"So the most important thing a community site can do is attract the kind of people it wants. A site trying to be as big as possible wants to attract everyone. But a site aiming at a particular subset of users has to attract just those—and just as importantly, repel everyone else. I've made a conscious effort to do this on HN. The graphic design is as plain as possible, and the site rules discourage dramatic link titles. The goal is that the only thing to interest someone arriving at HN for the first time should be the ideas expressed there."


Fair enough, but even if pg said it I still disagree with the premise, albeit respectfully. You can have a site with a simple layout which features the content without having ugliness be a conscious design principle. The problem lies in the assumption that plain design will "repel" one kind of user, but attract another, I don't believe it does.

> You can have a site with a simple layout which features the content without having ugliness be a conscious design principle.

That I agree 100% with. I too believe that. Hell, I find myself liking simple layouts more than what's the usual startup trend for pretty backgrounds (and background videos; whoever does that deserves to have their Internet access limited to crappy 3G modem with fixed rate of $0.1/MB) and fluff.

Personally, I think HN is actually too simple. Reddit seems uglier, but they have lots of very small features that greatly support discussion on the site. I actually think that the interface for general discussion on-line lies somewhere between HN and Reddit - simple but useful tree-like forum.

One thing i've found odd about HN is that the only really customizable feature for logged in account seems to be the background color of the top bar, after you get enough karma. Just imagine how many complaints people wouldn't be making if they could adjust the default text size, line height or some other colors?

Yeah. I don't really understand why this feature even exists. Maybe it's some artifact of HN's history, pg experimenting with that particular part of HN's engine in Arc or something? Because this and all the other things you've mentioned can be accomplished by user setting up an additional CSS for the website client-side, with an implicit assumption that audience here is generally smart enough to figure out how to do this.

Also, the orange bar is basically the single visual element that makes HN HN, so I don't know why people would even like to customize it...

There's some mystery here.

Back in the day, Myspace would embed any arbitrary CSS you pasted into your profile. I'm not suggesting Hacker News make itself that hackable (it would be hilarious, though, if they added that "feature" to the thread submission form) but it seems like it should be a bit more hackable than it is, given its nature.

The problems I've got with HN would with one exception be best addressed with less design.

It assumes fixed screen / viewport widths and font sizes. Foreground / background contrast is poor. The more code: collapsable subthreads.

Otherwise, it's a basic text-heavy design for a text-heavy site.

It gets the job done for the audience. It's very fast. There is no clutter.

Therefore it's almost great design. Up/down buttons too close together for reliable use on touch screens (because of the inability to correct a mistap) is what's keeping it one step short of greatness.

Design is experience. Graphic design is almost orthogonal.

It's not great graphic design, true. But I'll take it over garbage like grandparent's screenshot any day.

Great UX but the UI isn't as appealing to everyone outside the HN community.

But Google+ used to be single column! Then one day they switched to the two-column card layout, the content was exactly the same but suddenly you needed to scroll up and down to be able to read both columns. (i.e. when you finish reading an item in one column you have to scroll back up to get to the beginning of the next item in the other column).

I really wonder why they decided to change it.

It definitely looks better when viewed as a screenshot or in a graphic design presentation. Of course actual usability is far worse, but nobody cares about that. Only how shiny it is. The people making the decisions on which design to go for are given screenshot or mockup presentations in 5 minutes and asked to choose which design to go for. They will always go for the shiniest one, and you end up with stuff like this.

There's some comment about the low attention span we force on executives by making them take 1000s of decisions per day that they aren't even experts in and rewarding them for it in all this.

... you honestly think Google has no analytics on whether or not design changes affect UX? And that they'd stick with a significantly worse-performing page?

They will only have numbers for the people that are actually using Google+. The millions that prefer other social networks may have different views on the G+ usability.

Somewhat counterintuitive... I mean Google knows better than relying on stills for what is interactive content, right?

I don't know, did they ever hire an Apple designer? Ah, no, they had a no-poach agreement. Perhaps they had to revert on poaching Pinterest designers, though.

> But Google+ used to be single column!


> but suddenly you needed to scroll up and down to be able to read both columns.

I guess many of us don't read any column in google plus, we just glance them and take a closer look at a few things.

... > I really wonder why they decided to change it.

I have a couple of reasons why they might have done it:

1.The focus is on lots of short-form (think twitterish).

2. Stacking smaller blocks sideways neatly lets you format posts themselves the same way in multiple screen resolutions.

Twitter is a darling it seems despite wasting most of my screen.

Google plus is hated for everything despite being IMO a better product both technically and design-wise.

It's in vogue in the design community where the primary use case is passively consuming images and media. This seems to be where Google is sending Google+, and how all the feeds I still have followed on it are using the service -- sentence of text + image/video.

From what I understood in the post and a few reviews of it, Google don't (and shouldn't) want to compete with Facebook in friend cross-posting interaction activities.

> Making consumption choice-free, decision-free and friction-free should be the guiding principle in all social apps.

In what world is that true? The point of social interaction enabling apps is to increase the likelihood of users regularly choosing to abandon passive consumption and interact with things. Friction is the only thing in your maxim that makes sense I'm afraid.

As one of those loyal Reader users, I have since switched to Inoreader via Feedly. For me, there is no single view that works for everything, really -- and the nice thing about a proper feed reader is that you can have a customized display per feed group.

My articles are normally either in list or magazine views, and only graphically-heavy feed groups (like comics or photos) are in card view.

Amazon's UX designers feel the same way. G+'s card layout does not make it easy to infer what's the latest vs the most commented on item and what the logic is behind it's positioning laterally. I think basic gestalt principles in cognitive science would support the problem with laterally adjacent but vertically edge overlapping tile placement.

> The card layout is generally big no-no in design community.


Pintrest is different use case. Pins typically have little other content than images for consumption and card design works great where major content is images.

That's different. You're supposed to peruse like a catalogue.

A site I hate, avoid like the plague, and block via /etc/hosts where possible.

But thanks for the example.

I'm sure Pinterest appreciates that. Users outside the target market drain resources for no benefit.

It's not just a Google thing. Recently there was a HN thread on devmag.io -- they have the same problem. I measured it: in the same space HN gives me 18 stories, Devmag.io gives me barely 2.

Unfortunately, I think Google people know and they just don't care. They don't want people who know what RSS is, people who care about information density; they are going after the Pinterest crowd, the sort of people who read Cosmopolitan, watch reality shows, and post drunken pics on Facebook.

The new reddit mobile page has the same problem. On the old http://i.reddit.com I usually get 1-3 more links per page than on the new http://m.reddit.com

Who actually thinks that all that padding and those stupid navbars are a good idea? On mobile my screen estate is very valuable and I don't want to waste it on unnecessary things.

Designers from San Francisco, that's who. Current design trends favor "negative space", so text has to be spaced widely, with huge margins and hairsbreadth-thin fonts.

Negative space is always useful. Simply spacing shit out to create low information density isn't the same thing. Adding a bunch of unnecessary dividers (cards and shadows) are definitely not the same thing as negative space.

Negative space would be allowing the space between items to create a division instead of the borders and shadows.

You forgot to mention the very low cost, especially for font because we gotta hide that pesky content that we have to show after all.

Images (even small, low-quality ones) are far more costly than text, no?

The saying "Form follows function." is well ingrained among industrial designers, UI designers ought consider it as well.

Although my assumption here is front end designers are often subjected to death by a thousand revisions from 'the suits'.

Yeah but the action of maneuvering through the content is fleeting. Rather than squinting and parsing a whole bunch of stuff - you're just filtering as you move down the page. I do the same exact thing on HN. It's just that I can be lazy with the affordance of a large screen.

Also, reddit is different as a consumption medium, rather than news aggregator. With reddit, you consume. With HN, you peruse.

And yet they already have just what you want, why are they wasting time re-inventing it!


Http://i.reddit.com is the same as adding ".compact" to a link.

I also don't understand the redesign. The old version is way better then the new version, but I guess it just does not look flat and material enough.

As a major point in their favour, at least they kept the old version. They could have just redesigned the webpage and put it on i.reddit.com. Instead I can keep using the same good old layout while those who want can use the new m.reddit.com.

That's more than I can say for many, many other things, where whether I like it or not I'm forced to have the latest design fad (flat, pastel colours, long and inefficient animations and huge, unnecessary padding nowadays) shoved down my throat.

I know nothing about this, but there's a flag on https://m.reddit.com that says "Beta", and on https://i.reddit.com there's a link to "try the beta", so I think it remains to be seen whether the old version is still available when m gets out of beta.

I don't like the new http://m.reddit.com/

Try this my redesign reddit. http://reddit.premii.com/ I hope reddit does something like this, and let user configure layout for each subreddit.

I like the design, but why is there a nav bar? I browse reddit a lot in horizontal view and the navbar just takes very important space away.

I am assuming you are on Android.

iPhone doesn't have a hardware back button, and most people don't know you can navigate back by swiping.

I will add tracking in http://hn.premii.com/ to see how many user uses in landscape mode vs portrait.

Hiding navbar in the landscape mode is an option.

I love i.reddit. When they take that away (and I expect they eventually will), I will probably use reddit a lot less.

Hang on, the problem with Pinterest is the aggressive user hostile "sign in" stuff on the apps and mobile pages. But Pinterest is, for what it is, really freaking good. If you want humanitarian faces or Japanese ceramic or Scandi Furniture or etc you'd be daft to ignore Pinterest.

>> the problem with Pinterest is the aggressive user hostile "sign in" stuff on the apps and mobile pages.

Spot on. Desktop pages are just as bad. It seriously annoys to no end. If it was a paid service, I could understand.

I was with you until you dissed Pinterest.

Pinterest is very information dense. It utilizes every inch of screen space, and it does so without looking cramped at all. It's a huge design success.

It seems very image-oriented though. I wouldn't try to read news on it.

Well, but it's not for news — it's not supposed to be, and that's OK. I don't use pinterest much, except for creative pursuits. For example, browsing for inspiration for calligraphic scripts is a lot of fun on Pinterest:

https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=textura+quadrata https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=cadel+flourish https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=caligrafitti

I treat it as a source of inspiration, not information.

I think the problem is that people see the beauty of the pinterest layout (which works well for pinning images) and then adapt it to show textual content (which works much worse than a plain list of headlines for scanning news).

Right, but that just means they have made a design that suits what is being displayed on their website.

"A picture is worth a thousand words"

Depends on the words, the picture and the audience. I wouldn't attempt to understand your API's system contract via a picture of the computer.

One of the concerns I have is that we may end up moving to a very image-oriented media that finds it difficult to meaningfully communicate certain thoughts - and perhaps encourages an audience largely unable and/or unwilling to meaningfully attempt to understand them.

That's television. The web is a step up from TV in that regard.

And they said the same thing about TV just a decade ago. I'm pretty sure it's still bullshit, just like it was wrt. TV.

Pinterest crowd, the sort of people who read Cosmopolitan, watch reality shows

That crowd is way bigger than the crowd that hangs out at places like HN. So it would make sense for G+ to go after them, no? This is a numbers game.

That crowd is already camping out on Facebook, while G+ was being adopted by more techy people.

Companies running for the same average Joe and forgetting about other groups of people leads to quick deaths of services.

I've always thought Google should buy Github and make that the basis for a new G+. It's too late now but a few years ago who knows.

Sadly yes. Doesn't mean I can't feel sad that is the case, though.

I don't think it's either or. I obviously read hacker news, but I'm also very passionate about ceramics especially Japanese and Korean ceramics and Pinterest is a treasure trove for images of work other people have done as well as new techniques. For contrast: I don't have a Facebook account.

Google have been tremendously coy about what their success metrics for G+ are, though they've played highly disengenuous all-but-utterly-fake numbers games in playing up "engagement" since the very beginning.

I'd argue that the issue isn't numbers, but relevance. G+ is lousy in many ways but has a few small areas of success, notably its Notifications mechanic, a community which, for me, works fairly well, and a search which while pathetically under-featured is comprehensive and fast.

Winning the numbers game for social vs. Facebook in its current incarnation is a fool's errand. Numerous people have pointed this out, including ex-Googlers pointing at the "Interest Graph" (though suggestions for following / pursuing this date to the first few months of G+).

If Google does grab the Cosmo crowd, that's fine, so long as it doesn't also chase off the Nature/PLOS crowd in the process. Unfortunately, Google's proven more than happy to sling absolute snot (as in the G+ "What Snot" feature ... oh, no, that's "What's Hot").

Power users learn how to disable that instantly.

> they are going after the Pinterest crowd, the sort of people who read Cosmopolitan, watch reality shows, and post drunken pics on Facebook.

Inferring a bit much there?


It's true, but it's such a shame. I still remember the day metacritic switched away from their original design [1] where every movie currently in theaters was in that single column on the left hand side. You visited one page, you looked at it for 15 seconds and you were done. Apparently this was not the best way to make money, but it was so useful.


That's how for-profit world works. It's not about providing value to customer - it's to provide as little value as you can get away with wile still getting paid. If a company can sabotage their customer's experience and make him pay more at the same time (whether directly or via ads), the company will pick that option.

This is the incentive gradient that's present everywhere, especially on the Internet - that's why I personally won't mind if ad blocking will kill all ad-supported websites. I'll call it good riddance.

Same goes for the Skype Client. These apps seem to want to treat PCs like mobile devices where the app owns the whole screen.

> Unfortunately, I think Google people know and they just don't care.

If this is the case, then it probably means that a majority of people find the less-dense layout easier to read. It would also explain why Reader didn't have enough usage to keep Google interested.

> If this is the case, then it probably means that a majority of people find the less-dense layout easier to read.

Maybe. But the service doesn't exist for the people using it to read, or to post either for that matter. They're not paying for it. If Google knows people would rather a different layout but don't care, it's because the people who are paying for it prefer it this way.

If there is a service that converts your G+ feed into a rss feed, would you use it?

There were a few, but none worked reliably at all. I do use a external service that converts twitter to RSS (something they dropped a while back), but also have to redo those every year or so as the various services break or stop functioning.

The thing about RSS is that it is a good match for providing a feed. By Google not providing that sort of thing, you have to use their user interface. Others can't try experiments, cater to certain usage styles, or introduce new ways of using the service. You'll note that twitter had that vibrant experimentation and growth, until they decided to cut that possibility in 2011 - http://fortune.com/2015/10/21/twitter-jack-dorsey-apology/

A service like this will always be a band aid solution. You are at the mercy of the provider of the source data, and they can easily screw you up (as you have pointed out.)

What's wrong with Pintrest?

You'll like the condensed presentation of https://techbullets.com/ It's tech updates summarized into bite-sized updates which you can easily expand to explore deeper.

Just because you can fit more information into a space, doesn't mean you should. At a certain point it hurts user experience.


UI design is largely about directing flow. Scrolling down is certainly not the end of the world, and hiding less-commonly used features helps make those which are used stand out.

Thanks to such UX guidelines we don't have tools anymore, we have only toys and fluff. One of the most important characteristics of a tool is that you need to learn how to use it. Today's design is focused on making everything effortless from the get-go. But there's only one way to achieve this - and that is to dumb the thing down and cut out features until what you get is a very limited / pretty useless trinket.

BRU is an extreme case, but it's clear that it is a tool. Spend 5 minutes looking at it / reading a manual, and you'll be infinitely more productive with it than with whatever the beautiful UX artpiece du jour is.

And honestly, I'm tired of this dumbing down (= making useless) of everything. General-purpose computing is a very powerful technology and we're absolutely underutilizing it.

Very informative, and I would agree with this. A car dashboard seems complicated when you get into a car, but after you have had lessons, the car is a great tool. Nobody seems to be arguing that the cockpit needs simplification, yet in the computing industry (as you state) everything is dumbed down to etch-a-sketch simplicity for fear of alienating new users.

Mixing consoles also look complicated to a first-time user but I don't think anyone would argue that they need simplification.

Interestingly, Apple News app on the iPad uses cards and a simple layout, yet seems to work well and with no stuttering. This cannot be said for Google+ (and no, I don't want to join communities, stop showing them to me).

A tool is a way to solve a pre-existing problem that is outside the tool itself. Something which creates its own problems for you to solve is not a tool, but a toy.

Whether a tool needs learning beforehand or not determines how likely you are to try the tool in the first place (by estimating whether the expected result justifies the effort), and how likely you are to actually be able to use the tool to solve that problem successfully.

It helps to determine what the real goal is in this case. It is not really "allow me to browse through lots of headlines at maximum efficiency", but something more like "entertain me and let me keep in touch with people".

Yes that interface is bad. I think Reddit is a good example of an interface with high density that works. A page is simply a list of 25 links, while in your example there is the complexity of different kinds of elements and their relationships.

Since the web has gone into distributed application / magazine, density has dropped.






>You dumbass. You thought you needed media queries to be responsive, but no. Responsive means that it responds to whatever motherfucking screensize it's viewed on. This site doesn't care if you're on an iMac or a motherfucking Tamagotchi.

Except that it's really hard to read on a wide screen. I get it - it's a satire - but it goes too far and fails to make a convincing point because it's not really a functional layout.

There are good reasons for things in design like column/page width/ratios, margins, line spacing, font family/size etc. purely from usability standpoint (ignoring subjective/stylistic choices). You don't need to add 10MB of images and JS/CSS but making sure your sentence doesn't span over 20 something inches isn't over designing things.

Third link is much better.

You may be interested in http://bettermotherfuckingwebsite.com/

Yes that really drives in on those points glad someone took the time to actually present them like that :)

>Except that it's really hard to read on a wide screen.

I think the issue is - who gets to decide how wide the content is. Is it the user or the website? Or to put it another way, does the act of maximizing a window represent an intent or does it represent a default error state that needs to be worked around by laying out the content in a different way.

I think that the user should get to decide how wide they want the content to be. For almost all GUI applications 'Maximize' has always meant "I want to see more of it".

>There are good reasons for things in design like column/page width/ratios, margins, line spacing, font family/size etc. purely from usability standpoint (ignoring subjective/stylistic choices).

What are those non-subjective reasons?

>I think the issue is - who gets to decide how wide the content is. Is it the user or the website? Or to put it another way, does the act of maximizing a window represent an intent or does it represent a default error state that needs to be worked around by laying out the content in a different way.

This is why CSS exists - it separates style from content - if you want what that site has just disable all CSS and you'll get raw content.

>What are those non-subjective reasons?

There are things like optimal line length based on eye travel distance and a bunch of "defaults" that have been found trough centuries of experience in design/print. I don't do design professionally so I don't remember the exact rules but I did take design classes back in high school so I know they exist - I'll let someone who's an expert fill in on what they are :D

What gets me with MFWS, it's that when I really read something, when in flow and only the ideas behind the words matters to me, no amount of presentation will ever help or be of any importance. The most valuable ideas I got were written in old busted books with bare typesetting.

Why not make your window narrower?

I don't entirely agree but I can see the appeal of forcing decisions on ignorant people. Someone might want their browser as wide as possible while favoring sites with narrowed content and not even realize why they like the content in a narrow format.

Someday you may encounter a person who has trouble zeroing in on a 4px resize handle.

So much this.

I'm spending a great deal of time with a colleague who has significant visual impairments and who, while a domain expert in their own areas, is neither particularly proficient with computer technology nor do they wish to be (there are certain prerogatives which come with age).

Hiding tools for compensating for poor accessibility design behind small, faint, hard-to-see, only-sometimes-visible, and/or other graphical elements is sheer madness.

Case in point: recent builds of Firefox have a "reader mode" feature, which I use heavily (my own visual capabilities are largely intact, but, well, 99.99966% of Web design is crap).

The icon:

1. Is faint.

2. Appears at a corner of the navigation box. E.g., it's not at a Fitts point (top of screen, corner).

3. Worst and most unforgivably: it only appears AFTER a page has fully loaded, doesn't appear on all pages, and cannot be specified as a default (e.g., always open pages in Readability mode, unless broken).

From a UI/UX standpoint for someone who is already visually disabled this is unforgivable.

(Yes, I've submitted feedback to Mozilla on this.)

Do I really have to explain the value of sane defaults to a developer :D

Of course. Developers are the ones who always say "just configure it to your liking." It's the normal folk who need sane defaults!

Slightly more seriously, maybe the sane default should be a sane window size for the browser. Not everything needs to be fullscreen. Or maybe the browser window could be wide but could present a narrower viewport in appropriate circumstances. There has to be something better than having every web site separately specify whatever it thinks is a reasonable reading width.

I guess but a) backwards compatibility probably comes in to play b) can you imagine the level of bikeshedding

How is it hard to read on a wide screen? Just make your window smaller. "It's responsive"

You might also be interested in: http://codepen.io/dredmorbius/details/KpMqqB

Please tell me you are kidding with that first image. Seriously. Not a single website actually looks like that.

I know this is a bit late, and the content is in arabic, but check this: http://www.saidaonline.com/

That's an actual news website.

To be honest I have a 1024x768 12" laptop, believe me that image is far too close to reality far too often.

I actually gave up using Google search on mobile a few weeks ago because of basically this. The information density had got to the point where it was basically useless - and this was search, their main product! (On the positive side, all the extra whitespace pushed the non-sponsored links way off the bottom of the screen. That must be profitable for them.)

Maybe I just don't see it in that screenshot but it looks like it doesn't have that option like Keep has where you can change the multi-column layout to a single one.

Although in Keep sometimes you can change the view and it just ignores your setting, reverting back to the default layout. Keep seems like one of those things they never dogfooded.

Like the way you open Keep on the web and it loads your entire history in the initial page load. Making the page load take 20-30 seconds (and stall the browser in the meantime) if you have a significant history. And being sluggish no matter what you want to do with it after that. Even if you just want to see your last few notes quickly, or add a new one, which is what I usually want to do. How could a product possibly get created like that if the creators are using it with a non-trivial amount of data?

> ... you can change the multi-column layout to a single one

It is a setting. I mentioned in my comment that you can switch to that layout and get a total of 4 sentences on the screen. And a lot of white space.

My pet peeve with Keep is how it keeps rearranging lists as the page is loading. I can't work out what the criteria is, but can rule out most recently changed and most recently used.

It's funny because literally five minutes ago I was talking with our designer about how we need to take a cue from Reddit and put more information in less space.

That screenshot is from the previously existing site, not the new version launched today.

Preparing to make more space for advertisment

I do like the interface. I usually just scan the contents hence the card layout works fine. But don't like card interface for sites like hackernews/reddit. There i am mainly interested in user comments.

The experience is pretty awful. I am on a community of Computer Science students and it's hard to find threads I get updates for in my e-mail because they are horribly categorized. On the view you attached, you'll find it incredibly hard and annoying to focus on a particular thread. When viewing within a thread, you still have to expand each comment, and so on.

Definitely a case of style over function. It's really frustrating.

Please split YouTube comments from Google+. The YouTube comments used to be a traditional comment system, amd was a good source for infos related to the video. When the merged it with Google+ the comment quality tanked. Nowadays you read a lot of "hey my friends have a look at this video" with replies from friends. A very bad decision and user experience.

That sucks from both ends. YouTube doesn't want to see G+'s comments. G+ users don't want their threads overwhelmed by YT comments.

And, frankly, I've got less than zero interest in my activities on YouTube being public in any regard. I've created a randomly generated name for my latest Android device and even there I cannot compile lists of vidoes for my own use without making them public. At least not on YouTube itself.

So I don't do that.

This is actually part of why my recent switch from Android to iOS was so refreshing. While material design looks great on some level, it seems to be so remarkably wasteful of space. Google+ actually feels claustrophobic to me in a way: there's so much content, and yet you can see so little of it at a time. It creates a feeling of being constantly lost.

Information density is one thing. For me the size of the text is just too small to read it comfortably, especially with longer posts.

If you become a power user of any Google product you are on deep water and are setting yourself up to be disappointed when they pull the rug under your feet retiring features or even products that you have learned to depend on. Never depend on a Google product or feature unless you are in the 80% regular user category.

One of the challenges of being a power user is accepting you're going to hit the boundaries of whatever product from whatever company it is.

And "Google pulling the rug from under your feet"... please let's stop this ridiculous meme. Any company is entitled to withdraw a free service, and if you don't agree then go right ahead and develop a replacement for Reader. After five years of development and hosting costs with thankless users demanding new features and old interfaces all for free, I bet you'd pull the plug too.

Sure they are obviously free to do what ever they want with their products and maybe "pulling the rug under your feet" is a bit dramatic but it is true that they are pulling features left and right (not only Reader) that unless it is used by the 80% enough is under hard scrutiny. But if the top 20% which is also the people that are going to help you innovate are getting tired of getting used to a product working in a certain way and then it no longer does they will be wary of being too dependent on products from that company.

You can use the basic version of Google+ - https://plus.google.com/app/basic/stream/

I wonder if this keeps people mystified when they visit the news feed, wondering what's beyond the fold and scrolling their hours away.

Packing the maximum of text on a screen is not what design is about. Having less content on a screen is a perfectly reasonnable choice if it means better interaction. I'm not saying they achieve this here, but interaction should be the criterion, not sheer density. Otherwise, get a Bloomberg Terminal.

This is why my opinion of Material design is that it's pile of garbage.

The mobile YouTube app being a prime example.

if they bring back google reader, i'm golden

I moved to digg reader and it is pretty good.

It's not just G+, it's all across Google assets. The white-space drives me nuts. I'm convinced that along with the basic color palate Google thinks it's customers are 4 year olds or something.

You need to mask the fact you're collecting data somehow and what's better then cute Google doodles and colorful graphics ?

I personally prefer it than Facebooks super dense 'UNIX window manager from 2003' look.

Shame, the single anti-feature that prevents me from joining is still in place:

>Join Google+ by creating your public profile

I don't want a Public Profile. I don't need my gmail account to have a public profile. I don't need search engines, randos, nobodies, everybody to have access to my profile.

Why does Google mandate Public Profiles? I don't understand. Facebook does not mandate Public profiles (if you visit my Facebook page, it says 404 error page does not exist unless you are logged in and within friend of a friend distance to me).

One day Google will allow me to be apart of their network without mandating that I provide the public internet a profile.

And yes, I realize that aspects on the public profile can be manually disabled (it takes some 100-120 clicks to turn off every feature, one by one, even though the page itself remains public including your image and name).

There is a hidden option to create a totally private profile.


You have to set your audience settings to "No one".

This doesn't remove the public page, it simply adds a "restricted" message to still-public page that still contains information like name and photo.

On Facebook, if I restrict my page and send you the link you will see: 404 error, page not found

On G+ if I follow your advice and send you the link you will see: <MY NAME> <MY PHOTO> has restricted this page.

It's still a fully public profile which resolves as a URL and contains real personal information (name+photo) that cannot be disabled.

That's a reasonable point - although there's no obligation for you to use your real phone. You could be any one of a thousand Chris Rileys.

But, yeah, I agree that G+ is dreadful.

The only reason I'm willing to use any semblance of my name at all is because, as you point out, I am functionally anonymous with a generic name shared by major athletes and professionals.

For me, an anonymous white male, it's a small issue. But for a minority with an easily identified unique name, or a girl against whom someone would spend tons more effort to identify, a forced Public page including mandatory public information such as name and photo isn't just inconvenient, it's dangerous.

The craziest part is when I happen on Google + accidentally and Google shows me the account I deleted eleven times. Than I am confusing as to whether I have an account or not.

Considering it's been back after 11 times, I'm going to say that yes, you do still have an account.

    Charise Strandberg via Google+
    Daniel Brinneman shared this via Google+
    Antonio Valdés via Google+
I see Google+'s commenting is still drowned out by sharing notifications. Google, there's a reason everyone turned off trackbacks ten years ago. It's just noise for anyone reading that page to filter out.

It also happens with Tumblr, and just as bad. At least FB puts "<some people you know> and 1526 others shared this" instead of a long list of noise.

In Tumblr it sort of works because nobody reads the "comments", instead some people share the content adding a note and the "comment thread" is actually a nested quote.

I even wrote a script that goes through every note on a post and posts all the reblogs with comments. It's technically against Tumblr TOS, but as long as I only occasionally run it, it should be alright.

It always surprises me that Google's world-class UX and Product teams would allow such a huge expectation vs reality misalignment.

So many Youtube videos, so many blogger posts have this issue

Well, then it isn't world-class then.

It depends on many things actually, especially the goals, the leadership and the social dynamics inside the team. E.g. some feature X may be chosen among alternatives due the world-class UX professional John's desire to outdo world-class UX professional Jane while Jane is on vacation.

When I see my friend's comments on content, that's awesome.

I'm always surprised more people don't see how good this is.

When I browse Play.Google.Com, I see my friend's comments and ratings. That's invaluable to me.

Instagram makes the same mistake exacerbated on popular/celebrity posts. You'll have a food photo shared by a chef, followed by loads of these:

person1: @theirfriend person2: @afriend person3: @friendname you'd like this ... and so on forever

If someone's referring something to someone, leave me out of it. That's not a comment to the OP nor to the masses. It's just cruft. You can allude to it "504 people shared this", but the detail is unnecessary.

It really depends how you use it. For instance, probably 70% of my posts are technically reshares, but the majority of them have my own comments or thoughts on a given topic. Sometimes my comments are longer than those on the original source.

Collections is kind of like Pinterest. Communities is kind of like Reddit. Plus was kind of like Facebook. Buzz was kind of like Twitter.

They really need to stop imitating and start innovating. At this point I don't even think they know who they're targeting they're just trying to do a little bit of everything but they don't do it well enough for me to want to use it.

Pinterest is kind of like delicious, reddit is kind of like forums, facebook is kind of like myspace, twitter is kind of like irc. There's nothing new. Iteration on a good idea is not a bad thing.

The thing is, everything Google is doing is a lesser form of what it's copying so it's not an iteration. That and they're not just copying one thing they're trying to do everything. Why? All of your examples sought to improve upon one thing, do it well, and do it with focus.

My main point is that Google's social products are all over the place. They're firing on all cylinders but not aiming at anything.

I'm guessing they see the integration as an iteration. A lot of people would prefer to have a single sign-on, cross-linking etc. rather than having separate Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Reddit is not kind of like forums, it's almost Usenet ported to the web.

There were many well established search engines readily available when they launched search to.

There were exactly zero good search engines at the time, however. Google was exponentially better than anything else from day 1.

AltaVista was good. Google was better than AltaVista, but not exponentially better. It was just a nice improvement - enough to get me to switch.

I remember doing searches on AltaVista and Yahoo, both unusable for me. The difference felt when starting to use Google's Search was night and day.

At launch, the actual search functionality wasn't noticeably better than Altavista. It was, however, much faster and aesthetically pleasing.

"much faster" is important.

Speed is a feature

I'm not really trying to say anything about the quality of these products at launch compared to competitors. The parent post made a claim that since there was already a lot of innovative products available Google can't do anything special by launching similar applications. I say that's completely off base when you look at the product that made Google one of the largest tech companies in the world fits exactly into this category. It was not doing anything fundamentally different from other search engines at the time. It just did in a much better way, so much so that people overwhelmingly switched; and they were able to make way more money of these users as well.

I recall that I held off on switching to Google from AltaVista because the former didn't initially support searching for multiple phrases using the OR operator (e.g., "first phrase" OR "second phrase"). Am I misremembering? If not, then Google was worse than AltaVista on day 1, day 2, and many days that followed.

>At this point I don't even think they know who they're targeting they're just trying to do a little bit of everything

They're basically trying to brute force their way by now.

Well said. It's as if Steve Ballmer's nephew is now running the products team.

Clarification please,

Does it still cross link comments from other Google properties like YouTube if you post a video for example? I liked using Google+ a lot as more of a blogging platform instead of a social network, but as soon as they integrated that, it completely killed it for me. Every time I made a post with a video embedded, it would add all the horrible racist, hateful, trash comments from YouTube making it seem like those commenters were actually in my social network. I just couldn't risk that someone in my professional network might be equating the terrible commenting with me personally, so I gave up on it.

They killed that a couple of months ago.

What they haven't fixed though is requiring your account to have Google+ to be able to comment or interact on YouTube. Until they fix that participating in YouTube in any other fashion other than upvoting videos and watching them is impossible for me. I do not want to create a Google+ account.

Not just the ability to comment, but modify videos to the playlist. Otherwise it's just read only if you remove the G+ account.

nice, that's a good step. I think maybe too late though for a lot of people... I had hundreds of posts over there, and I eventually deleted them all because of the change.

Their layout of content still nixes it for me. I don't know where this idea of multiple columns of content without any horizontal sync with each other originated, but it does not work for me, not on any site. I read from left-to-right, top-to-bottom. I know other languages differ. But despite the age-old advice that people on the web do not read, they skim, this trend is too much of a disconnect for how I want to see information.

It seems more reminiscent of a market or a bazaar - they seem to be aiming for people who don't need to look over every stall in detail, but for the people who let their gaze wander until something catches their eye.

Which is fine, but I'm not that person, and that's not something I have a use for.

Totally agree with this analogy.

I would be surprised if one of the primary drivers of high CTR isn't the image, just like it is with other similar experiences.

Not sure where it originated, but it was popularized by Pinterest many years ago. I think it works better when the content is primarily images, not so much text.

Yeah, I have the same complaint about Pinterest. My wife likes it, but I find it an incomprehensible mess.

Well I bet based on their target market they'd be ok with this outcome.

The only times I ever used Google+ was because of the Communities. They're well designed and implemented, and they were always Google+'s strongest selling point. It seems they're taking a more Communities-focused approach, which seems like the right path for them.

Really? I found them confusing and difficult to navigate. The two column layout makes it difficult to keep track of chronological order, and the lack of static or promoted posts means that important info is often lost several pages back. Also, I find the load times really really slow.

> they were always Google+'s strongest selling point

Uh? IMHO pictures were their strongest point. They emphasise and manage pics better than FB.

It appears Photos was strong enough to make it its own product.

Seems like it's still drastically missing the mark on having a reason for being. Why would I use this? What would I put on there? Why there and not elsewhere?

Exactly. To most users, "we aren't facebook" is not an effective sales pitch.

As far as a comparison goes: both UI's leave me disappointed, but everyone i know is on facebook. I can think of 1 person who uses G+ with any regularity. By that measure, G+ loses every time.

A "don't be evil kind of Facebook" could've been appealing. Unfortunately they're decidedly not that, with their real name policy, forced integration with other services, public profiles, etc.

Google is as evil as Facebook, if not more.

Clearly. I never understood how anyone could take the "don't be evil" slogan seriously, actually. It's comic book level of ethics. We can disagree over whether they are actually being evil though, but what is clear to me is that there is a seriously worrying potential for evil with the amount of information they control through being de-facto monopolies.

Old Way: Two separate concepts called the same thing. Google+ (Unified profile/account/sharing system across services) and Google+ (Social network).

This backfired because what people made the natural inference that the purpose of the former was to force use of the later when the opposite was what Google was aiming for. The purpose of the social network was to promote the unified login, but instead it poisoned the well.

New way: Concept of a "Google+ account" has been folded into the main Google Account as a new cross-service "About Me" account https://aboutme.google.com/ . Google+ (Social Network) is now just a client of the former, so the G+ website is shedding all the features related to its old dual system integrator role.

That's what I can make out, anyway.

Good. Collections is the best feature of Google+ and a way better implementation of the circle feature. Communities is another strong point of the service, even though Collections alone would have been enough for me.

The mobile design on Android is disconcerting to say the least, according to the material spec, tabs are at the top. Putting them at the bottom allows one handed navigation BUT is way too close to the navigation bar and usually cause many false taps.

Most irritating detail is the interaction where there is what looks like a select box (little down arrow and everything) but it expands when you hover over it after a small delay. The delay ends up being the most irritating thing because it is just enough time for me to accidentally click where the drop down used to be and is now a home button!

It is small but this gets me every time and it is just such a gross usability fail. Maybe this is unfair but I have a hard time getting past it to give g+ a chance when my first explorations smacks me with an experience that is so poorly constructed and violates so many obvious usability best practices.

I always thought I was the only one who constantly misclicked those idiotic dropdowns. The same goes for the Circle button, which expands after a while and I always accidentally put people in the wrong circle.

The "Home v" hover menu is the old design and was replaced in the new design with Google's typical hamburger sidebar.

I'm not entirely sure what Google+ is anymore. Who is the target audience?

google spiders


You mean Alphabetas?

Googlers and Linux users!

Quite a few photographers there as well, though I haven't looked for a year or two...

I seriously want to ask Linus why he's so into G+.

This should answer your question:


> Who is the target audience?

Ingress players, mostly. I think some of the largest and most active communities on the site deal with the game, and given how the game is stagnant and (at least in my region) people are losing interest, that's telling about G+ itself.

I just logged in and nothing looks any different to me at a first glance. And as much as I want to like G+, I can't get over the absolutely abysmal design with that single narrow column and all that empty space off to the sides. It just grates at my nerves for some reason. And the multi-column view is shit, which is why I turned it off in the first place.

Facebook, OTOH, has a design which is way too "busy". And never mind that both Facebook and G+ are walled-gardens anyway. I need to just convince more of my friends to join up with GNU Social.

You have to opt-in to the new interface.

Yeah, but I don't get any prompt to do so, and can't even find any mention of it. Maybe they're doing one of those Google "roll this out to different users at different times" things. shrug

Same here, even after logging out and back in, no opt-in for the "new" UI yet.

I got it when I opted into the new URL. I wonder if they can only carry one "opt-in" prompt at a time and this happened to overlap with that.

I wonder why Google is unable to do what Microsoft has always done. MS generally never leads markets, but they usually can put together a passable product that gets at least double digit share on their third try.

Google seems to lead some charges (i.e. Android) but definitely don't have the third-time's-the-charm luck. Maybe these are mutually exclusive properties of different organizational principles.

> conversations around everything from Zombie Cats to Vintage Calculators

Now they are trying to be a Reddit.

I really don't like multi-column layouts. It's impossible to read. arstechnica is a really good example. There are three columns, each with blocks that are different sizes.

So, I end up reading all the headlines from the left column, scrolling back to the stop, reading the second column, then scrolling back up for the third column.

I've tried to use Google+ on my Android device and the experience is awful. You get a few words and a huge picture that doesn't tell you anything about the post.

FWIW, you can change the layout on arstechnica: - Hover over Main Menu in the navigation - in the upper right corner of the menu, there is a label "Layout" that has some icons you can click to adjust to a two column layout that is more top-to-bottom friendly.

The problem isn't the multi-column layout. The real problem are the blocks/cards/boxes that have different heights.

Settings has a "Restrict stream to single column layout on all screen sizes" option.

Please fix the Google Groups UI - I'm sure there is more engagement/activity in Groups than in Google+ communities. I always fear when clicking on a google group link in google results.

Add to this - recently some of the results go to a white-labeled community site: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/analytics/oSR...

Don't worry, your Groups will be assimilated into a Community, and you'll have access to all that old content once you sign in with your YouTube account.

I may be in the minority here but Reddit is MUCH more interesting to me than fb these days. My friends' content is simply not that interesting to me whereas I can find a SIG on Reddit that has what I want.

It's been that way for years...

I'm confused as to why my google+ has almost 200,000 views, but it has zero posts and basically nobody in my circles. Is this counter broken for anyone else?

Are you really active in Gmail? It could be lots of people you correspond with clicking through to your profile, from the link that typically shows up in the right sidebar.

Nope, nobody contacts me personally through gmail. I kind of wish g+ had a similar stats tracker as youtube so I could check where all the traffic came from.

Interesting, I have 216 followers and 86,062 views...

I have 3 'followers', basically no content and 10,755 views. I'm sure few humans have looked. Probably mostly search bots. I do have viewers on youtube though.

Large view counts are generally from photos. Either in Picasa Web or Maps.

Ironically, this blog post doesn't contain an actual link to Google+.

I followed the link to the 'read this to see how to enable google plus' and that didn't even work. I then realized I had no idea if the google plus page I was looking at was 'new' or not. I did notice that all of the random stories from people I didn't know dissapeared.

All I'm left with is the pages from companies that are active on Google Plus in the attempt to give Google a social signal and sway Google's page rank in their favor.

Edit: to add, those companies are friend's companies and current and former employers. These companies asked all their employees to add them and get pester their social networks to add them as well.

The blog post has seven links to Google+. They just go to specific pieces or streams of content which are arguably more useful to demonstrating what's good about the new design.

My biggest gripe with google+ was and is that it lacks clear compartmentalization of information. There is just something about using a profile in a public way that also can potentially tie into an email, calendar, everything portal that just bugs me something fierce. Also, I know they finally revised it, but the real names policy and the wierd way they try to force you to merge youtube/gmail profiles into google+ really put me off as well. A similar gripe with logging into multiple accounts in a single browser session, I just want to be able to logoff and login as a different user, not merge 10 profiles!

That being said, I have found some communities on google+ that overwhelmed the negatives and I found myself using it anyway. There are some communities that aren't anywhere else.

A stunning fact came from a Googler today: https://plus.google.com/+IlyaGrigorik/posts/GzjRiVUED1S

The previous Google+ site took an AVERAGE of 12 seconds to load, and was 22 MB when gzipped. This company, which once wrote a blog called "speed matters", where they announced they'd penalize sites for slow loading, had an average page load of 12 seconds on their social network. (For single-threaded browsers like Firefox, it'd actually freeze up the browser for about ten of those seconds.)

I'm not super fond of the design, but what I am super fond of, is that Google+ no longer crashes my web browser.

You mean an Alphabater?

There's a meta-level of this roll-out that I find quite striking.

1. Google have previewed this as an optional experience

2. Which users can roll back from. Unlike earlier major releases, it's not dumped all-at-once, and it's not a "if you try it there's no going back" option (as CoverPhotos were a few years back).

2. The changes were undertaken with user-involvement. Google are loudly touting that they solicited input from users, even visiting them at home, to come up with the new design. Mind, I wasn't part of this, but that appears to be a striking change from previous roll-outs, which were very much "we know best" events.

Last December we saw a sneak preview of the New Google+ Development Process: a substantial change to the Notifications mechanism ... which was all but universally panned. I wrote a long and piquant post about how damned important G+'s Notifications mechanism was to the site (it's among the few parts of the service which are really quite compelling). Mucking with that is dangerous business.

In less than 24 hours, Google reversed the push.

I was absolutely stunned. Said so.


I'm not sure how the changes here will look, I'm using the Android client, not desktop, for the present. I suspect I'll have some sharp criticisms (I usually do). But I'm seeing some encouraging signs in the process.

Still not sure who this is for and why they would want to use it. Google is at its best when they are fixing problems in a novel way, not trying to ape everyone else

Good they are still working on Google plus but what's the difference between a community and a collection? And what happened to circles?

I don't like the gif in the middle of the page. With a video I can easily pause or skip to the part I want to see. Even an image carousel for four static images would have the same effect.

As it is, I instead have to wait until it cycles around to look at any given image, which is rather frustrating.

Google has trouble understanding that it was a Black Swan. That its initial success may not be replicable.

The changes are OK, I suppose.

I read stuff on G+ a lot, my preference being on my Note 4 rather than on a laptop size browser. Maybe it just because I have a lot of interesting people in my circles, but in any case there is usually a lot of interesting (and even useful) information.

A service that has no identity, which a bunch of copy of other services glued together. I didn't want to use Google+ , i'm not going to use Google ++ and get a different product every 2 years because it still doesn't know what it wants to be.

They're still stuck on oversharing. Following a collection pops up a warning explaining that it's going to be public everywhere forever, with the options 'OK got it' and 'Cancel'... I wonder which option is more popular.

How good are the discussions on Google+? I hesitate to share my identity and data with Google, but I'm also on a never-ending (that might turn out to be literally true) quest to find sophisticated, intelligent discussion of politics and policy.

It really depends on your specific interests and community. Total size is perhaps 1/3 - 1/4 FB, but there are zones of excellence.

If you want to find everyone, go to Facebook.

If you want discussion, Reddit.

Topics in depth, blogs.

High S/N: Metafilter.

This might be of interest: https://www.reddit.com/r/dredmorbius/comments/3hp41w/trackin...

You can't escape trolls entirely, but they're pretty rare in my feed. I don't go in for politics and policy, though. Many long-time linux kernel and userland developers are on G+, including Linus himself. Linus usually posts scuba-diving pictures. Lennart Poettering is also on G+, so I had a front seat when all of the major distros were debating systemd.

There's no threading - even Facebook has a couple of levelslevels. G+ is just flat.

Looks like G+ is still using the old Google logo.

When is Google going to drop the dingy grey as a background color? It's so gross.

Google had things figured out with its crisp white aesthetic. Superfluous cards and shadows (thanks Material Design) has borked design at Google.

> If you head over to Google+ today

I literally have no idea how I would even do that.

Go to your address bar and type this special and complex incantation: https://plus.google.com

My point is that I've never done that, I've never heard of other people doing that much, and nowhere on the page does it explain how to do that.

But the general confusion that Google+ elicits in people is perhaps best reflected in one of the 'Collections' linked to from the blog post, wherein a woman has shared numerous messages about her personal life under a photo of a vintage calculator.

> “Let’s go”

I'm not seeing it.

Me niether.

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