The idea of "circles", where you had a circle for "acquaintances" "friends", "family" would be great on, say, Facebook, as it would allow me to filter down my feed to just the people I really care about but still have a connection to more distance acquaintances.
Currently on Facebook the news feed is automatically generated, and the only control you have over it is to subscribe/unsubscribe from particular friends. Given hundreds of acquaintances, this is a pain, and made me give up on Facebook altogether. I wish social networks would trust me to decide what I want to see rather than just let an AI attempt to understand it, which in the end just ended up spamming my feed with clickbait and baby pictures from people I barely know.
Facebook insiders have admitted that it is. Mike Allen, Facebook's first president, said this in an interview:
“The thought process was all about, ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?’,” he said. “And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever, and that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you more likes and comments. It’s a social validation feedback loop. … You’re exploiting a vulnerabilty in human psychology.”
So that underscores their general attitude towards user behavior. The 'every once in a while' piece applies to the newsfeed too - it's designed to keep you searching for things you care about, and they carefully mix in things you don't, so that you're never too satisfied or unsatisfied, just constantly craving more.
Source (a slightly clickbaity-looking place, go at your own risk): https://www.axios.com/sean-parker-unloads-on-facebook-god-on...
He talks about how at the time they really didn't foresee the foreboding future implications of what they were trying to build at the time.
Although I think the reaction continues and we can't tell exactly what's happening even now.
not quite concerned enough to give back the
millions of dollars they earned
Or do you think they should just get rid of the money, K Foundation style, regardless of whether doing so would reverse the effects of the work they did to earn it?
And just like a Slot Machine you are always left wanting to come back to play some more and even if you do your best to quit facebook, you are always being constantly reminded that of its existence everywhere you go.
> This has been the MO of mass entertainment since the gladiators fought the lions.
Lots of early proto-social media companies were already doing things like that back in the 90s. Like when AOL was king and "You've Got Mail!" was a household catchphrase and featured in their marketing. They knew that people were thrilled to get stuff from other people.
Probably the most obvious and recent antecedent to gamefied social media would be, uh, well, games. There were a few decades of ideas to cherry pick from the game world.
Does that give it less weight or more weight? It's hard to see what you were going for here.
That quote reminds me of Louis CK's interview with Conan (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HbYScltf1c) where he says about mobile phones:
"You never feel completely sad or completely happy, you just feel kinda satisfied with your product... and then you die."
There's almost always at least a software developer (or technical person of some sort) calling out "Hey, are you sure we should rank by $X? It will have this edge case in situations $Y and $X?". Usually they get steamrolled by a "product" person who's invented some new terminology for whatever shady shit they are pushing now. "It's just growth hacking" "complimentary contextually relevant ads will improve the user experience".
People know. They always know. They just choose to feign ignorance when they get busted.
There's been hand-wringing about Youtube funnelling users to extremist content, and it always comes to down to "the algorithm" as if there's nothing that can be done about it.
Someone had to choose to implement the algorithm. Someone had to choose the metrics it was optimized to meet. Someone had to go, "Children are being drawn to extremist videos after watching PewDiePie and that's okay."
You enter into the comment section and it's automatically sorted by Controversial. At least that's how I see it.
It's also why Twitter wants to 'curate' your timeline, instead of simply displaying tweets from people you follow in temporal order.
I've given up every platform that forwent the chronological timeline because other feed algorithms are just frustrating, and Twitter is the only one I miss.
I've turned off the "show best tweets first" option, and I stick with using Tweetbot. But, like most people seem to indicate here, about Facebook (which I don't use at all), my continued use hangs by a thread. It wouldn't take much for me to cancel my account. Again.
As far as I can tell, Twitter doesn't hide anything from, instead showing me tweets from people I don't follow.
Other networks I watch, they still do the same thing. On the NHL Network, you'll see a story about a big trade coming up and they will continue to shuffle it down during commercial breaks until its one of the last stories they cover before the end of the broadcast. It's the same thing with highlights. You'll see your team's game in the left hand column like they're about to show the highlights. Come back from a commercial break and suddenly two more stories have shifted above your local team's highlights. Same thing with several ESPN shows like PTI (Pardon the Interruption).
It can be incredibly frustrating to watch sometimes.
You always want dairy and fruits/vegetables on opposite sides of the store since they’re perishable, hence they get purchased the most often, and you want people to walk past all the other aisles every time.
If it were all about sales, then I could buy widgets for $100 a unit, sell them for $50 a unit, and call it a success.
Obviously positioning matters too (hence all the garbage food at checkout), but I wouldn't by default assume that this is the case, and especially not the only driver, behind dairy placement.
Except they did in 2011 in response to Google+ by adding Friend Lists, which you can use to filter your News Feed down to stories and news items from just friends in certain lists curated by you. This is still in existence today in 2018.
I disagree with the GGP (I think) about Facebook wanting you to wade throw a river of crap so you stumble on ads. Their ads have been spot on to my interests so far.
I think an onioned version of Google plus circles could help Facebok influence the AI without preventing discovery.
But TBH, had G+ really been a contender at this point? This sounds like the creak of an abandoned house by now.
The killer feature with circles is being able to post different things to different audiences IMHO, which Facebook can't do without different accounts.
And I want it simple and easy to understand and use, even for non-techies, such that it "just works". And a pony.
I have friends who will post photos, and I'll love for FB to detect that they often post single photos, and allow me to subscribe to just those. Even if it means relying on FB's algorithms deciding what posts make the cut.
The same goes for friends who will occasionally post blog-style stuff. While I'd prefer it if they actually blogged, being able to go to their profile and getting a FB-suggested 'type' of post to subscribe to would be peachy.
Other algorithmic suggestions I can imagine:
- the friend who consistently posts great links to longer-form journalistic articles
- the friend who posts mostly 'funny comics/pics', but actually funny ones
- the friend who seems to know half the town and diligently clicks 'interested/going' for events that I am also interested in.
- and the above possibly with an option to drill down and get more specific suggestions (I'm sure FB could segment the events at least by a crude party/political dimension.
- the family member who posts all sorts of weird crap, but also the interesting family-related updates. It can't be that difficult to detect which of their posts are the family updates (and perhaps there could be a 'suggest category/tag/whatever' feature so that my dad can diligently mark these updates (which I know he would!).
With the above, or even a crude version of it, I could see myself browsing FB quite a bit, and I wouldn't mind the occasional sponsored post (which could be targeted specifically to the feed/mood I'm in).
I'm sure there's a lot I'm missing about all this, but I feel moderately confident that FB is not doing this, not because of particularly good reasons, but because they're stuck in a particular 'mode' and a bit too conservative about it (shortsighted advertising). I can't tell if this is just because they're a big corporation at this point, or because of 'SV incentives', or going public, or whatever else.
I never got the whole circles thing as a unique selling point... like that functionality existed in Facebook beforehand and the reason people didn't use it much is simply because for a personal social media it's not that useful. I've used it maybe a handful of times in 10 years.
I mean I guess maybe because circles are a nicer design concept?
Though let’s be honest here - anything you post on Facebook (or any other social media) you should assume is public, regardless of privacy controls.
No one would directly attempt to be evil, it'd just turn out that way.
“The truly terrible thing is that everybody has their reasons.”
― Jean Renoir
There are lots of other sites competing for attention, and to sacrifice a good UX would be shortsighted, especially with all the “FB is dead” comments people have been making the last few years.
"Lard it up with debt, fire down to a skeleton-crew and stop all maintenance" sounds bad, like you're killing the company or something. "Unlocking value", hey, doesn't that sound better?
Similarly, "Let's get rich creating the second-coming of AOL by building a tacky nextgen panopticon" doesn't sound that great. "Creating a community of technical greats to bring people together and foster blah blah blah", while a completely bullshit nothing-statement, seems to shift focus off of the surveillance capitalism. For a bit.
Eventually, though, if you make your living sniffing other peoples' panties, eventually they notice and they take measures to limit your access to their laundry. FB and Google are both blocked entirely by IP at my gateway (along with a bunch of other surveillance shops), and the internet at home is so much nicer than what I see other people putting up with.
Really? Especially a FB PM you mean? Because PMs otherwise have been known to use exactly such techniques and worse:
Some low level PM was tasked with optimizing time-on-site. They had some negative user feedback, but it didn't show up in their low sample UR and segmented rollout. Since they had good results in their primary success metrics and the secondary metrics did not tell a consistent story, they rolled it out to 100%. Any negative feedback from there was chalked up to change aversion among a small segment of users.
See the Sean Parker interview: https://www.axios.com/sean-parker-unloads-on-facebook-god-on...
Increasing "time spent" means spreading out relevant posts. I'm sure that Facebook is tuned to optimize for some combination of "time spent without drop-off in engagement". This is a "Good" version of the algorithm because it nets them the most revenue, while still fulfilling the need for the larger user base.
It's milkshake marketing. People don't want the most efficient method of content consumption. That's why most "feeds" are no longer chronological. People on Facebook want to scroll around, look at posts, comment on articles, like a few things, etc. for X minutes/day without seeing things they've seen before, and without seeing things that are boring.
The job-to-be-done isn't to consume a certain relevant piece of content, it's to waste time and not get too bored.
The thing to realize is that there's not actually a functional difference between that and the "numbers-driven" guy you describe. Evil isn't just the sadistic maniac; it's the affable businessman who doesn't care, doesn't even consider, whether his product helps people or hurts them, so long as it maximizes profit.
Someone else posted an interview with the former president of Facebook, and it's pretty enlightening: https://www.axios.com/sean-parker-unloads-on-facebook-god-on...
The milk is still in the back, along with perishable juices. The difference between them and the aisles is that processed foods (frozen dinners, vegetables, snacks, brand name yogurt & cheese, ice cream, breakfasts) are all located near the front of the store, while fresh ones (milk, meat, fish) are located at the back, and perishable-but-non-refrigerated goods (fresh fruits & vegetables) are off to the back & side. So it really seems like a deliberate attempt to put the items you would buy frequently as far away from the door as possible, and make you walk through the goods that you might stock up on on impulse.
I would bet on consumer psychology over logistics here.
Logistics: because then you don't need rear access to the cooler shelves. That's square footage that you can better use in other ways. (In school I worked in a supermarket that put dairy in the beer/soda cooler, and we stocked it from the back.)
Milk is heavy. It's stocked onto shelves slightly angled forward so the remaining stock slides to the front for ease of reach. This need isn't generally applicable, or desireable, for other refrigerated/frozen foods.
Although, maybe that's an argument for putting it by the checkout lines instead, which I suppose are by the entrance. Hm.
And are you sure milk needs to be stocked from behind? Is it at the back of the store because it needs to be stocked from behind - or is it stocked from behind simply because its at the back of the store?
Plus with thing like milk, it is a real pain to push several gallons uphill to put something else in front (ever try to put a milk container back on the sloped shelf? Takes a couple hands and some fidgeting to do it).
The distance from bay to fridge plus fridge to the exit is the same wherever it goes.
For example, in Aldi stores, the milk is usually kept quite near the entrance, along with the kind of things you'd keep in the fridge (butter, cheese, etc) and the bread. In the likes of MS and Waitrose, it's usually somewhere near the side of the store, not too far from the entrance but past the fruit and vegetables. Same sort of deal with Tesco, Sainsburys, etc. Smaller convenience stores are usually just kind of random.
Nah, if you want real exploitative design, note how many shops are designed to draw out your shopping time as much as possible, by having a nice Z pattern that 'encourages' you to trudge through the whole store before ending up at the checkout. I think in that sense, most over here seem to have taken inspiration from the likes of Ikea or Costco more than anything else.
There's also the obvious 'fake sale' dark pattern, as well as the 'move everything round every few weeks to disorientate regular customers' one.
Costco certainly doesn't Costco has aisles, and sections for each major product category. IKEA has a "tour the store" design which is nice for a store you browse because you want something for every section (room in your house). You can go directly where you want if you know what you want.
In the US, Trader Joe's does this.
Here's a link to someone asking for help when I guess they started to pull the plug on custom friend feeds:
Friends List is here apparently:
It was nice for keeping my World of Warcraft friends separate from "Family" and "College" and "Highschool" etc. As there were things I'd maybe want 1 group to see, but things I'd rather others didn't.
After ~4 years I just started unfriending people as it was easier then bothering to curate posts for specifics lists, and soon after I just deleted the account as I could SMS-text the people I wanted to chat with easier then bothering with facebook.
You know, I read this, and I thought "gee, Facebook is behaving a bit differently at the moment for me", because the last time I checked it, it showed maybe six posts and a message at the bottom that basically said I need more friends to see more posts.
And then I realized...I installed uBlock Origin the other day and promptly forgot about it, so of course Facebook hates me. It's like the Soup Nazi - no dopamine for you!
I was creeped out recently by how Facebook recommends people I've never met as friends; I've read some things that suggest it may be utilizing GPS data to try to match people in physical proximity, so I have to wonder if the recommendations are from the apartment building I live in.
Why on earth would this be the "point" and what product manager is being paid for this BS.
"If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold."
Mine is set to "All Friends" except "DoNotShow" and there's about 3 people on my "DoNotShow" list.
Have also excluded family for a few posts.
IIRC, Facebook never really promoted those features or tried to make them easy and intuitive to use. Recently they've also made changes to make them less useful.
It's sort of like difference between having a well-designed and usable feature or a similar feature that only exists to check off a checkbox.
I remember Facebook having it first; this blog post (https://jessicavitak.com/2011/09/01/facebooks-circles-how-to...) confirms that.
Groups only. And even those are just an occassional check in.
The presentation was amazing and I can definitely believe is influenced leadership at Google to make a product that was "better" for people who have complicated social networks (the "I want to go to a rave on the weekend and share those photos with my friends, and then go to a wedding and share the photos with my parents" problem).
it's unfortunate the the leadership (mainly Vic but enabled by a bunch of other people) ran with this idea but ended up making such a dislikable product.
Anecdote: when Google+ Events launched at IO, I had to give up my practice spot on stage so that Vic could practice his product demo. Events is now gone- it wasn't very popular- but the product I demo'd (Google Compute Engine) is now a major source of growth. Oh, and the other reason I didn't get to practice was Sergey practicing the launch demo for Google Glass (the amazing parachute jump). That's also a product that is in the dustbin. AFAICT the leadership just didn't understand how badly it understood the market for social, cloud, and consumer products.
Maybe Facebook for general friends and family posts, Snapchat with friends, WhatsApp chat with another group of friends, Twitter for truly public posts, Slack for work, etc.
So far, I'm pretty happy with the "isolated communities with shared identities" model of Slack/Discord. I feel like something that took that model and made it into a social network would be popular. (No, not like Reddit. Picture, say, Tumblr, but you can't reblog something if it's not from your community, instead only being able to create your own original link-post to it that doesn't propagate its interactions back to the community of the post it links to. So you have one shared piece of Original Content, but each community has its own sandboxed graph of likes and shares and comments and other interactions built around that Original Content.)
You mean IRC?
We learn both of these from early childhood. We all at some point go through the realisation that our best friend may not always see us as their best friend and vice versa. Not forcing a two-way connection or nothing is an essential part of how humans actually relate.
Secondly, allowing easier more precise control of who we share what with. I don't want to share pictures of my son with everyone I have some sort of relationship with. I want to share them with at most family and maybe a few others. I don't want to share pictures of a night out with work colleagues. And so on. Facebook basically forces you to reduce yourself to the lowest common denominator of what you're prepared to share with everyone unless you're very careful with permissions or make socially awkward distinctions about who you accept as friends.
And then, when you've reduced yourself to that, it forces your "friends" to wade through a bunch of stuff that you may well know a lot of them will have no interest in, as you point out.
Facebook is basically trying to force human relationships to change shape to suit their ad targeting, and eventually someone will figure out how to leverage that weakness into dethroning them.
Don't really have a point, just wanted to brag. :-)
That is, you are not subscribing to circles on various topics of things to receive, but you are creating circles of people you can send things to: so you can send family stuff to your family, technical stuff to technical people, etc.
Hypothetically a good idea but it is still seeing the world from a sender's perspective as opposed to a receiver's perspective.
The more immediate problem though is that we are all getting hit with a large number of messages (in the most general sense including e-mail, physical mail, social media, TV, ...) and I think we could use our own filtering A.I. that we control.
Another principle I see is replacing "scanning" (eg. loading a feed over and over again) with a workflow based on "say something once, why say it again?" That is you should never see anything in your feed more than once. Maybe you could go back and search or browse for it, but you should not be reloading just on the hope that you'll see something new and interesting.
How do you imagine you would spend that much time managing them?
ML suggesting or guessing groups automatically would lessen the requirements of the user, but it was already pretty easy I thought.
While I agree with your points, nobody ever mentions how hard it is got get people off of FB and ONTO their social media platform.
I remember when this came out and I did like a number of the features over FB. After some, "Hey, Google+ does this so much better than FB, you should swtich to G+!" posts, and nobody switching. I just found some friends used both, but eventually went back to just using FB exclusively.
This has always been the Achilles heel of anybody who wants to compete with FB. It's not about features, it's about how are you going to get all these people, with all of these deep rooted connections, to leave FB and not just join YOUR network, but to stay and bring all their friends in the process.
Insanely, insanely hard.
Facebook was the first of this type of social network to get just about everyone to join. MySpace and Friendster and the like got the kids and the heavy web users but Facebook got your mom and your grandma. They got your boss, your barber, and your barista. They got the people who designed websites and the people who never did anything more complex than pointing at a picture on their iphone to launch an app.
It didn't matter if you or I liked some feature or other on G+ (or another competitor) because you can't just switch platforms like you can switch webmail providers. In order to work, you all have to be on the same platform and a good chunk of the potential userbase will simply never deal with switching platforms. How many people in your family or friend/acquaintance group still use their old hotmail (or AOL) email account? Probably not zero.
So even if they did "build a better Facebook" (which I think they did in many ways) it doesn't matter. A nicer layout and some improved features aren't enough to move the entire user base away from the default option. As long as it's a winner-take-all system, it will take a lot more to replace Facebook. It's more likely to become irrelevant than replaced.
Which, IMHO, means Google didn't understand what it was doing when it started G+.
They just tapped into one of the basic tenets of the human condition; the desire to be connected to another human.
Does this date to TheFacebook (Harvard)?
At some point, it's up to the product. If you can't succeed with that much exposure, the product wasn't right. People didn't get it, didn't care or didn't want it.
Circles (and other ideas, some going back to wave) is more like goals than ideas. The goal is to have different categories of friends to control what you see, and who sees which of your stuff. You still need an idea for achieving that goal.
Google's idea put too many confusing choices in users hands. It's like the difference between Gmail's search-centric UI and outlook's folders.
Folders are great, if everything is in folders. Search works no matter what, no inbox management necessary. The folders that work best, work by default too (updates, promotions, junk...). No sitting down and pondering how one would like to use email.
Google's "idea" for achieving their goals was asking users to think of how they'd like to use this thing they've never used before and do some preparatory work, like categorising friends they might connect to in the future.
Abstract questions are always harder than they seem. Asking users to create abstractions is tricky.
Requires 2 things:
- feature to classifying your followers into circles (unbeknownst to them)
- feature to select target circle for a tweet/retweet/like (or, more comfortable, classify people I follow into the same circle, and making retweets/likes per-circle).
AFAICT, gab.ai does not have anything like this, either.
You can do that already, with lists.
Unfortunately, the UI for lists isn't great, but when you figure out how (it took me long enough), you can view a feed of just people on a certain list or post to just one list if you want.
If your feed is spammy you should unfriend/unfollow the users who you don't want to see.
Microsoft is the biggest offenders in this, since time immemorial, with an almost sad sort of attention-seeking "Look look we made this!" by prefixing every product and service with their name.
Of course I see why they would want to do this; it entices your existing fans to check it out and bolsters confidence.
But the problem is that your company's reputation and "image" is then immediately projected onto your new product before anyone even tries it.
In Microsoft's case it's their sterile 90s-suit-and-tie-office-workplace, wannabe-cool /r/fellowkids image (in my view at least.)
Even Apple does this and it adversely affects their new products too (like Apple Music) for people who hold some kind of brand grudge against them.
I and I'll assume many people use Google out of necessity than any brand loyalty, and in spite of disagreeing with their privacy-hostile core model. If they hadn't bought YouTube and if other search engines were as fast and provided as relevant results (though Google Search has been slowly crapping out in that regard since the past couple years), I would be using no Google products or services.
Google were hardly associated with the word "social" and "Google+" doesn't say anything about anything social. The first impressions of most people when hearing about it very probably did nothing favorable for the service.
 No idea if anyone on the Google team had actually used Lycos Circles but it's not unreasonable to think they might of.
I don't think Facebook will add them, but Diaspora has them.
Oh is diaspora still alive? I would use it, but I'd guess I'd have even fewer friends there than on Google+
Network effect is always going to be a problem. But beyond that, Diaspora is pretty functional. And pretty easy to use - the docs make it look a lot more complicated than it is. It isn't as featureful (no galleries, no events/calendars). If all you want to do is post and share, and have the privacy of Google+'s circles, Diaspora will do it for you.
Facebook already has them...
From my POV, the release was terrible because it let people in too fast. Social networks need to go through a period where only the "cool kids" are there. It creates a network effect. It was kind of impossible to go through that, so being on Google+ conveyed no status...in fact, it kind of did the opposite.
Sadly it seems they've hidden this to push their more tailored feed so they can push whatever ads and things through there aka filter (censor?) your friends posts better.
I still wish these had caught on more, or at least that Facebook hadn't implemented Friend Lists as an answer to this that they all but bury in their UI. It would be a much more tolerable place if they made it easier to use this, but similarly, if you have to categorize people in such a way that you rarely see their posts, what is the point of "keeping in touch" via Facebook in the first place? At least for me, if I don't care enough to see your updates (or at least the memes you like) on my news feed I may not think to look at your profile.
Having circles, which is in essence tags, to place your contacts in is a great feature, but if a social networking site did that and also let you sort them by how meaningful those contacts are to you, it would allow the site to do more meaningful content filtering and promotion, as well as let people express the importance of those contacts within the tagged groups.
I can't think of one piece of Google software, except maybe YouTube that is enjoyable to use or at least decent. Even then, this doesn't exempt Google from being idiots with how they treat content creators on YouTube. Everywhere you look they do some absolutely terrible thing, or some completely incompetent thing.
Take email. I loved Inbox. They killed it. Like most of their acquisitions or other projects, they kill everything. It would make sense if they integrated Inbox features into Gmail mobile and desktop apps and then killed it, but no. They just killed the useful application and kept Gmail an ancient turd of a client the way it is.
So you would think it's no big deal - just switch to another email client. The only problem, they all suck. Edison molests your data unless you opt out of every app install for sharing your email or useage data, and then if you want to scrub your info from their servers (which I'm pretty sure is BS) you can't actually use their app. So... Switch to Spark and it seems decent but you can't do inline images in emails on mobile - only attachments. I need to send customers inline images while on the go so that's the end of Spark. Meanwhile on the Mac you CAN send in-line images. But guess what? The Spark Mac app has every option EXCEPT a taskbar icon and badge count (you can look in your MenuBar but are SOL if you prefer to have it hidden. Next up, AirMail3 is another turd. AirMail3 seemed awesome, but the first time I tried composing a simple email to family it found every damn contact EXCEPT the everyday contact I would use. Maybe it needs to learn over time so I give it some time... Well, it still decides to match every possible iteration of something I search for - for any type of search. I think I'm typing an email from "XXXX YYYYY" and I get back every email or contact from every duration that somehow even every possible match that might include a variation of XX YY.
Jebus. Seriously Google - F U. It's incredible to me that they don't seem to give a S@#$ that they're making people go through all this. People are spend monthly on email clients from some 3rd party that is doing god knows what with our data and Google refuses to improve their own stupid products but also insists on killing any they own that are actually useful.
Forget "Don't be Evil" you clowns, maybe just focus on "Make Uncompromised Products" - Google: you suck at writing decent software applications. Period.
I think Google+ had great marketing and release. Good enough to create a social network with 300 million monthly active users out of thin air.
However the product did not provide enough value for people to keep using it. The circles idea was good, but the improvement is too incremental. I am also wondering if the average user really understood that idea and cared enough to put in the effort to separate their contacts.
I'd say, rather, "out of Gmail account users"
On the other hand, this can enforce echo chambers, but as long as one is aware of that effect (and sadly, most wouldn't care), I really like broadly selecting my audience.
Sounds like you need https://circles.app
It's the reason why I never used Google Plus. And it's the reason why when I had a facebook account I never friended coworkers or professional contacts.
So many old apps and services are just forgotten now, it's hard to prove any claim about who stole what idea. Kind of a shame really, so much of our digital history is effectively unknowable and lost forever.
For most of the posts users would make, users would probably spend more time thinking about which circles to enable than actually writing the post. It's a headache and it leads to a poor experience, it feels like a hurdle, something you must do; it makes posting less natural.
Facebook on the other hand offers the same functionality but it's "buried" so you can use it at your convenience.
How low have we got, capacity wise, when this is even considered "a hurdle"?
At one time, people had to walk to the TV to change the channels...
And before that, they had to have candles and be good with finger shadows to entertain themselves...
I thought g+ circles was a great idea, the reddit webdesign circle taught me I don't care about all of your kids.
Google has ML based version of circle where depending on who is on the photo or whom you have added as recipient it suggests additional recipients.
To me that is a better UX.
a. They don't have to explicitly create circles.
b. If you keep adding someone new or remove someone over a period of time, the model would learn that and act accordingly.
c. If user wants to explicitly create a circle, they can probably do it as a group.
The choice of how to restrict your audience was placed below the 'new post' entry box, and was something you'd usually think about after writing your post. Which was more likely to be a multi-paragraph thing than the short fragments we're so used to tossing off on all the commercial social networks now.
Too bad it failed. I liked g+
I'm not sure why this is harder than choosing an email address to send an email to. Some things I'd share with FAMILY, some things I'd share with EVERYBODY, some things I'd share with MY QUILTING GROUP.
Seems like the easiest thing in the world.
Also seems weird to say that even selecting a group to share to is a massive hurdle, but the fact that facebook buries the same functionality behind 5-6 clicks for each post is convenient. Seems more like it was too easy, and had to be made harder.
The problem is in managing the people in these lists. I haven't found a place where it shows all users I have in a single list. Adding or removing a single user is easy though, as the available lists are available for selection/deselection anywhere you're allowed to change your friend status with that person.
But if you're truly disciplined about this, you never learn that your second cousin is interested in quilting too.
And in many scenarios, there is little reward to being disciplined; unless you're into rather transgressive quilting, you'll probably share your quilting projects with everyone.
The combination of circles and collections is very powerful, though the way G+ implemented it, they do overlap a bit, and don't entirely play well together. Slightly more flexible collections would help a lot.
Heck I wish Facebook forced you to provide at least one tag with each post, just so that we could unfollow e.g baby posts/political posts and then maybe get something useful out of Facebook (my current solution is to unfollow the annoying person, but that is a bit too crude).
Google+ was dead in the water from day one. You don’t beat Facebook at social by building a slightly different product with some cool ideas like Circles. Going for feature parity was a mistake. Instead they should have tried to identify a niche where Facebook was failing (say, intimate private sharing, or the antithesis of the narcissist fest) and build up a loyal core of rabidly passionate users, then slowly expanded from there. Kind of like how Facebook started out as a platform for elite universities, then high schools, then workplaces, then the world.
This approach would have been hard to sell internally at Google given the pressure to release a “Facebook killer.” But people always forget that the way to build a platform is to start by nailing a niche use case and then expanding. Even the Apple App Store only came to dominate because it was based on a hit product, the original iPhone.
Anyway, kudos to Google for finally admitting defeat. Hopefully management learned something and they hire some people who understand humans so that their brilliant engineering capacity doesn’t get wasted again.
It is, however, not the marketing strategy that failed them. G+ was hyped for some time before release and it became a hit since day one.
With the level of attention any Google product gained at that time, there was no need to focus on a niche. The issue were their horrendous decisions in UI and product design as well as feature integration. In short, it was a product for the tech savy user, yet aimed at the mainstream. It wasn't satisfying anyone.
I still can't understand why they would not cap the most valuable resource they had, GMail, GDocs, GCalendar, GReader, etc. Zero integration.
I do agree that there was a missed opportunity to integrate their other awesome products you mentioned. But to me even with those integrated Google+ would have needed a raison d’etre that was substantially different than facebook.
At the same time, the minimalism pervaded the rest of the platform. Instead of giving its users reason to spend time on G+, the site seemed to expect for people to entertain themselves. As such, there was little that drove more activity, connected people, and gave reason to spend time to understand all the features.
One thing I misremembered. There was a serious issue with marketing. They didn't open up to the public for several months. By that time a lot of the hype died down.
If Google had pivoted 180 degrees and offered up a full featured social network with pseudonyms and, like, one other twist so that it wasn't just Myspace, then there's a reason to care about Google+. LinkedIn is facebook for professional identity... There have to be other identities not shown on Facebook that google could have gone after.
So when I got to joining what did it present? Welcome - connect to some famous people. Now add your friends. Not one mention of interests, and I'm not sure they even mentioned circles. So everyone joining was being presented a picture of Facebook.
I didn't last long.
But there was simply not much to do, contrary to what you'd expect with all the other Google services available.
I was still very high on Facebook kool aid at that time. It may have had a bad rep to some people, but this sentiment was years away from reaching people like me.
Note that I am about as much of a Facebook insider as possible without actually having worked there. I personally know most of their top execs, Zuck interviewed me in 2007, turned down a PM offer to join Bebo but stayed close with a number of them for years. I would have loved to be filthy rich with those options, but if I had joined I would feel guilty for the destruction I contributed to.
In fact including wave buzz and orkut, Google had to date at least 4 abandoned forays into the social market.
I'd go so far as to posit Google:social::Microsoft:mobile
As Google Reader history shows, Google does not care about the passionate users.
I basically stopped following most blogs when it shut down, and reverted to individual bookmarks.
Big companies go after niches all the time. Many microbrews are owned by massive multi-national breweries. Huge drug companies chase niches every day. Giant food companies release ethic niche foods every month.
Whomever told you that there isn’t big money in niches or that they’re not worth going after is someone you should stop taking advice from.
AB Inbev, et al isn't targeting a niche by buying microbrews, they're building a portfolio that gives them access to growing and profitable craft brew market that's 1/4th of the total US beer market.
Retail dollar sales of craft increased 8%, up to $26.0 billion,
and now account for more than 23% of the $111.4 billion U.S. beer market.
Google isn’t really in the business of filling small niches. That’s why they kill so many products that have small but passionate user bases. It’s just not worth their time and money so they shut the products down. This is why I can’t see them trying to start with a small social media niche and slowly expand to a bigger market. It’s a great idea; but seems to go against everything they do.
Paired with the missing backward compatibility with email those two are the most important aspects of why Wave failed IMHO.
At least they could incorporate the tech they developed and used for Wave in other products, notably Docs and G+.
Great advice for a YC startup, but not how big companies that already have large user bases operate. Big companies have a metric they want to drive, then look for big opportunities, simply because dominating a “niche” is too small an opportunity to make a dent in a big-company metric like DAU, time spent, etc. If you do want to start with a niche, it can be super hard to justify continued investment from management, given that there are so many other bets that can drive larger near-term changes to metrics.
But there was no feature parity, not even close.
When G+ launched it was more like a tech demo, interest died down when people discovered that there really was not much to do.
They added more features over time, but at that point the hype was already dead.
If I just want to chat with friends I might just a well use a messenger with a group chat.
If it had copied Facebook shamelessly, it would've given an alternative for all those people fed up with Facebook for the last decade or so, and thus increased usage too.
If they had done something different, like say restricted you to X number of friends, for any small X, or focused on groups, or done something anonymous like Secret - now that at least would have been different. It may have still failed but at least it would have been trying to scratch a different itch on the social spectrum.
Doesn't Google Wave live on as Google Docs?
Good Docs had this to a degree before Wave, but it was unpolished. Two people could definitely edit a sheet together, but editing a document was more cumbersome (whole blocks of text would update at once). After Wave, they took the concepts and you could then see everyone editing the document as they typed or simply moved around the document.
Not so much defeat , but more avoiding future liability. They sure could afford to run it , but under the current circumstances, a data leak like the one they claim they didn't have would be very damaging to their image and their moneymakers.
...right. Hence, them finally “admitting defeat” which you objected to for some reason in your previous comment.
To me it seems like google is forcing more and more on selling services rather than user information.
#1, they're shutting it down to avoid a massive backlash after being hacked, because otherwise they might steal the crown of "most disreputable Big Tech co" from Facebook, which could begin to affect their stock price much like it has Facebook's.
#2, they are making inroads in every other part of their business sacrificing user privacy for nebulous features/benefits. See the recent debacle over Chrome auto-sign in. They basically tried to change the definition of Chrome from "it's a browser" to "it's Google" without anybody noticing.
Not particularly consistent with a company ostensibly moving away from a business model relying on targeted advertising.
The median Googler works there for something like 1.1 years, and gets recruited straight out of college. Combine this with the fact that Larry Page almost immediately abdicated after being handed back the reins from Eric Schmidt around this time, and a lot of other influential old timers like Marissa Mayer are long gone, it's no small wonder, I guess, that the sensibilities and follow-through of early Google are dead.
This is a ridiculous claim and should be discarded without sources. Do you have any?
It would have been better if they had competitors to keep them honest.
I really admire Apple here a lot more than Google. They seem to have a stronger sense of who they are and who they are not.
My take is, they were justified in going for it, but it’s simply not in their DNA. Social information is different from the non-human information where Google dominates (eg search, maps, etc).
I do share your admiration for Apple vs Google. But I wonder how long they will be able to keep it up without a Jobsian product visionary to define their identity. Tim Cook is doing a good job so far but there is only so long they can coast on iPhone dominance and strong operations. Apple’s identity revolves around defining the future, and I’m not sure they still have that ability.
Kind of describes Google Wave in a sense - private collaboration and passionate users. But it couldn't expand out of that niche set of users/use-cases.