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Google+ Opens to All (googleblog.blogspot.com)
300 points by Umalu on Sept 20, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 175 comments

The fact that dozens of comments think 90 days is too long for a service to be invite only shows we are really in a instant gratification news bubble here. 90 days! People act like we are talking about Chinese Democracy or Duke Nukem Forever here (not to mention that for about 80 of those days getting in was merely a five minute search process for anyone who really cared).

The majority of comments here are about too long of an invite window, nymwars, and Google Apps. While I appreciate those are important issues for people, acting like they are going to kill Google+ is extremely shortsighted and uninteresting. They are about as much of a factor in Google+'s success as the quality of the concession stands at Fenway to the Red Sox's success.

You can't simultaneously have an invite system and a huge marketing push. It's like pretending that you are classy and telling a lot of people that they are not part of the crowd you consider good enough to make it through the front door.

You have one chance to launch a service like this for a large audience. If you want to do an invite only private beta to get the kinks out then you would probably have to do that under a different name. Once you associate the google brand with it people expect it to work and expect it to work at scale.

Anything less is blowing your first impression. 90 days to wait to try a new service? People are simply not going to wait that long, they might have tried it in the first week but three months is a relatively long period to feel left out, that's a negative first impression. It takes a lot of work to undo a negative first impression.

As for google+ not going to be killed, they did it to wave and plenty of other products that did not attract enough users to be good enough for google, why would google+ be different, especially with a purposefully slowed down launch like this? That only increases the chance.

> You can't simultaneously have an invite system > and a huge marketing push.

I don't think Google has done a huge marketing push, yet, considering how big a product this is for them.

They've done little press and haven't bought advertising online or in the real world - something they did for Chrome. They've so far done pretty much the minimum a company of such scale could do for a product this big. It was inevitable that a lot of people would want to join as soon as they heard of Google's plans.

I have a feeling that the marketing push is very much still to come.

> I have a feeling that the marketing push is very much still to come.

sign out of google services and go to google.com If everyone gets that little arrow, that's a pretty big marketing push...

Which happened on the same day they are dropping invite-only, correct?

> You can't simultaneously have an invite system and a huge marketing push.

What huge marketing push? All Google did was post a blog about it and send out some invites.

I never signed up for +1, yet I saw +1 buttons next to all my search results. While not a TV or radio ad blitz, that is a form of marketing.

+1 isn't the same as Google+

+1 is a social recommendation and bookmarking service integrated into 3rd party websites and Google's search. It is orthogonal to Google+ (although both Google+ and +1 use the same social graph).

I guess I'm suffering from internet burnout, but I wasn't paying attention to the differentiation between Google+ and Google's +1. If they're not related then that's a really poor naming strategy.

I guess it is everybody else's fault but yours?

I think they are deliberately meant to be similar.

Mea culpa, Obi Wan.

A couple of levels up I mistakenly thought that the +1 buttons next to my search results were an early buzz effort for Google+. I thought "recommend this page" implied "recommend this page to my friends on Google+". I made that mistake because of the name similarity and the timing of release. If a marketer introduces an ambiguity, I don't think it's the responsibility of the target to disambiguate the message.

Whether on purpose or not, it's all very confusing: Google+, +1, Buzz, I still don't know which of those is supposed to do what and which of them is here to stay for the long term.

I was desperately looking for a way to add posts to my Google+ stream (like a tumble blog) from Firefox and I kept getting ways to +1 stuff, which does end up in Google +1, but hidden away and, grotesquely, with no way to even promote it to a full post.

And then there's these odd news feed like topics you can subscribe to in Plus -- which I guess might work if you're interested in sports or whatever, but I just keep wishing I could use it as a link to the similar-but-different Reader. Incidentally, what happens if you star something in Reader, does it +1 it, Buzz it, or is that another way of socially promoting it?

Don't forget Orkut(google owned) and Google Social Network (not 100% sure of the name) which is tightly integrated with blogger.

On a side, yet related, note: did anyone had a google email account in the late 90s? Long before gmail, google had an email service, it was by far the worst email service I've used, full of bugs, many long downtimes and countless other issues.

The truth hardly matters if users see it differently.

Yes, that's true - and I think in this case Google benefits from that.

If web users associate the +1 buttons with Google+ then it is free advertising for Google+.

Yes tech blogs went nuts over it, but I don't remember seeing any actual organized Google marketing push on it. If that were to happen, Google would likely be targeting people outside of the tech community.

Those ninety days felt like forever, and it's because they kept opening and closing the invite windows seemingly at random. There were a lot of false starts and stops -- confusing the users on the inside, and frustrating the users on the outside.

On any given week, for instance, the floodgates would appear to be randomly open or randomly closed, and I'd send out a small trickle of invites while I could. I would have little indication of when the gates opened and closed, so eventually, I just stopped bothering trying to invite people.

Needless to say, this did not make for a robust graph. Sure, I had my "inner" circles up and running just fine. But whenever I wanted to broadcast something -- in the true sense of that word -- I'd have to go back to Facebook for the bigger friend set.

At the end of the day, you can't toy with people on the inside or outside of a product like this. Users on the inside want their friends inside. And users on the outside want in, to be with their friends. The seemingly capricious, chaotic, and extended open/closed period really caused an inordinate amount of frustration for both groups. Social networking is about one's social network, and when people already had extant social networks, they were extremely anxious to port those networks over.

[Bear in mind that I remain a loyal G+ user and really do believe it's a great product. I just think the extended beta was a bit too extended, and bit too schizophrenic in its betaness.]

If it's true that the widespread HN resentment over Google Apps[1] and other issues is overblown, then you must consider that the widespread HN excitement over Circles and privacy features is irrelevant. Regular users don't care.

[1] And you can count me as another victim, here. I'm frankly dumbfounded that they'd keep thumbing their noses at the users over this, and I can't believe they either 1) still didn't understand that this would be the first thing folks commented on or 2) don't think it's important. To me it just smacks of unprofessionalism.

I think people are convinced that services must blow up immediately to be relevant. They forget that even Facebook took time to grow. I remember when it first opened to people outside of colleges and I was an early adopter, there were literally maybe only 30 people on Facebook I knew. I think Google+ is going to be a success and the reason for that is because of the integration with other Google services, as the platform matures people are going to find little reason to stick with Facebook or other services when G+ will have all their friends plus integration into all the Google services.

Facebook did blow up in select circles though right from the get-go. When it hit college campuses it spread like wildfire as there were no restrictions to entering and you could have all your close, daily contacts together in one place instantly. Google+ let me and 5 other friends in but prevented me from inviting others and now it's basically dead with the last post between any of us over a month old.

The overall number of users in the system isn't something important, it's how many users I know. A network with 10,000 users at Harvard will spread out much faster than one with 10m dotted around the US as it represents a contiguous userbase that is a solid foundation for social interaction.

i think you hit the button. there are a large group of people who are only aware of G+ in the periphery. But as people migrate to G+ and android phones become more prevalent, people will go with "integrated ease" it def has enough features so far to pique the layman's interest. not to mention as lil kids get on the internet do they want to be on their "parent's social site" or go to the hip new one?

Whether or not 90 days is an excessive amount of time for a service to be invite-only depends greatly on the nature of the service. For a social network any amount of time spent in invite-only mode is a huge problem because the value of the service is directly proportional to both the willingness and the ability of your social contacts to also join the service.

On Google+ I've got 100+ people who have me in circles, but they are all hardcore geek early adopter net-fiends like myself. Very little of my real friends and family social circle is on Google+... many were interested when I explained it but have since lost interest due to their initial inability to join when the service was the hot new thing.

On Google+ I've got 100+ people who have me in circles, but they are all hardcore geek early adopter net-fiends like myself. Very little of my real friends and family social circle is on Google+... many were interested when I explained it but have since lost interest due to their initial inability to join when the service was the hot new thing.

This was exactly my experience with Google+.

I think you're right, the invite window doesn't matter, but like the first 100 days of a presidency, it's a solid enough chunk of time to think about what Google+ has accomplished, and I would argue that the answer is "not much."

The invite window won't kill G+, but apathy will. About a fifth of my Facebook friends are on it, but only 3 out of a hundred post anything. A successful competitor would need to stand for something other than "well, it's not Facebook."

It may find a niche as a long-form twitter (which is something I can't believe Facebook waited so long to do) but the initial excitement has run its course.

Just FWIW, I used Google+ for 2 weeks or so. Then I got bored and went back to Facebook. I think 90 days is certainly enough time to lose any early momentum you had.

Same with me.

Except for going back to Facebook. :) I got bored with that after about 2 weeks, too.

Exactly the same here. Still check it infrequently but all I see is tumbleweed.

I agree. What do you think are the important issues? Mine are:

- APIs (looks like there's significant progress)

- Open-source/open standards/federation (nothing yet)

(I think the second one would really sort of take care of the nymwars and the Google Apps issues, too.)

I've got a ton of feature requests, but those two are what I would consider serious/disruptive.

Regarding the first (APIs), yes, we recently launched several Google+ Platform features, such as phase one of the Google+ API last week and today's announcement of the Google+ Hangouts API. Visit http://developers.google.com/+ to get started.

Regarding the second ("open"), we're taking our usual approach, building on open protocols wherever we can, and creating them when we have to. In this case, Activity Streams and Portable Contacts, with no doubt more to come as we launch new platform features.

As far as federation goes, love it, though one step at a time of course. Let's get the product itself off the ground and stable (today's open signups is a big step toward that) and we'll see what people want to do with it as a platform.

Thanks, Joe! The feedback is always appreciated.

Thanks, Dewitt! I love what you guys are doing, and I'm glad to hear some acknowledgement of an open and federated future for G+. I'm happy to be patient, but I was a bit worried since the launch seemed distinctly different in approach from Buzz and Wave. But I think nailing down the user experience first is probably a good idea.

I'm alarmed that the comments here are so bitter. Am I the only one who's had a positive experience with G+ so far? (Is my perception rose-tinted because I really, really want Facebook to die?)

The new Hangout stuff is great, and the addition of screen sharing has now obviated my need to use Skype. Maybe when On Air opens up I'll be able to broadcast my programming sessions.

I love Google+. I have an Android phone and an Android tablet. I live in Google's world and I love it. I'm very excited to use the new Hangouts, too! However, my girlfriend has an Apps account. So our online lives are now totally separate - I don't see anything she posts on Facebook and she doesn't see anything I post on G+.

And that's where a lot of the bitter comes from. Google's built an amazing product that many of us want to use, but they've screwed up a lot of "small", separate things - so that pretty much everyone has been hurt by a policy, be it the Real Name Fiasco, No Paid Users Fiasco, No Friends Allowed Without Invites Fiasco, etc. It seems like they went out of their way to piss off every single user in a different way.

I love the product Google+, but I can't stand how they're handling it.

I dunno, I think most of those are hot air from a relatively small number of outspoken people. Not letting me just get everyone I care about onboard in my initial flurry of enthusiasm was probably a blunder, though. Hopefully everyone will get onboard in the initial excitement of my other friends.

I used to be very excited when G+ launched, and try to get all my friends on board.

I want Facebook to die, and it seemed Google understood that they can't afford to anger their users with Facebook-like policies -- when they're so far behind as it is.

Then came the Real Name or We Delete Your Online Life stories. That truly angered me, and I no longer advocate Google+ to any of my friends.

In a discussion[0] in the early days of G+, I said:

My wife has always been an intermittent Facebook user, because she was never sure how private anything was, and the periodic UI changes confused her. She's perfectly intelligent and reasonably technically savvy, but not a huge tech nerd, and not willing to invest time into figuring out all the nuances of FB. So I was really surprised when, after trying Google+ for a few days, she said, "I think this is really going to make my family closer." I don't know if there's a better measure of success for a social networking service than that.

Since then, she's continued to intermittently use Facebook, but has become something of a G+ evangelist to her friends, which I've never seen her do before, at least not for a tech product.

[0]: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2751696

Agreed. The bandwagoning at hacker news has always been bad, but it seems to have gotten much worse over the last year or two. Some of it may just be sampling error: the rise of Android has made Google the "bad guy" to a lot of the Apple nuts here (and likewise some of Apple's recent actions have turned off the free software and civil liberties people), so we're noticing it because it's splitting the community.

Just chiming in to say that I've had a thoroughly positive experience my own self. I always felt Hangouts was a more meaningful difference than Circles (though the broadcast model worked wonders: I circle interesting people and I'm not required to circle people back). The ability to open up your video to a couple of friends (or a hundred, as some of my friends do) is rather nice for saying hi randomly.

I'm looking forward to using G+ Hangouts on my phone.

Overall, (and, forgive me, since I'm going relatively OT here) I've noticed a lot of hostility towards Google in every Google post. I've not been with HN for too long, so I don't know if this is what partially defines HN, but I'm starting to get irked by it.

I think that there is a perception that Google is turning to the "dark side", whether true or not. Recent examples include: Android isn't open enough, Google wallet is going to be used to track you, G+ puts you at risk of losing your Gmail account, and so on. I happen to agree some of the points that get raised regarding Google. Whether or not they're "bad guys", is something I'll leave for others to decide.

To me it seems like HN comments have been getting more hostile in general. More often than not the topmost comments on a link now are pretty negative (in my subjective opinion).

There is a dark side to overly positive thinking. I'd settle for mostly positive with reservations and open discussion.


I really saw the hostility start to show when Google required "real names" with G+. Before that I don't recall as much hostility; at least not more than any other large company would receive.

I agree with many of these replies, but I also think that Google was held to a higher standard because of their populist "Don't be evil" mantra, and every time they act like a big publicly owned corporation (which they are), it comes off as personally offensive and disingenuous.'

Apple gets away with it because they've always kind of admitted they were assholes/auteurs.

I think a lot of it has to do with the HN love for Apple. HN used to love Google until they became Apple's enemy #1.

What I find more disturbing is the influx of Microsoft friendly commenters. Articles on various MS products are frequent and receive a lot of praise.

Articles that point out how MS is crippling innovation through extortion of Linux users receive relatively little attention.

Google is an extremely open company (with respect to user data and user rights as well as contributions to open source software). However, most comments about Google products and contributions seem to take the most negative view possible. Case in point, today's article on Richard Stallman's comments on Android focused on how he was critical of Android, mostly ignoring that he said "Android is a major step towards an ethical, user-controlled, free-software portable phone..." Android is still the most open major platform out there. It's put Linux on millions of devices.

> Android is still the most open major platform out there. It's put Linux on millions of devices.

If you want to do crazy stuff on your iPhone you jailbreak it. If you want to do crazy stuff on your average Android you root it. How does using Linux alone make something 'more open'?

I also think that most metrics for being "open" are missing the big point about the cloud. Yeah, maybe Google's business code is written in FOSS tech and they give people a FOSS browser and one or two FOSS mobile OS to use their services. Where's the practical open-ness for the end user? It's still a cloud ecosystem, the one thing that is worse than a closed-source desktop ecosystem.</rant>

I think the "Apple love" comes from timing. Y combinator and HN itself really came into their own around the same time as when the iPhone was born. So you have a boat load of hungry entrepreneurs and a brand new hyper popular tech that gives them a very clean shot at a startup with a simple business plan: "We'll do X for the iPhone". No matter how mundane or boring X may be it was a wonderful business plan to sell. Then on comes Google and makes everything complicated again - no more one OS, one plan, tiny team etc. Android makes everything harder for these entrepreneurs many of whom had limited Mac oriented skill sets. And at the same time as it does that, it seems less lucrative into the bargain. Google killed the iPhone entrepreneur's dream. I think some amount of bitterness comes from this.

> Is my perception rose-tinted because I really, really want Facebook to die?


...almost everyone.

"Google+ is not yet available for Google Apps. Learn More."

I should have known better than to get my hopes up...

This. They must have really backed themselves into a corner somehow when they were building Google Profiles. I. Will. Not. Open. A. Secondary. Account. Ever.

I had my Gmail account way before they even introduced Apps accounts, let alone before I migrated my company mail to Google Apps.

So, let me tell you this: You made a good decision. While dealing with multiple accounts on the desktop is annoying, it's utterly terrible on mobile because their slow-as-hell multiple sign-in feature doesn't work on mobile.

Yeah. While on the desktop it's annoying but not that much of a hassle to sign out and back in, it's terrible to having to do that on a phone - especially once you enable two factor authentication.

Before they "fixed" (note the quotes) the apps accounts so they can use (not quite) all of google's services, I could at least stay signed in with both accounts. Not any more.

This ended up with me having two browsers, one for plus, reader and all other google services I had much prior to creating the apps account and one for reading mail in gmail.

Yes. I could migrate to an Android phone. Been there. Done that. Multiple times. I really tried. Over two years on and off.

While Gmail works much better, everything else is just full of paper cuts and annoys the hell out of me over time, so I'd rather stay with the iPhone.

So. If anybody from Google is seeing this, I admit it freely, rant: Please, please, please, please fix this.

At least give us multiple sing-on on your mobile apps, at best let us stay signed in with multiple accounts at once or, alternatively, give us the Android Gmail app on iOS (it's not much more than a website anyways).

What's worse is that since "fixing" the apps accounts I now have different services signed up with both my apps and (empty, useless) gmail account. I have to play a guessing game and hope I'm logged in to the right one to find what I need.

To improve the situation on the desktop for you, enable multiple profiles in about:flags in Chrome.

I actually keep Atomic Browser installed on my iOS devices, and sign in with my work account there and my personal GMail account in Safari.

Indeed. It's tough to be a fan of Google's when they do this to paying Apps users with every new product.

Part of the reason I would imagine is the SLA they have with paying customers:

> 99.9% uptime guarantee SLA and 24x7 support"

I would imagine they will only open up new services once they believe they can meet the SLA on them. As a paying apps customer I am miffed on how long this takes though.

According to http://groups.google.com/group/google-plus-developers/browse...

We should star the following issue: http://code.google.com/p/google-plus-platform/issues/detail?...

Apparently, no-one had thought to let Google know that this is a needed feature (despite Googlers posting once in a blue-moon about this issue over on the discussion groups).

I tried to star that issue, but Google Code doesn't support Google Apps accounts, either.

I've starred it fine with my google apps account. You do have to create a 'code' account first though IIRC. Similar to how you have to create a 'Blogger' account despite them using a Google Account.

I thought this trend would have stopped when they integrated google apps with regular google services. I guess not. I still have yet to try G+ because of this.

I think they will eventually have this option. Considering how important G+ is for Google, I don't see how they can keep the Apps folks in a ghetto much longer.

The big question is, whether they integrate circles in a special Apps-specific way (ie, default circle, private shared circles -- assuming "shared circles" are upcoming, etc)... some Apps domain owners (big orgs, gov) may NOT WANT G+ inclusion for their flock.

Administrators can already enable/disable specific Google services for their domain. G+ & Google Profiles should be no different.

I went and deleted my google apps for my domain account and just forwarded my email to my gmail account because of this. It was just too painful having two accounts.

So. Incredibly. Frustrating.

...and even more restrictive than that.

"You must be over a certain age to use this feature."

Too late, guys.

Facebook is already copying the features that make G+ cool/useful (circles, etc), and the one big, inherent advantage you had in your favor (Your user base, e.g every Google account) you alienated by keeping it "invite only" for too long.

Either open it to everyone sooner, or hold off on this prolonged "invite period" so you don't risk confusing / alienating people that want to try G+ but can't.

G+ feels like its the same 10 guys posting the same thing over and over, while Facebook feels like, well.. Facebook.

It would be wise to note that G+ achieved 10 million+ users in a matter of weeks. Comparing Facebook and Google+ along similar time frames shows that Google+ is doing phenomenally well.

The comparisons aren't really that important (to me at least). It's possible that these products can (and will) coexist. What is with the need to pronounce a winner as soon as possible? A product like Google+ is going to take a while to gain a user base and mature (just like Facebook). Launching in the shadow of a massive competitor (just like Facebook did VS MySpace) doesn't call for an instant death-knell.

I'll repeat something I've said here before. People said the same thing about Chrome weeks after it launched. It. Took. Time. How about sitting back and letting things shake out a bit before pontificating?

The rapid growth of Google Plus compared to Facebook isn't really a valid comparison. When you are the number one site on the Internet (probably #1 or #2 email provider too?) and you add a new black bar to every page letting people know about your service, it's no surprise you gain X million users overnight. I agree with your thoughts that it's too early to count G+ as a failure just yet, but something about their rollout did cause it to lose steam. Most of my Facebook friends are aware G+ exists now... they just don't know why they should check it in addition to Facebook. It's the same problem any future search competitor has to Google, you have to be an order of magnitude better for people to switch.

We agree. Hence my statement:

> The comparisons aren't really that important (to me at least).

IIRC correctly Yahoo mail is still a larger provider of email addresses than gmail, maybe hotmail too.

Of those 10m users there are only 5 that I know. If they had opened G+ up to all current Gmail accounts and Apps accounts they could have made a huge impact, there was enormous buzz around my college campus (where everyone had an Apps for Education account) but nobody could get in. When FB opened itself up to non .edu accounts it had swept my school in weeks because there was no barrier to entry and people wanted to try it out. Even though there were far fewer users on FB then than G+ now you had social circles joining en masse creating a foundation for a usable network. For most younger people your group of friends likely joined all around the same time, which couldn't happen with G+.

Instead of universal limits on access, Google should have kept the first iteration a truly closed and internal beta then opened it up to everyone.

Agreed. I wouldn't use Google+, I would also recommend to everyone I know that they never use Google+. The implications of loosing my gmail account over a trivial name change are just too seemingly random and risky. It's just not worth it.

Facebook won by default. Google+ had a chance, it really could have succeeded, but something went terribly wrong with it's management. Piss poor execution and hints that Google is really struggling to find good talent to run it's new enterprises.

I don't follow your logic there. If you don't trust Google with your GMail account, why is losing it such a risk? Use a different provider or host your own mail if that's a serious concern. If you do trust them with your mail, then why don't you trust the same decision makers with your friend list?

It's pretty clear to me that the account freezing thing was a mistake, and one acknowledged by everyone, including Google. It won't happen again, at least in that form. Facebook has made similar goofs, and both companies will screw other things up in the future.

Honestly, this seems like after-the-fact reasoning. You've decided to cheer for the Facebook team, and went hunting for an argument.

For the record I consider Facebooks UI dated. It's ripe for a serious competitor to come along and take a slice.

GMail by itself is fine. I do nothing that would cause it to be shutdown and I have not heard of anyones gmail being shutdown by using it. What I do have a problem with is taking on additional services which add little value to me personally, yet massively increase the risk of my very important email account being seemingly randomly chosen for closure with little chance of appeal. Google had one chance to win everyone over and it failed.

To be perfectly blunt about it, I think Microsoft could actually do it. If they put together a great new-tech team and pulled something together I think they could be a serious competitor to Facebook. Embed within win8 with no BS and I would sign-up in a flash. It's funny how its come full circle, but right now, Microsoft are the only tech company I would trust not to delete my important work at seemingly random and to respect my privacy and that of my data.

With all due respect, that makes no sense whatsoever. You're saying you trust Google never to shut down your gmail account under any circumstances imaginable, except for the case where you get your name wrong in google+, in which case you totally don't trust them at all and would never recommend using them.

... wat? Either you trust Google or you don't. What does Google+ have to do with it (other than being the handle on which you've hung your argument)?

Google will suspend your profile, not your account. So GMail should be safe.

See last item of: http://www.google.com/support/plus/bin/answer.py?hl=en&a...

Remember, there are those of us for whom Facebook has not only lost, but it was never in the race in the first place. Personally, I value my privacy more than any feature Facebook has to offer. Facebook has shown a history of being outright hostile towards privacy.

They will never be an option. Privacy is not only about performance, but about trust. Facebook is not trustworthy.

I agree with your reasoning. Everything you do on Google+ can be flagged, and you're at risk of losing your Gmail account by using Google+. Even a name change could put your whole account in jeopardy.

The worst part is there's very little you can do to give your side of the story. Their judgements are practically final unless you're sleeping with a Google employee who can have an internal chat to clear your name. But like I said, right now, you couldn't pay me to sign up to Google+. If it ever becomes mandatory, I'm moving my emails out.

I recommend setting up a local mail client (say Mail on the Mac, Thunderbird etc.). I just recently did this; the rationale being that I'd at least get to keep my e-mails and contacts. So even if GMail conks out or they throw me out for whatever reason, the situation won't be that bad. I think Google's a great company that provides really important services, but I'd rather hedge my bets than rely on them completely.

That is incorrect. Name policy violations can result in your Google+ profile being suspended, but nothing at all will happen to your Gmail or other services.

Gmail accounts only get shut down if the user is a spammer, or under 13 (blame the law), or some other extreme circumstance like that. Having a non-"real" name will not cause that.

I know they say this, but I don't trust them that they'd ban you here but not there. I'd rather avoid it and know my Gmail account is 100% secure (or as close as it can be).

For all their other faults, Google at least tries to protect privacy and keeps after data export too. Those are two key attributes that are important to me.

Facebook has had privacy since the very beginning. Only friends can see what you post, by default.

I don't know about your experience, but for me there was a period when my privacy controls kept resetting to different defaults, as well as adding categories of sharing that defaulted to very open settings.

Yep that is how I remeber it as well.

Disagree. Social networks are a social trend, they will all make a cycle. Google will attract a large number of people with old and tired facebook accounts with 5000 people they barely know. The freshness effect is significant, it's the online equivalent of moving to a new city. However, google+ still feels geeky, there are many corners that need to be rounded to make it feel like a fun place for everyone. Playing the "better privacy" card is not enough. I also suspect there will be a significant migration of Moms who will flock to start again their favorite games on the g+ platform.

yup, I agree. Part of me thinks Google needs some crazy PR gimmick to get G+ long-term traction. You can't do with feature like Circles(I mean, seriously?) You're Google, go out and do something CRAZY that will get America talking about, and all the news outlet buzzing about it. I don't care if you're an engineer-oriented company. If you wanna compete with Facebook, do something absurd.

When has a PR gimmick ever translated into long-term success for a social network? I can't think of any instance of this.

Google+ failed because they weren't fast enough at implementing ways to migrate my data from facebook.

Facebook's API is very, very easy to crawl around. Why was there not an option within G+ to migrate all of my data (my pictures, my status updates, etc.) from facebook to google?

Personally I ended up writing a set of tools to do this...but why did I have to? Google, what the hell?

I mean...cool product, terrible implementation.

That particular ball may have been dropped in Facebook's (policy) court, not Google's.

The whole "real names" fiasco[1] diminished my excitement for the platform.

1: http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2011/08/04/real-na...

that's still not been fixed, has it?

I find this quite funny considering they are doing a world-wide unveiling of one of their new Hangout features with such a profile: https://plus.google.com/u/0/109351399938437494273/posts

You're missing the point, I think. "will.i.am" is a stage name, not an anonymous handle. Whatever you think of the validity of the rule, surely you agree that its spirit is to make sure you can always clearly associate the account with the real person it belongs to. Surely you agree that the existing name achieves that better than "William James Adams, Jr.", right?

They don't accept "the name most people know you by" either unless you're special enough. Look at Skud. http://infotrope.net/2011/07/22/ive-been-suspended-from-goog...

The point was more subtle than that. It's not merely "most people" in this case, it's a public account for a celebrity. The overwhelming majority of people, and essentially all of the target market, have no earthly idea what his real name is and don't care.

Regardless of what you think about whether this is a good or bad rule (and I tend to agree it's a bad one), no one is served under any interpretation of the rule by disallowing celebrities from posting under their stage names.

Basically, if it's an exception to the rule, then it's a sane and well-justified one. If it's a subtle edge case, then so be it. I think it makes very bad evidence of hypocrisy on Google's part.

They changed how they punish infringing accounts and then Schmidt said that they have to have real identities in order for planned future products built on top of Google+ to work.

Why is everyone complaining about Apps accounts not being able to sign up? It says right on the "features" page http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/business/features.html "99.9% uptime SLA" which means that if they add a service with less than 99.9% uptime, they're going to lose money. They haven't even finished writing Google+ for normal users, there's no way they can make promises about support yet.

Edit: according to this, you're not even logging in to the same service. http://www.google.com/support/accounts/bin/static.py?page=gu... That's... not optimal.

Others have pointed out that the SLA isn't an issue. As for the separate service thing, there was a recent transition that was supposed to rectify this, merging the Apps and regular accounts services. The page you link to is about the need to remedy clashes caused by this transition.

During this process, users who maintained secondary accounts were encouraged to merge them into their Apps account. I used to have two accounts, one for Apps services on my own domain, and another for things like Reader. I now only have one, my Apps account, because the accounts clashed and had to be merged.

So the doubly galling thing about this Google+ farrago is that a) it proves that the accounts transition did not in fact stop Apps accounts being second-class citizens, but also b) most of us no longer have our secondary accounts, because we merged them at Google's insistence.

Add to this several years of teeth-grinding annoyance at the incompatibilities between Google Apps and the rest of the Google world, and, well, that's why people are complaining. :-)

Non-apps services aren't subject to the same SLA. If you go into the domain management UI, they are very explicit about this.

But then I have to imagine that the tentacles of all these services intertwine in such a way that introducing G+ to Apps may not only cause G+ to fail but also supported Apps services.

I don't think that's the reason. 99.9% uptime is plenty. Uptime in SLA is defined as "Monthly Uptime Percentage", which is explained as follows (http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/terms/sla.html):

"Monthly Uptime Percentage" means total number of minutes in a calendar month minus the number of minutes of Downtime suffered in a calendar month, divided by the total number of minutes in a calendar month.

For average month of length 30.4 days (~43776 minutes in total) that means acceptable downtime of 437.something minutes or 7 hours of combined unavailability.

Minding all of that, there is also a term "Google Apps Covered Services", which is explained as:

"Google Apps Covered Services" means the Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Docs, Google Groups and Google Sites components of the Service. This does not include the Gmail Labs functionality, Google Apps - Postini Services, Gmail Voice or Video Chat components of the Service.

So, legally speaking, there is no uptime guarantee for Google+.

…that means acceptable downtime of 437.something minutes or 7 hours of combined unavailability…

You're off by one power-of-10: 43776*(100%-99.9%) = 43.8 minutes of acceptable downtime.

I find it interesting that out of ~50 comments in supposedly early adopter crowd, there is not a single positive comment about Google+. As much as I want them to succeed, this looks like a pretty bad sign.

And yes, I am one of those who cannot participate with my Google Apps account.

I really wanted to like G+ too, but I think most news.yc users have migrated their email in one forum or another to Google Apps... muchly because it was the perfect thing for us bleeding edge users who fell in love with Gmail to be able to use a properly branded address for our mail.

This is like the person that plays 'hard to get' for 15 years, then finds out everybody's taken.

Windows of opportunity come and they go just as fast. Google+ had a chance, I think they've missed their connection.

I've been using Google+ since it was first made available, I've got may main personal account on there, and several accounts for fake persona's and a business account for my business (still hasn't been tagged or removed by Google for not being a real name).

The only people who I've seen are affected by the "nymwars" seem to be celebrity accounts or people that like to go by pen names on social networks. With my various fake accounts I have had no issues yet, most likely because they don't get a ton of traffic and fly under the radar. It is not like Facebook hasn't had these issues either, whereby they will lock people out of their account until they send in a photo ID (locking out out of your Facebook mail/text messaging stuff as well).

I keep hearing stories about how people consider it a desert or that certain articles and stories are claiming that there is 40% less activity. I've noticed that I have started to become more careful as to who gets to see my posts and if they are allowed to share them. More information is shared in specific circles rather than publicly. I've also found that there is much more engagement on Google+ than any other social service.

When I post something on Google+ I get more feedback, more people commenting on my posts and more people having intelligent discourse than on Facebook or Twitter, or even my blog. Since I can target specific circles I am able to categorise my friends based on what I think they would be interested in, so instead of having non-tech friends get techy stuff from me and thus becoming disinterested they only get my personal stuff that they might find interesting, like how it is going in my life.

Yes, Facebook has had that for a while as well, however it was always more tedious to set it up, get people into the various circles, and now that it has been made easier they have cocked it up royally:


For me so far Google+ has become more interesting, more targeted and has much less noise compared to the signal. Will that change as more people join? Maybe, I'm not so sure, as I think people will realise that with circles they don't have to include me in a conversation (nor will it show up in my stream) with a mutual friend... (public walls ...)

About posting techy stuff: what do you when you don't want to bother your non-tech friends with posts like that, but you _do_ want all the people (that you don't know) following you to be able to read these posts? Have you manually put everyone of those in a circle as well?

I post very little in public, I try to keep it to a minimum, I don't think it is fair to dominate a single persons stream. If and when I do want to publicly post something I do so knowing that everyone gets to see it, including those in my tech circles.

I just get more selective of what posts I do that with. Generally I try to keep it short, or just a link to a blog post so that it is easier to skim over it and realise that it is not of interest.

Google+'s feature of allowing people to mute a post is absolutely fantastic as well, and allows people to control whether or not their stream gets my content that is actively being commented on.

Would I love a feature that would allow me to post publicly but not include certain circles (or rather, not force it into their stream), absolutely. Have some way of doing soft suggestions when posting publicly, as in, this circle may be interested in it, and those following me may be interested in it, but my family isn't interested in it so don't push it to their stream.

Is anyone actually using Plus? My stream is so dead I don't even bother checking it anymore. It's a ghost town over there.

my stream is dead too. I've since left.

I do. It's not that busy but even with just a couple of active friends it's fun to use. Just like Twitter three years ago.

Google+ Opens to All other than for people with google app accounts...

Except for Google Apps users

It's pretty astonishing that this is still not fixed. Some of the most enthusiastic evangelists for Google products are locked out of Plus.

Really bizarre oversight.

Could you please explain what this means? The blog post says that anyone can join the project.

You can host Google Apps on your own domain, like s.archer@isis.org, but you can't register for a G+ account using that email address. You can only use gmail addresses, and not everyone uses or wants to use a gmail address as their primary account.

I actually set up another Google profile using an email account managed by Apps, and this works fine for me. But it's not the solution I want since you have to switch users whenever you want to use Plus.

It's advantageous to have them on separate accounts in case you are arbitrarily banned from Google Plus. This way it has no chance of affecting your other services. It would devastate me if I lost my main email.

Awesome Sterling Archer reference! http://archer.wikia.com/wiki/Sterling_Archer

Although it's unclear that Archer is set in the modern day and would have access to Google.

<< The characters wear 1960s clothing and hair styles and several episodes feature references to the Soviet Union as a current nation (the episode "Movie Star" hinges on the assassination of "the new Soviet Premier"). The technological sophistication within the series varies, with characters using computers that are dated i.e. reel-to-reel mainframe systems, dot-matrix printers and punchcards, yet also use cell phones, GPS devices, laser gunsights, and modern day insults (such as "suck it", "screw you", and "douche bag"). Adam Reed was asked about the conflicting style, and concluded, "I just think it's ill-defined." >>


Google offers a service called Google Apps. With this service, you can use a branded subset of their products at a non-Google domain. For example, you could use Gmail with a bob@mycompany.com address.

Because Google Apps is largely targeted at business/enterprise customers, it takes a while for some new updates and products to make their way into it; presumably the lag time is so that the the paid product can be kept as stable as possible.

Google+ first didn't let me to use a different name for my account, and then showed me a nice dialog, in words to this effect: "do you want to link Picasa to your account? (yes) (cancel Google+ account creation)"

So long, Google+

Picasa is what is used for Google+'s photo backend. You are not required to share anything from Picasa on Google+ and vice-versa.

Google has it though. Well, this made me go to Picasa and delete everything except for random funny internet pics. Same as youtube made me go and delete all my personal flicks when they forced me to link it to my gmail account. After creating another gmail account to link it to.

For me the public Hangouts (Hangouts On Air) seem even more interesting.

Great! It's just a shame that all of my friends have died of old age waiting for the invite period to finish.

Seriously, what was the reasoning for this? It's not like Google don't have the infrastructure/capability to scale quickly.

Too little, too late. Facebook already aped all of their innovations.

Yeah, with a circles implementation that absolutely sucks.

When my co-worker placed me in his "work" circle on Facebook I automatically received a request to verify that I indeed do work at "Company X" with "John Smith", when I clicked that this was correct it automatically added it to my profile.

I keep my profile on Facebook clean. I don't have many page "likes" nor do I have my full employment history on there, I don't want it there either, I've got LinkedIn for that, or my personal portfolio site.

Why did Facebook consider it a good idea to automatically send me notifications when my co-worker categorises what "circles" I should be in?

This is not limited to just work, if you add someone to your family "circle" they get asked what relationship they have to you (parent, sibling, stuff like that).

As a friend of a friend said:

"So if I add someone to my douche bag does it ask them to confirm they are a douche bag? Or does it just scan their photo for aeropostale and their comments for their use of, "bro"."

I thought Facebook's video chat was still only one-on-one, and frankly, multiplayer video chat was the only thing about Google+ that interests me.

If Google+ doesn't become a much more integral part of future Android releases, it will be a huge surprise. For me, the Google+ Android app has a killer feature: instant upload of pics/video taken with your phone to a Google+/Picasa folder that you can set to private or share with select circles.

To the extent that Google does integrate these two products, G+ will greatly benefit from having the huge Android user base as a source of growth and content, attracting many more engaged users to the platform.

Not at all sure if it was stupid of them to wait this long to let everybody in (you want socializing on your social network!) or brilliant because now they'll get a lot more press right when the buzz seemed to be dying down.

One also wonders how this route will affect their demographics long-term... it's got a bit of a "geeky" slant so far, which seems to be working for them, but might not be in their best interests against Facebook.

Edit: kadabra9 makes a good point in saying that Facebook can (and rapidly seems to be!) copying/nullifying any advantage that Google+ provided so perhaps they shot themselves in the foot by not growing as big and as fast as they could. Time will tell.

The hype from weeks ago is long past over. Google plus came out of nowhere, took everyone by surprise. They instilled a sense of scarcity through invites in order to make the people want it. Eventually the people just forgot about it. I wanted Google plus to work, but it lost momentum long ago.

google plus is like the bing of social networks

I'm almost willing to be that more people are using Bing, relative to Bing's main competition. G+ has to get the buzz back, or this risks becoming Wave, Part 2.

Edit: I deserve some flack for using the word "buzz", I know ;)

> G+ has to get the buzz back

Not a great choice of words there!

Or catch the wave, or risk becoming Buzz Part 2.

I didn't have a bad experience with G+. I didn't have a uniquely good experience either, though. My only friends over there are techie types. For my circles, after the initial chatter, the postings have decreased significantly, and coming to HN is better than the technology news posted there.

Many people talk about how quickly G+ achieved N million users, but the import part is the engagement from users. I don't think G+ has achieved anything like that yet. Many people start using it due to the integration with Gmail but then just stop and go back to FB and Twitter.

Here is why Facebook will not lose any momentum over Google+. They are too agile, well-run and nimble at the moment. That and google+ architecture is too similar to Facebook.

Facebook is doing a good job matching Circles, improving photos on the feed, improving chat, etc. Almost every unique features of G+ are now competing with a 'good enough' counterpart on Facebook. Expect Facebook to match any new ones popping up from Google's camp all the while rolling out more new stuff around music, videos and photos.

I got all excited when I saw 'Huddle' had been replaced by 'messenger'; thinking this would mean google talk and huddles had been integrated. I mean, wouldn't it be great to have an alternative to the closed stuff like whatsapp/kik/etc? Google would have to start by releasing a native google talk client for the iphone (why isn't there one yet?!).

I'm amazed that after all these years there's still no real open standard for instant messaging that is also actually the defacto standard.


XMPP is pretty much the standard instant messaging protocol these days and it is supported by google talk... im not sure about Huddle though... i assume it is also through google talk just with a special ui for selecting circles.

Why is there even a set number of invites left for each G+ user? I see that I still have 94 Gmail invites even, and in both cases, I'm not seeing the point.

So that it can't be used as a spam vector: Gmail trusts all mail that comes from Google.

Is there a Facebook application already that posts from Google+ to Facebook and imports replies and likes back to Google+? The mass of people on Facebook is a barrier to entry and they have to consider it somehow.

I wish there was a way to merge this post with a related one:


Google+ offers quick and continuous iteration of new features.

Time to see whether it will fly or the slowdown was a sign of trouble.

I see too many bumps, particularly the Nymwars / privacy issues. My suspicion is that the calculus was to allow more people in as a bid to keep momentum, rather than fix the problems first.

The user experience is going to (or at least should) change very significantly to fix numerous bugs. With more (and less sophisticated) users on board, this will be more problematic.

I'm of two minds about this. As a Nymwar veteran, I naturally see this as a problem. But lots of people don't, especially outside early Internet app adoption groups. Adding scale may make the problem less pronounced by dilution. Privacy seems to be less concerning outside this group as well.

But I don't know how it will play out.

I think this is probably one of the key things they are thinking. Which is it has enough users that they probably have a handle on scaling it and knowing the resources needed per 1000 users, and its fallen off the front page (its not the 'hot ticket' it once was).

I've always found that multiple people editing a document was a killer feature. And with hangouts that seems to make it even better.

I find it very interesting that they aren't using Gmail or Google search to heavily push or advertise it.

One thing that could maybe have won me over to G+ is a great iPad client. Tablets are almost made to relax and scroll over your friends' updates. The nymwars ruined it too, though.

They 've released a hangouts api, yet there's still no way to retrieve someone's friends? (or is there such an API? couldn't find it). Come on google, we haven't got all day!

The line-up at the door must've been starting to thin out :)

Could a mod edit the title? As it is right now, it's rather misleading to those of us hoping that they've finally made + open to apps accounts.

It's open for everyone, meaning you can sign up without an invitation.

And when will it be open for those under eighteen years of age?

Open to all... Unless you're using Google Apps like I do ಠ_ಠ

Looks like you still need to be "over a certain age"... :(

That's true of Facebook, too. Complain to your legislators, it's because COPA is so impractical that nobody bothers to attempt to comply with the measures necessary to allow kids on a social media site.

Facebook is 13+, but Google+ is currently limited to 18+.

I believe they've (the G+ team) already publicly stated that's coming down to 13.

It isn't open to Google Apps users.

Google+ is dead.

And why would a company bother to continue a services that is dead?


Its high time they opened it. Google+ seemed like desert.

Everyone except the users of Google Apps. Nobody talks about this bullshit.

http://www.google.com/support/+/bin/answer.py?answer=1407609... http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Google%20Apps/thread?t...

They blocked lots of active users of many Google services, this way.

Except google apps users..

+1 for pissed off Google Apps users.

Well, everyone except Google Apps users.

Maybe I'm just missing something but does anyone else here not give a flying fuck about the "real name fiasco"? What's so damn bad about using your real name? Can't be an internet tough guy when you have to use your real name? The most I think all Google should do is allow you to use a screen name for following purposes but still show your real name as well (kind of how Twitter has the screen name and name fields.)

- Privacy considerations

- Identity theft

- Stalking

Yeah, because Facebook is SO private, and completely devoid of impostors and stalkers.

Honestly, if this is the worst that anti-googlers can come up with, well... it isn't much.

I'm not anti-Google; they virtually own my entire life (slightly scary). I still think they fucked up over the real name issue.

In facebook one can at least use nicknames, and it doesn't force you to link everything to your account (picasa, youtube, email, etc).

One can have no real data searchable in facebook.

I'm no anti-nothing, by the way. Grew up past that long ago.

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