But the thing was:
1. There was no News feed. You had to actually visit your friend's wall to make a comment/see what they were up-to.
2. That other person would know the next day that you visited their profile. This discourages people from taking interest in the lives of others. You didn't want to come across as a creep or having nothing better to do with your time.
3. Communities/Forums were a big thing. There wasn't too much to do so you visited "communities". It became a turf war between Indians, Brazilians and a few other countries over content. So if you were from another country, you would get the feeling of not belonging here. I always thought that it drove people from other countries away.
4. Facebook created a personal bubble/universe centered around you. Discussions on forums/pages were not a high priority. News feed was the game changer. I remember people moving away en masse from Orkut to Facebook around 2007 - 08.
For some time people ignored this platform, which meant that you could make a few million dollars per month porting successful FB games (Colheita Feliz, a FarmVille clone, comes to mind) since you faced virtually no competition.
I guess it will be a problem with any social network for that matter. Unless you get a totally protected account, like you are invisible to everyone else, except those with whom you want to be friends.
But then for a such thing, email and Whatsapp groups work just fine.
I've just mentally filed them away as romance-scams, rather than harassment..
In some sense this is akin to Tumblr's hashtags we see today, in which people abused the metadata channel to convey real meaning.
That seems like a compelling game plan in general.
So I guess the problem is that Tecent made the strategic decision to not pursue the social area in the same way as FB; and this is a good decision.
This is a bad thing?
If google had nurtured this social network instead of ignoring it for years, it might have become credible rival to facebook in markets outside US/EU. Instead, years of negligence and atrocious design decisions turned it into a ghost town since around 2011 or so. One has only to blame oneself.
This is why I'm a bit surprised that G+ is so bloated, as there is no money in that either....
I really kind of find this odd. I'm sure that other services have popped up to take it's place and that it's popularity is dropping, but I really find it hard to believe that they are Youtube (completely different service), Blogger (Which up until now I was under the impression that Google had forgotten that it even owned) and Google+ (More recent and less established than Orkut, and still a small amount of active users). I'm thinking more that non-Google services are the real threats, and that Google just has no benefit anymore in having users in any other service than Google+.
I don't find it odd, however, that another social network owned and operated by Google is shutting down though. While I think it's smart for them to try to consolidate their social strategy, I feel like they're engraining themselves in a service deeper and deeper that will, at some point, work more towards holding them back than allowing them to branch out into new products. That is all an incredible amount of opinion though, so we'll see.
Google didn't say that YouTube, Blogger, or Google+ have taken Orkut's place. Google said that YouTube, Blogger, and Google+ have outpaced Orkut's growth and are, largely as a result of that, more appropriate focuses of Google's resources.
> I'm thinking more that non-Google services are the real threats
This isn't about "threats", its about opportunities -- more specifically, its about where Google effort has the best returns for Google.
To me, google+ is a great name for a comprehensive future password service.
Didn't Google also rename their social I/O presentations from "Google+" to "Google Identity Services"?, that might show you their confidence in the network. I'm still sour about the Youtube account merging though, so I'm biased.
I all but killed that with the YouTube Anschluss.
So, yes, there were people who created accounts, and a large number of those I interact with on G+ (a couple of dozen folks for the most part) who did similarly.
Which isn't to say I'm not still massively conflicted about the site.
• There's the option of anonymous photo hosting.
• I can distinguish between uploading and sharing images. On G+ if you upload an image you must "share" it then and there, or it's forever private.
• Useful annotations and titles. Roughly comparable, but I prefer Imgur's tools.
• Better album options. In particular, I can figure out how to add images to specific albums in Imgur. G+ is fucking opaque on this. Yes, I'd prefer to be able to add an image to an album from the image rather than by navigating to the album first.
• Share an image to User Sub or another gallery and enjoy the fun. Or just build up a library of images associated with my subreddit and/or blog (my primary use of Imgur).
All the fancy-schmancy image editing tools G+ offers? I don't use 'em. I've got The GIMP, it's good enough for me.
I can't say for certain that's the case, but:
• If true, it's a really fucked up UI/UX. Because the two actions have absolutely no need to be associated.
• If not true, it's a really fucked up UI/UX. Because in two years of using photos, I haven't sorted it out, and I routinely see people sharing individual photos to their streams (I occasionally ask "context") to find that they're assembling an album of some sort.
Again: the photo-sharing is pretty much useless on account of that, and Imgur shines by comparison.
If you want persistent storage you control, buy an S3 share or host your own. Frankly, broadband access is to the point the latter is viable for personal accounts. I'd like to see some sort of P2P distributed cache which shares load as well.
It doesn't seem like a surprising UI to follow an upload with a share when you're sending photos to a social network. I'm not even sure Facebook gives you that choice. The two actions don't have to be associated, but they certainly need to be associated when you consider that folks usually upload photos to share them.
I don't think G+ Photos has been advertised as a "persistent store you control". It's a social network that has an auto-upload feature to make it easier to share images and backup shots taken on your phone. "Hosting your own" is not going to be a substitute for 95% of real-world users.
I see Google's offerings as suits my needs. And Photos hasn't offered that.
I disagree on HYO, because reasons. Persistent broadband, a $25 device, and 5 watts will get you a server. The software's free. Some form of distributed federated caching gets you redundancy and load balancing. Search is the tough nut, though there are a few projects which have been working at that (e.g., YaCy) for a while now.
Otherwise it's just protocols, autoconfiguration, and adoption.
Anonymous uploads are still free.
I'm pretty sure the post you are responding to didn't say anything on that issue one way or the other.
It's like locking someone up without telling them what offense they've committed.
And I say that as someone who's never had a personal Facebook account and doesn't care much for social networking in general.
The problem, in other words, is that it's a lie by way of omission and dissembling. And that everybody knows it.
As someone who has used G+ fairly heavily for 3 years, and eventually came to sort of like parts of it: it's annoying, creaky, and creepy. The underlying infrastructure is robust and reliable. The platform built on top of it is a mish-mash. Complaints from the first days of public deployment over noise, a confusion of controls, and a lack of clear purpose remain valid. And as a tool to destroy trust and goodwill in Google it's been unparalleled.
This is true, and Google must have noticed. Does that mean they just don't care, or was it partly why Gundotra hit the exit door?
• They're really good at search
• They're fucking amazing at infrastructure.
• They suck at pretty much anything at all human-factors related.
I think that letting Microsoft execs into the tent was a tremendous cultural mistake. Microsoft's alliances were, from the mid-1980s onward, but especially through the 1990s, with its OEMs, VARs, and ISVs, not with its end-users, except secondarily. The name of the game was to build and defend a territory: OEM preloads, per-CPU licensing, Office, APIs, proprietary protocols (e.g., Exchange and Directory). The played the lock-in game to its ultimate and absurd conclusion: they don't understand and cannot fix their own software.
Google started by offering tremendous value to end-users via search, and finding a minimally viable way to monetize that (relevant and non-intrusive advertising). It was recognized from the beginning as creepy, but so long as you didn't actually personally log in to the search engine, the personal association seemed sufficiently weak to be acceptable to most.
That changed with Gmail. Suddenly you were logged in to your search provider all the fucking time. And that, frankly, weirded me out. I avoided Gmail for a long, long time, and still don't use it for my personal comms. I've made my own peace with Google in that I use Gmail, over IMAP, for a pseudonymous account, and transact my search transactions largely with a different provider who pledges no tracking (and I've been in arguments with various folk over the credibility of that, no it's not bulletproof), largely DDG and StartPage (both proxied non-tracking search providers). And yes, occasionally my work mail is served over Google depending on the gig.
Then came Google Docs, which further freak me out, storage, and a host of other things. I basically never saw these as a good thing (from a privacy or data security viewpoint), even though I fully acknowledge the genius of using these to attack one of Microsoft's prime foundations (Office + Exchange).
Evidence is strong that Google felt very strongly challenged by Facebook and felt it had to create its own social offering, whether to compete, head off Facebook, or ... just sheer competitive spirit. There was (and is) also an interest in offering "an identity service", which has been a holy grail of the tech world for at least a couple of decades, and a trope of the science fiction literature long before that. I can credit the latter with part of my own reluctance to buy into the concept: a world in which everything is specifically attributable and hence tracked to a specific identity is pretty close to my definition of totalitarian hell. I reacted just as viscerally when it was Microsoft's Passport, as well to Facebook sign-on (I don't use FB, I won't use services requiring it).
Gundotra strongly evidenced a firm belief in the concept, as does Eric Schmidt. Page and Brin have been less outspoken on the concept, but it seems from what I've seen that they at the very least endorsed the concept. If they're driving it, then as I said, the rot goes to (and starts at) the very head. And if there's a single thing which would most likely destroy Google at this point, even above NSA and other snooping (which they could significantly engineer around, though by changing their entire present focus, see Bruce Schneier and Eben Moglen on this in the past year, particularly their joint Columbia University conversation and Schneier's Stanford Law School lecture), it's the snooper state.
To backtrack a bit: I also think that advertising when first adopted by Google in the late 1990s snuck the camels' nose into the tent. Advertising is at its essence deceptive, and at odds with the interests of the recipient. By setting up this relationship, Google both created a dissonance within itself and a misalignment of interests with the end user. I don't know that this could have been avoided (figuring out how to tie revenues to Internet services outside of advertising has largely proved a wicked problem), but I think ultimately the camel ended up in, and in control of, the tent.
Another metaphor I like to invoke is of grabbing the tiger by the tail. The trick is more in the undoing than the doing.
I've been hoping that Gundotra's leaving might see an unwinding of things. I'm not seeing services disaggregate from G+ (though my YouTube status seems to vary from associated to not associated periodically). I haven't fully made up my mind on whether to stay or go. Ironically, it was conversations over Gundotra's departure and "death of G+" discussions which sucked me back in.
Irony, thy name is Vic.
I hope there is some post facto analysis a few months from now. IMO Google is risking that this shutdown effectively causes the migration of a few hundred thousand Brazilian Google users to Facebook.
Then again, for me the catalyst was when they killed reader and iGoogle. The Old Reader, and others have largely taken it's place, but that integration into my home page was truly useful to me. Now, I'm far less likely to catch an article on any given day, I check HN almost daily, and a few others not quite as often, but it isn't the same... and it isn't my typical blogroll anymore.
Monetization of such a platform is pain though and only wroks as a paid service IMO.
See for example http://www.theguardian.com/technology/askjack/2013/nov/07/ig... and http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/6-great-alternatives... etc
"In the 1970s, economist Edmar Bacha popularised the term "Belindia" as a description of Brazil: a little bit of Belgium and a lot of India, the country was very rich for some and very poor for most."
Speaking of rich and poor, data from the recent Brazil x Chile World Cup game shows that most Brazilian stadium attendees were white (67%), mid-high/high class (90%), and well-educated (86%). Ok, now I'm officially off-topic. Carry on.
It's that YouTube, G+, and Blogger are what did it in.
Look, let me tell you a little secret.
Just, don't tell anyone, OK?
I mean, between you and me.
I think it might have been Facebook.
Launched in 2002, by 2006 it had pretty much every hungarian internet users signed up who could be bothered by such sites. T-Mobile/Deutsche Telecom acquired it for 4 million euros in 2006 and at the time it seemed unthinkable that it would lose its momentum.
As a result, Hungary was one of the very last countries for Facebook to overtake the local competition, but eventually people with international friends started to sign up for Facebook too and the network effect kicked in: for the past 1-2 years iwiw.hu was in a free fall and one month ago they announced that they would pull the plug completely.
Anyway, this should get the last stragglers on to Facebook.
Google products remind me of HBO's Game of Thrones series. They have so much going on at any given times, they can kill plenty off and still have their head high above water with plenty of forward momentum. What would Vegas bet is next to go?
Personally I suspect Groups isn't long for this G+-enabled world.
Groups is in a similar situation, at 90%. I think that's also too high, but I'm not sure what I'd personally estimate the risk at. On the one hand, it feels like Google should be loathe to kill off dozens of thousands of mailing lists and its Usenet archive and decades of history & material; on the other hand, they sure act in every way like they want Groups to die and go away.
In general, the model seems to be accurate when it predicts something is very likely to die, but not so accurate when it's predicting something's very likely to survive. It'll be interesting to followup in 2018 and see how the overall set of predictions did and what an updated model looks like.
Strike that. It works well on the groups I use, but the group that I founded and abandoned (Rochester Arabic Discussion Group) is quite literally now unrecoverable. I can ban spammers from my group, but I can't delete their whole post history with prejudice. Had I taken timely action against all spammers as they arrived, it is possible the community would have survived, but now it's in "Warning - Blocked for Adult Content" mode and the actions required to prepare for a review in order to be reopened for posting would take at least a month of nonstop clicking to clean it up. I guess it's my fault for trying to start a community in a language I was studying at a time when I was likely to be too busy with getting my degree to devote proper time to fighting spam and helping to focus the discussions.
There is no way to perform bulk actions of any kind from the admin area. This is my biggest gripe. Groups is a service that needs an overhaul, it does not need to be killed, but only time will tell what Google does with this one.
It started sucking when they took UseNet out of it - then it became just another mailing-list site in an already crowded field. (Granted, UseNet itself was nearly dead at this point.) And the field was shrinking, since more affinity groups started moving to FaceBook, or MeetUp, or getting their own individual sites on the Internet with stock forum software. And IMHO, it really died when it went to the AJAX UI - there's no real reason for a content site like Groups (or Blogger, for that matter) to go heavily AJAX, it just makes it feel clunky.
I was in that team from about 2006 to 2008.
We grew the subscriber base, reaching about 40M,
beating FB those days, but FB was catching up.
Seems like FB was doing everything right,
and we did what Larry told us - "improve latency".
Second, wouldn't they rather put it up for sale?
Perhaps it depends on too much of the internal infrastructure they wouldn't want to sell?
How do you know Orkut crreated it?
I've had accounts created "for me" on all sorts of sites.
Turns out I'm not the only person named James Britt. But I just happen to have a particular gmail account with that name, and there are some number of other people who mistakenly use that email address when signing up for things.
(This is one reason I'm a fan of Web sites sending out E-mail verification notices.)
I'm currently getting spammed by match.com for one of them.
I'm hoping to win my money back the next time someone mentions an ORM.
Yeah, sure, gmail's next. Whatever you say.
What makes Google any different in that respect? How are Facebook users any safer than G+ users?
MySpace still exists. If MySpace (were still) part of a larger company, they probably would have been shuttered by now as irrelevant. As long as Facebook just has one thing, 'Facebook', it will also safely limp along long after it is the backwater of the internet, a place you can't believe still exists.
The only real difference is instead of shuttering they pivot. The name sticks around but they still delete all your old stuff, so the effect is the same.
Facebook doesn't want to "do one thing". The problem is, Facebook keeps failing at doing other things, so you never hear about them or remember them.
Hey, what do you think people remember best: The facebook phone or the iTunes social network?
I found this out the hard way when I was testing an Android phone; I signed in to the phone with my Google account, then took some pictures. A cloud shaped notification popped up informing me that new content was found and it was being automatically backed up to G+. I had to actually go into G+ settings and turn off this "feature" that I had never asked for, nor authorized.
Isn't that how software is meant to work? Not sure why there are scare-quotes around feature either - this is a feature, and a useful one at that, automatic cloud backup. And note that the backup is private, they aren't publishing these for the world to see or anything. If you don't like it, it can be disabled, no problem!
Do you want all new features to be opt-in? They'd never get used; users just don't bother going to the settings pane every time software is updated, and look for new check-boxes. The toast pop-up alerting you to the new feature, with an option to disable it, the first time it's used is the best way to do this.
Different schools of thought. Some say software should be able to handle all your data without having to ask you everytime it shifts a bit around — convenient, but with the implicit cost of needing to trust said software with all your info. Others say that software shouldn't grab any of your info without your consent, which gives you control over your data but is terribly inconvenient.
I put myself on the latter group, but I confess being called paranoid. In my defense, G+ grabbed my profile pic from an old blogspot I had about monkeys back when the apps weren't a single profile. It took me a while to find out it was more of an accident than a bad joke, but by then it was too late to recover my trust.
> Not sure why there are scare-quotes around feature either
"Scare quotes"? Really? I thought that term was retired long ago; maybe I should have said "so-called feature". But no, I don't consider it a feature, rather an annoyance that again, I never asked for or approved. I don't like to use car analogies, but one easily springs to mind: Imagine buying a new car, and right before you settle into the driver's seat to pull off the lot, the dealer stops you, readjusts your mirrors to point to the sky, changes the radio presets to stations you've never heard of, sets the transmission on sporty mode, and adjusts the seat to a severe angle. When you ask him what the hell he's doing, he tells you that in your contract you opted in to dealer presets, and you'll have to manually change all of them back yourself. Annoying, huh?
> And note that the backup is private, they aren't publishing these for the world to see or anything.
Correct, but I never gave them permission to use my metered data, nor my limited cloud storage space. What if I don't want those 200 or so 3MB pictures I took to eat up my entire monthly data allotment? If the setting is opt-out, and I didn't know it was doing it, it can be an expensive "feature". Something like that should definitely be opt-in.
> Do you want all new features to be opt-in?
Of course not; I never said that. But most should be, especially those relating to high data use.
> The toast pop-up alerting you to the new feature, with an option to disable it, the first time it's used is the best way to do this.
Except when that popup never shows up again, and you find out days or weeks later that the device has been doing things you didn't expect it to in the background.
And beyond all of this, there's the issue the OP raised, which is where Google decides to use one of your pictures as your profile photo, without any user intervention. If they will do that, who knows what else they will do with the rest of your photos? I found that some pictures I had taken while on vacation were somehow mixed into a "story" with other, unrelated pictures. Some pictures that I took in succession in the same location were put into an animated GIF without my knowledge or permission. Basically, Google decided what to do with my pictures without ever asking me about it first. That's rude, creepy, and annoying.
For example, on my Windows Phone, it asks me if I want to back up my photos and videos to SkyDrive, and tells me how to turn it on. If I dismiss the notification, it doesn't start uploading anything; it simply waits for me to turn it on.
With Android, the very first picture I take is already uploaded by the time I get the notification, and I have to not only turn off the feature that I never turned on, I have to then go onto my G+ account to delete the picture if I don't want it stored there.
Again, the technology itself (auto backup of all pics/vids) is amazing and a good thing. But turning it on for me, without even asking permission first, is flat out wrong.