It's incredible how lightly they have thrown away the Google+ Account For Everything stance given how merciless they were in imposing it at the time. The wails from YouTube in particular have only just died down.
Kudos to them, but a lot of pain could have been avoided if they did all this listening back then, instead of waiting until their thing was clearly dead.
Honestly, I think the sticking point on most of it was the Real Name policy. Had they stopped the delusion from the outset that they could be a Facebook competitor and simply made Google+ a correlating landing page for your online persona, rather than your real identity, I think it would have worked. I wouldn't necessarily mind everyone knowing that AdmiralAsshat likes Black Sabbath music videos on Youtube, hangs out on C programming boards on G+, and comments on various political stories on Slate--I sometimes share my handles on various online media circles anyway. Having them all tied to a single login would not necessarily be a bad thing. It's not until they demand that they must know my real name to do so (combined with the fact that, being an Android user, Google knows my phone number and personal billing address) that the idea of Google+ suddenly looks toxic.
This is a good step, although the well has already been poisoned.
Eh I'm not sure about that. I think the real problem is that it was clunky and made people mess with something that they had no interest in using.
It was a weirdly forcing move which reminded everyone how much power Google wields in this kind of user/company relationship. People are probably generally okay with how that works, but only if they aren't made painfully aware of it (kind of like DRM - just look at Steam for an example of that).
Right. If they'd made it an option to tie together all of your accounts and combine activity across everything, some people would love it and adopt it. But make it mandatory, and even some of the people who might otherwise like it will reject it just because they're being forced.
It will take them a fair bit to recover from the real name enforcement. People got sick of that.
I, for instance, after the second or third time Youtube tried to (literally) trick me into allowing it to display my real name, decided to log out permanently. Now I have another browser totally dedicated to GMail, and use my normal one for the rest of my surfing, Google Search and Youtube included. This raises the entry barrier to use many Google services quite a bit, since I'm logged out more often than not.
I also use a separate browser to log into Google for those customers that use Google Docs. Email is in Thunderbird with my own accounts, but I have a gmail account for YouTube and Gdocs (and Android, Analytics, ). I'll be happy to be able to have the option to separate the accounts of all Google properties as if they were from different companies. I don't need to share data among them and I don't log into them anyway unless I really need to do something (example: tell gmail to forward me invitations to share documents). Not the most common setup, that's sure.
If they build a profile based on your browsing and social graph to show you ads, what does it matter who you actually are, so long as you have those interests? Like a node in a graph being distinguished only by the arcs connecting it.
Yeah they forgot that people only used real names on Facebook because it was extremely private (only people in your university could see you). Google+ on the other hand is full of public actions - Youtube comments, app reviews, etc.
A few days ago, +David Brin shared a post about GamerGate, in which he opined that this is a problem which would be solved by greater transparency: "It is only anonymity that lets bastards like this operate," he says, "Accountability is the light that sears most kinds of badguys, whether they operate in criminality or in high places."
I disagree with his analysis, and this disagreement is rooted in part in my experience of information-revelation policies on social networks. (e.g., name requirements) While there was an expectation that people would behave better when their activity was tied to their own identity, as that identity is presumably a highly valuable and non-renewable resource to them, the evidence weighed against it: people seem quite willing to be jerks under their own identities....
In practice, the forced revelation of information makes individual privilege and power more important. When everyone has to play with their cards on the table, so to speak, then people who feel like they can be themselves without consequence do so freely -- these generally being people with support groups of like-minded people, and who are neither economically nor physically vulnerable. People who are more vulnerable to consequences use concealment as a method of protection: it makes it possible to speak freely about controversial subjects, or even about any subjects, without fear of harassment.
Besides that, the other most significant thing was the lack of open API for it.
They fail to understand that people at the time wanted to consume it in their own way (and still do, to some extent).
At the time G+ came to exist people loved it. They wanted the conversations like that. They liked the circles idea (at the time Twitter didn't have lists or any such concept), and it's still better than what the other social media services have.
But to use it you only had the choice of the G+ app, or the website, which wasn't how people were consuming social media. They were using things like TweetDeck to connect to multiple services so that they could consume their social media stream, especially businesses.
Yes - the lack of G+ API was a big mistake not just for consumption but also for publication.
However, both Twitter and FB had lists long before G+ was even a thing. Twitter has done little/nothing to promote the list functionality other than to increase the 500 member limit on lists. FB went head to head with G+ Circles by enhancing the FB list functionality to include standard lists and school/workplace lists.
You might be right but Facebook succeeded dispite the exact same real name policy. It's hard to look at Facebook's success with that policy and then claim it was obvious google would fail with it. The better question is why did Facebook get away with it?
IMO. The problem for Google with real names was people who didn't want to be associated with their real names and already were deeply dependent on Google for the their phone / email. I recall the transgender outing articles . Regardless of whether is was user error or not, it highlights that Google had a different hill to climb than Facebook regarding real name policies.
That wasn't Facebook's policy. Facebook removed fake name accounts when users complained, but "The Friendly Monster" was around my university for a good six months, and a friend with a less obvious fake name has kept her account to this day. Google+ aggressively and preemptively went after fake names, and even caught some real names by mistake.
And because in the beginning, Facebook was completely closed off from the greater web and had very good privacy controls. Why would I worry about using my real name when only my friends could see my profile, and it took a harvard.edu email to even log in to the site?
I think there are two main parts to Facebook's seeming ability to "get away" with all sorts of things. The real name policy is one but simply having shitty privacy/sharing controls (compared in this case to G+ and its Circles which make it easy to pick which groups you want to share a post with).
Facebook has a huge userbase. "Critical mass" is definitely valuable but as other social sites have shown, it's not enough to make you invincible to competition. I think that the issue with Facebook is that not only is "everyone" on it, but it was the first such site to really get everyone on it. MySpace was huge with the under-30 crowd and yeah, even some people's moms got accounts but Facebook was really the one that got all of your non-techie relatives, your boss, your doctor, your local bar, and your neighbors to all sign up.
While I would have no issue just pulling up stakes for G+ (real names or not) because I like the interface, the mobile app, and the granularity and easy accessibility of sharing settings better, I have loads of friends and acquaintances who don't care about the real name policy and still claimed to hate G+. The most common reason they gave was that it was "too hard" or "not like Facebook".
Unless those people see enough reason to overcome the friction of learning a moderately different service, they'll never leave the comfort of Facebook. Hell, even minor changes to Facebook are inevitably followed by weeks of complaining (on Facebook, natch).
Which brings up the second point: when none of these services are compatible or built on any common protocol (like email), you can't just pick the "provider" you prefer with the interface you like best or the most appealing TOS. I have a Facebook account and like a lot of other people, I set up a G+ profile when it became available.
The issue is that it can only go one of two ways: everyone leaves Facebook for G+ (or any other competitor) or I need to maintain two separate profiles and post things I want to share on two separate sites, defeating the entire purpose of the services to allow casual sharing with large groups of friends and acquaintances. Actually, there's a third way it can go and it's the way that ended up happening: hardly anyone uses G+ outside of some niche areas and in herd mentality terms, that means it's a joke and only deserving of derision.
I'm sure something will come along and replace Facebook eventually but I can't imagine it will happen by literally trying to build a better Facebook. It'll happen when people start using different types of services for that sort of interaction and Facebook sort of just trails off as that annoying place where the only ones left posting are radio stations, meme pages, and your aunt that likes to post pictures of those "minion" guys.
What you post on Facebook, however, is not visible to the public unless you explicitly make it so. There's a world of difference between what John Smith writes on his Facebook wall and is visible to only people whom John Smith has explicitly deemed to be friends of John Smith, vs. a public Youtube comment that was once authored by user LordofPants, but thanks to G+ real name policy is now known to the public world as John Smith.
Facebook was designed from the outset to be an online platform for your real-life friends. G+ should have been an online platform for your online friends, but then it mandated that all of your online friends must now need to know your real-life name.
On Google+ you have always been able to choose whether to share publicly or only to specific circles.
And the Youtube integration was also the immediate end of the real-name policy (which was really more an "no unusual name policy, because people got blocked for having an unusual real name, whereas plausible pseudonyms were left alone).
But you're right; it was a stupid policy, and they should have known that right from the start.
G+ lost because Google forced G+ to every Google account. Post something to Youtube, you silently created a G+ post. Upload something to Picasa, you silently published the photo to your G+ newsfeed, etc. - quite toxic. And have they learned from their Google Buzz (G+ predecessor)? Nope, same behavior.
I have somewhat similar feeling about the upcoming Win10 launch, and in near future a lot normal user will learn the hard way why they got Win10 in exchange for the current Win7/8 license.
G+ wanted to be a rendezvous for all social/sharing activities on Google, and it turned out that many users didn't like it. Would G+ have fared better if it didn't force G+ onto every Google property? Maybe? It's easy to do armchair analysis, but hindsight is 20/20.
They did, however, seed the community of initial users with real names by literally cherrypicking individuals at colleges from face books. So Facebook was always a place where it felt like one should be using one's real name, not "+X+ babyjoe23 +X+"
Keep in mind, Google already had experience with two social networks they owned. The Real Names policy probably didn't fall from the sky as an idea without merit; they might have had reason to believe that without enforcing real-world names, the resulting social network wouldn't get Facebook traction.
When I joined facebook, you had to use your university email address. There was zero expectation of not being linked to your identity. Perhaps Facebook broadened after that, but the Facebook culture was already established that you expect to see real people you know there.
Google instead tried to shoehorn existing users with a different culture. Perhaps they could have created a separate service with different expecteations and grown that, but they seemed to feel entitled to a create a short cut to success at their user's expense.
Yep, I think you hit the nail on the head here. Facebook began with an expectation around an account tied to a real-life identity, and Google didn't. Google totally mis-read the cultural implications of integrating G+ into existing Google products.
Facebook offers all those things as part of Facebook.
Google offered a lot of totally unrelated things, from a phone OS to a video site, a search engine, and a social network which did incorporate some stuff on its own (hangouts and photos were well integrated and not really a problem as far as I can tell).
Suddenly introducing connections across all those different sites, so your mail contacts end up on your phone, your Youtube posts on Google+, and identities that you want to keep separate get merged against your will, that is stupid, harmful and a betrayal of their users.
It's not really to do with what the products are in a narrow technical sense, as to do with what the social context of their use is. After all, that's what makes a social network.
In particular, when people came to gmail in the first place, they were using it as an email service. When they came to youtube, it was as the world's largest collection of videos. They did not want these conflated.
You could list all those items for Yahoo and for AOL as well. But Youtube is distinctive in offering a huge collection of searchable videos. You name it, it's there, until it gets taken down by contentID or made unavailable in your country. Can you even search for videos on Facebook?
I think we European might care a bit more about our privacy. Just a bit, not that much more, but a bit. That way you're less "discoverable" by a complete stranger. I guess it's cultural. And I'm pretty sure that if FB tried to enforce real name in Europe they would loose quite a lot of accounts.
The problem with a profile that spans unrelated services is that your persona on one shouldn't necessarily be tied to your persona on another; Google Accounts with different public-facing per-service personas are okay in a way that a single public-facing persona spanning all services isn't.
But it's still an underlying single Google Account, so Google gets its unified view of what you do, which is what they care about.
> The problem with a profile that spans unrelated services is that your persona on one shouldn't necessarily be tied to your persona on another; Google Accounts with different public-facing per-service personas are okay in a way that a single public-facing persona spanning all services isn't.
G+ tried to solve this with Circles, but as far as I can tell, everything related to YouTube was assumed to be public on G+ because it was public on YouTube.
Google thinks it knows how people's social "circles" interact. But any attempt to make people make "public" G+ posts just because content is public elsewhere hits several of the Geek Social Fallacies, notably 4 ("Friendship Is Transitive") and 5 ("Friends Do Everything Together").
That's a bit of a stretch. I don't think that's the justification Google used nor do I think that's the problem that people had with it. The real issue was that Google was forcing the link between Google+ and YouTube along with the real name baggage. Most people had a pseudonymous name on YouTube and Google decided that everyone should suddenly attach their inane YouTube comments to their real names where potential employers and relatives and anyone else could easily associate the two.
This isn't really an issue of friends, because most of the people you'd be concerned about finding your random YouTube comments are not friends. It's also not an issue of Google failing to understand this. Google understood the issue, but they denied and ignored it, choosing to force this on people regardless because they felt it was strategically useful to do so.
Hmmm. In hindsight, maybe a better policy would have been to make Real Name a shareable piece of information like any other - decide if you want it public, or only visible to some of your circles, etc.
And then they could have done really cool shit like displaying references to you with your real name only to people authorized to know it, and with your handle to others.
I'm not sure. Admitted, I'm not a fan of Google and maybe a bit grumpy, but I read this blog entry as "Now everyone will need a G+ account, but it won't have a public profile".
That said, the distinction between
is lost on me, I'm genuinely confused about the past and present state of these things. It feels like "G+ Accounts" are supposed to be the new "Google Accounts"? Like you could've had a Google Account without a Google Page or Google Profile or whatever that was called?
I .. don't see what's changing. No reason to grab the pitchfork, but no reason for cheers or kudos either.
You aren't the only one. I have two Gmail addresses, and two YouTube channels.
As far as I can tell, I have FIVE Google+ accounts (there may be more!):
1. Nickname email for friends
2. Real name email for family/jobs
3. A SECOND nickname account that somehow got created when I logged into YouTube one time
4. A SECOND real name account that somehow got created when I logged into YouTube some other time
5. The YouTube channel I shared with a friend, which has a Gmail account but inexplicably is only a single Google+ account unlike the two listed above
I honestly have no idea why 3 & 4 exist. They seem to have gotten created at some point for some reason I never understood.
In my eyes, the biggest problems with Google+ are:
* It's CONFUSING AS HECK. Just figuring out what an account is, or why it got created, is way more effort than I care about
* Their integration with YouTube was ridiculously not thought-out. Not in ANY way. They somehow seemed to think there was a 1:1 relationship users -> channels, when in reality it's a many:many relationship. Why did they think that? Why didn't anybody say, "uh, guys? A person can have more than one YouTube channel. And two people or more can run a single YouTube channel."
The thing Google really fails to understand is the cognitive burden imposed by all of their byzantine rules. I didn't mind creating multiple accounts for YouTube versus G+ and the like, the same way I have one account name for HN and another on Fark.
If I'm forced to create a single account, now I have to take the time to understand how it works and what it exposes to the world. I have better things to do than to try to keep up with Google's business model du jour and anticipate the many ways they might alter the deal in the future to my disadvantage. It's so much simpler for me to do the worst thing for Google that they can possibly imagine, which is to ignore their offerings altogether.
I think that's how they ended up with a ghost town full of millions of unused Google+ accounts.
I administer 2 non-profit domains that use google services. When google started randomly merging all my email/youtube/blogger/appEngine/googledocs accounts together I got into a right gtempaccount.com pickle.
I thought I had it all sorted out, and started using separate browsers for each account. However, the company I work for have now decided to use gmail - so I'm back to having to clear my cookies all the time, and keep getting that "New sign-in from Chrome/Firefox on Window" spam.
Hmm - I wonder if this is also hurting their corporate customers?
Amen. Anyone who has spent time setting up Google accounts, pages, authorship/identity details, maps and local, YouTube channels etc etc for SEO or similar purposes soon realises how horribly it's all cobbled together. Apparently they seriously think people will voluntarily use these services as some sort of unified social media platform.
Everybody has done this sort of thing simply for blindly hopeful SEO reasons, surely?
Oh man did I have some great conversations about articles on Google Reader. My friends would share great articles to a common stream that we would fight over. It was so much fun because we could be honest without worrying about information leakage to friends, grandmas, and the public.
I looked up some history behind Google+ on Wikipedia and it looks like Vic Gundotra was behind that (footnotes removed).
> His responsibilities as Vice-President of Social included Google's social networking and identity service, Google+. He is widely believed to be the man behind Google+, and was responsible for the controversial removal of social features from Google Reader. Apart from Google+, he is widely credited for his contributions to early versions of Google Maps (application) and Google I/O.
For it's time it was kind of the proto "news feed" for my group of friends.
Yeah, I was also a huge Google Reader fan for those reasons. But Google couldn't leave it alone or admit that it was its own social network with its own identity and unique character. Then they killed it. It was one of their products I used every day on the desktop, to get my news.
It seems there's something missing from BigCo's understanding of how social networks operate.
Google Reader never had many users. Feedly claims to have captured 80% of the Reader userbase when it shut down, and they have 15 million users. That is incredibly small by the standards of social networks, much smaller than even the pessimistic active-user estimates for G+.
The number of active G+ accounts -- publicly posting in any given month -- is less than that. I and Eric Enge, he of Stone Temple Consulting, have independently estimated this based on G+ sitemap sampling. I pulled about 50k profiles off a single sitemap, Enge 500k from multiple. My pull was based on strong evidence that the profiles are randomly distributed through sitemaps. Both of us found ~6-12m publicly active profiles.
Among my thoughts: the group of people really discussing things online just isn't that big.
Reader was far more significant than Google realised.
That is a bad definition of "active," particularly considering that the original selling point of G+ relative to Facebook was its privacy controls (circles). I know many people who post to G+, only a few of whom do so publicly.
Both Enge and I address both the definition of "active" and of "invisible" non-public activity.
1. We're limited to directly observable public actvity. Given the sitemaps providing a population of profiles to sample, that means looking at actual public posts. Anything else would be Making Shit Up, which I prefer not to do.
2. It's possible get some sense of non-public activity by looking at followers and views for profiles with and without public activity. Evidence is that profiles without public posts have about 4.3% of the activity of those with. That gives roughly 4% of the total G+ userbase, or about 95 million users.
Again: showing activity at any time. That about doubles the active users count in total. (112 million + 95 million). It doesn't speak to recent activity, though.
Feedly probably isn't claiming those numbers with any basis in reality. In particular, many people made Feedly accounts in a hurry out of panic when the shutdown was announced. Having used both, I highly doubt users of Reader are still regular users of Feedly.
They haven't thrown it away. It's still a shared Google Account For Everything. The distinction they're making now is that they're no longer requiring that account to be tied to a "G+ sharing stream" in a publicly exposed way, which was never the most essential part of anything for them.
This is them finally admitting they were being evil. They put their empire and monopoly ambitions (defeat Facebook and dominate social networking as they do search and ads) ahead of the actual interests of their users.
Has Google's search improved since the launch of Facebook? Not many people think so. Search results are loaded with spam, click-bait, content farm crap, and ever more Google's own stuff. Shouldn't a better search that found high quality results be where Google put its efforts, if it really cared about its users?
It has certainly become better, however that does not matter to much as they gave the best results even before all of that.
There used to be a time where i quite often had to check a few pages back and rephrase the search, These days whatever i search for the thing that i want i generally at the 3 position (1. being an ad. 2. is for some reason most often useless )
That comes across like marketing speak that does not in any way reflect the aggressiveness that Google tried to push G+ and it's features on google/youtube/misc google service users. I personally held back for about a year before youtube insisted I assign a blank G+ profile to my youtube account or I will lose my commenting prividges, so I lost the ability to comment until one day they just made me a profile anyway.
I've personally lost a lot of respect for them and I know a lot of people that feel the same way. It went way beyond offering a new product to people to see if they liked it or not.
But Google+ users told them that right from the start. We have been complaining about them messing up Google+ immediately when they introduced the "no unusual name" policy, or when they integrated Youtube. We've asked for something like Collections since the very first months of Google+'s existence.
If they thought it was great, it was because they weren't listening to user feedback.
On the other hand, any big change done by google will be heavily criticized most likely, independent of whether they are "right" or "wrong", and to certain extent they will have to push through it to see if it's a positive change or a negative one.
No, you misunderstand that. Strong opinions, Weakly held refers to dropping your misguided opinion when the first evidence against it appears. Google held their strong opinion until their product was just about dead.
They also, as I remember, used to broadcast data at the top of the picture (possibly just about off-screen) during 'The Computer Programme' or one of its follow-ups, that a BBC Micro could decipher with some kind of dongle.
But there are other differences. As with the previous generation iPod Touch, they actually cut a lot of subtle corners. Sure, there is some margin in the iPhone related to the cell plan subsidy, but there are some real cost cutting measures in there too. I think a reasonable way to think about it is that with the iPod Touch there is a strong incentive to compromise on the subtle things that users don't notice; the things Jobs always claimed they never compromised on (total fib).
The iPhone 5 vs. iPod Touch 5 was probably the closest the two ever came, the Touch's processor was still running with the 4S's processor/GPU/RAM and the 4's camera, and the body materials weren't equivalent.
I would pay up to £30 for a Zelda or Mario on my phone. Why not? I've paid that for cart versions for years, and they don't get the attention they should because I don't carry a GameBoy everywhere any longer.
It says in the article (or in the linked article which covers the same ground).
It's tests like the "unsafe situation": a baby is put in peril, and the mother has to reassure it. Babies that are quickly reassured typically do better overall, and this is seen as a sign of strong bond. But fathers traditionally score low on this test (as babies appear to prefer the mothering parent for such reassurance)
Does the RSS spec even include the ability to include machine-readable terms/licencing in a feed? Given its source (and the gentler world in which it and Atom were born) I'm guessing not, but it seems like a big omission.
We should fix multicast to help make decisions like this easier. Right now each additional IP-streaming listener is an incremental cost on the broadcaster - radiating broadcast has a huge advantage here, which proper multicast would remove.
Outside a few niches (zeroconf, IPv6 SLAAC, financial data distribution) in closed environments, I don't believe we ever reached the point of figuring out how to handle Internet-sized multicast deployment.
Not sure what the state of the art here is, but IIRC multicast introduces significant extra state into every router and switch involved, and with limited ability to control who is able to transmit to a multicast group.
On the radio network side, I don't think IP multicast has any specific support in e.g. LTE, so even if a mobile client could subscribe to a group its bandwidth usage over the air would be equivalent to a unicast stream. Guess this was omitted for the reasons from the previous paragraph.
LTE has something called multicast but AFAIK it's totally unrelated to the IP/Ethernet concept.
edit: whoa, apparently 802.11 networks handle multicast properly - stations don't generate layer 1 ACKs for reception like they handle unicast traffic. There's a ton of cool stuff you could build with this on a LAN!
Because you might not be aware that you're being used. I can't find the reference right now, but that question started being asked after a man put an explosive in his wife's luggage (when she was flying without him, naturally)
A much fairer comparison would be watercolour vs oil painting. It's the same art, but different mediums, involving different skills, different techniques and achieving different ends.
Fwiw, there are certainly things that are extremely difficult to replicate digitally. Solarisation is one of them. (Don't get hung up on the camera bit. There is more to the darkroom than just a primitive analogue Photoshop.)