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Why I left Google - JW on Tech


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Officially, Google declared that “sharing is broken on the web” and nothing but the full force of our collective minds around Google+ could fix it. You have to admire a company willing to sacrifice sacred cows and rally its talent behind a threat to its business. Had Google been right, the effort would have been heroic and clearly many of us wanted to be part of that outcome. I bought into it. I worked on Google+ as a development director and shipped a bunch of code. But the world never changed; sharing never changed. It’s arguable that we made Facebook better, but all I had to show for it was higher review scores.

As it turned out, sharing was not broken. Sharing was working fine and dandy, Google just wasn’t part of it. People were sharing all around us and seemed quite happy. A user exodus from Facebook never materialized. I couldn’t even get my own teenage daughter to look at Google+ twice, “social isn’t a product,” she told me after I gave her a demo, “social is people and the people are on Facebook.” Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn’t invited to the party, built his own party in retaliation. The fact that no one came to Google’s party became the elephant in the room.

This was written in March 2012.

Google has not waivered in its commitment to Google+ at all.

Quite the opposite: it feels like it's integrated with just about every Google product.

I Know! A year later, what has changed? I see the UI and I have to say, they are making every social media design mistake in the book. 

Perhaps they are in a holding pattern while planning the next version?

my spies say otherwise. 

I prefer not to have 'social' shoved down my throat as I use (now fewer) google products... It's just not a fit... Google is a suite of tools in my mind... not a social network.

Facebook used to say that tools are better when social. They've toned that message down recently.

I'd imagine that eventually Google+ is so integrated with Android that smartphone owners won't even realize it's there.

Adam: What design mistakes are these in G+?

I will let Christina answer about them making "every social media design mistake in the book".

Personally, I have a lot of trouble with the circles system in that it's hard to modify circles.

A simpler follow/unfollow model would be a lot more helpful and usable.

As a Facebook and Google+ user, just for general sharing and communication.. I am actually loving Google+..

Shy, you love it for sharing or you love it for receiving things others have shared?

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