5 Things I Like And 5 Things I Hate About Google Plus [Opinion]

google plus icon   5 Things I Like And 5 Things I Hate About Google Plus [Opinion]So, I have been an avid Facebook user for years. So when I first heard Google + was on the horizon, I felt surprised that Google would take on the monumental task of becoming a Facebook competitor.

That isn’t to say that I don’t think it can be done, after all Facebook came out of nowhere and pummeled MySpace in the span of a couple of years. But again, I was skeptical. It would take a lot of planning, a lot of marketing, and a lot of work. If Google Buzz was any indication, I didn’t think Google was up to the task.

When Google + finally came out, I actually avoided using it for up to a year. Not only was I skeptical, but I’ve been an initial user of a social network before, and it’s absolutely no fun. It’s like walking into a gymnasium that has been completely decked out for the prom, but only 4 or 5 people have showed up.

My plan was to be fashionably late to the party.

10 Things I Love and Hate about Google Plus

Eventually, my colleagues here at MUO convinced me to make better use of Google Plus. They were mostly all active on it by that point. Many MUO writers dove right in and started writing articles about it, like Dave’s article on how to invite more people, and Ann’s article on how to find Google Plus user updates.

Once I signed up, I was able to find my way around in due course, but I discovered that there were a few things about Google Plus that I really liked, and a few things that I didn’t like at all. These opinions might be based on the 15 years I spent creating or tweaking operator interfaces, but certain aspects of the Google Plus interface just struck me as really cool or really odd.

Dislike #1 – A Confusing “Wall”

One of the first things that took me a little while to get used to was that it wasn’t immediately clear where my own personal wall was. Whenever I first logged into Google Plus, I saw a stream – status updates from everyone that I was following.
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After poking around and playing with the buttons at the top with images on them, I discovered the button that sent me to my own profile, or what Facebook users would call the personal “wall”. I found it a little odd that the wall – the place that I spend a majority of my time on Facebook, would be the third icon to the right rather than the default place you’d go when you first log in.

Dislike #2 – How the Heck Do I Post on My Wall?

The next difference I noticed once I found my way to my personal wall, was the fact that there was no status field to post my updates. Usually, on Facebook, I’ll post my status update straight on my own wall, and within the next few hours that’s where I’ll see all of my friends respond – I post and view those responses all in one place.
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That’s not the case with Google Plus, there you need to apparently go to the stream where you view all of your friends’ updates to post your own update. Only then – after a few minutes anyway – will you see your update actually show up on your profile page.

Dislike #3 – Circle Buttons Look Too Much Like the Share Button

When I first went to post my first status update, I found the array of buttons (and links?) to be slightly odd. I understood what the intent was – to give you better control over who gets to see the update by assigning circles to that update. However, the circle buttons placed next to a link “+Add more people” looked a bit odd.
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In my opinion, either leave all as buttons or all as links, but not both. Having both, in addition to the “Share” button underneath it all, just presents a convoluted mess of buttons and links that can be a little bit confusing to new users.

Dislike #4 – Adding New People to Circles is a Mess

The next thing that I noticed was when I went to add new people to my Google + circles, the page is an absolute mess.

At the bottom half of the page, you will see a list of suggested people that Google has somehow figured out you may know.¬† Once you realize you can just click and slide those people down into their respective “circles”, it gets kind of fun.

However, the area where you search for new people at the top of the page is a total mess.
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It isn’t really clear what the “Relevance” button does until you play around with it. And the “Type a name” search fields are duplicated, and it isn’t entirely clear why or what the difference is between the two (if there is any).¬† The entire page just looks like a convoluted mess that the likes of a tech-savvy MUO reader can probably navigate after a bit of playing – but which I would imagine must seem very alien and confusing to a brand new social networking user.

Dislike #5 – Google Plus Settings are Mixed in with Overall Google Settings

The last thing that annoyed me a little bit was the fact that you can’t just change Google Plus settings like you can in Facebook. In Facebook, there is a link at the upper right of the screen that drops down to a menu where you can view account settings and privacy settings.

Facebook users looking to switch over to Google Plus will try to do the same thing, and instead will see the following confusing list.
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There is no specific Google + settings page. “Google +” takes you to your Google Plus stream, “Profile” takes you to your Google Plus profile page, and “Account settings” takes you to your overall Google account settings page. You have to track down the “Google +” link in the left menu to get to the settings related to Google +. In my opinion, those settings should be more easily accessible from within Google Plus (like 1-click instead of five).

Like #1 – It’s Easy and Fun to Navigate Photos

Enough with the hate. I don’t want people to think that I don’t like Google + at all. I’m actually warming up to it, and one of the things I like the most is the Photo area, where you see a really cool collage of images that people in your circles have posted.
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That is a really fun page to browse. It’s also easy to navigate between photos posted by other people, photos only you’ve posted, and you can even differentiate photos you sent in from your phone if you want. Very cool.

Like #2 – How Easy It Is To Find New, Interesting People

I know that up above I said I don’t like how cluttered and confusing the “Find People” page is, but I also have a reason to like this page as well. You can certainly just type in the name of your old friend in high school that you’ve been trying to track down, but if you want to discover new and interesting people or groups, just start typing in words related to your interests, and see all of the cool people and pages that come up.
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Of course, this plethora of people-choices comes from the fact that Google Plus pages are becoming really popular, so more and more people are building them to promote their own personal interests and organizations. Which leads me to another thing I like about Google Plus.

Like #3 – It’s So Easy To Create a Google + Page

If you have a blog, a business or just an interest that you’re really passionate about, you might want to consider creating a Google Plus page. I previously wrote an article describing how to do this in just a few simple steps – it’s insanely easy to make a great looking page.
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And it’s really easy to update the page by going to your “Stream” page, and using the dropdown under your name on the left to choose the Page that you want to update.

Like #4 – Google Games

What else do I like about Google Plus? Two words: Google Games.

I think Google is perfectly aware of why Facebook became so popular so fast. It was because people could socialize a bit, and then sit back and chill after work, playing a round or two of Bejeweled, Edgeworld or Angry Birds.
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Google Plus has this area of social networking covered very well, with an entire Games Page devoted to the activity, and all games organized on the left menu bar by category. You can easily burn away two or three hours in this section. Consider yourself warned.

Like #5 – It’s Very Easy to¬† Control Publication “Circles”

Again, I know that I complained about this very page in my “dislike” section above, but there is also a reason to like the status update field of Google Plus. I may not like how the buttons are laid out, but I really like how simple and easy it is to categorize your status updates for certain people to see. It’s like having dozens of accounts at once. You can post an update for your work colleagues, an update for you family and an update for your closest friends.
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This feature lies at the core of Google Plus. Facebook still struggles with getting this right, yet Google got it right with their first try. The “circles” feature was a real home run, in my book. I believe it is the feature that could give Google Plus the competitive edge, especially if Facebook keeps messing around with its inconvenient Public/Friends selection dropdown for each post. That’s a fail.

So there you have it, the 5 things I like and dislike about Google Plus. I want to hear from all of you too – what is it that you really like and really hate about Google Plus? Offer your constructive criticism on how Google could improve its social network and truly compete with the beast known as Facebook. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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43 Comments -

Keith Bloemendaal

You spend most of your time on your own wall? Isn’t that kind of like talking to yourself?¬†

I can agree with most of the items you listed (both likes and dislikes), just didn’t understand how you spend most of your time on your own “wall”…. I spend most of mine in the stream or specific circles I have created (IE: News, Social, SEO, Sports, etc…)

Ravi Lamontagne

yeah me too, i was thinking the same thing
even on facebook i hardly ever looked at my wall

Ryan Dube

Well – I guess responding to folks that responded to my posts. Not most of my time – a lot of my time is spent browsing other people’s posts, but like on Twitter, it really comes down to using as a way to update people on what’s going on. So yes, I consider my own wall as the “default” spot for me to start.

Peter Fitzsimmons

For me G+ was an option to get away from the boring gibberish thrown at me on an hourly basis and open up a new world of oppertunities. what do i find? empty space. how you have managed to find anyone worth following is beyond me? not i find people boring… but i cant find the thing that lets me find people. all i ever get are googles insistance of following the same half dozen people, most of whom i have either never heard of or are american (im a brit and want to know more about british sport/politics/entertainment etc..)

the only reason i log on to G+ is to play millionare city… that is incredible sad i know, but i can not find any other reason to use what could be a great tool for communication.

Even people i know from other webistes and blogs admit to having goggole plus accounts, but bugger me, if we cant find each other in the mess of locationg people to follow.

Unless you give up your email contacts it is almost impossible to use this mess of¬† thing…

rant over. haha.

Ravi Lamontagne

well most of my friends are not connect to google + which is a sad thing but i will give it some time, as for millionaire city im playing right now hahahaha, feel free to join my neighbourhood. Speaking of which have u tried the investment thingy i have sent multiple request to friends and some of them has responded to my request but when i go to the investment portfolio nothing shows up.

Ryan Dube

I don’t think logging in to play Millionaire City is sad. There’s something to be said for using G+ for gaming. :-)

Paul N

Google+ needs to be easier to use. More integration of multimedia and video would be good too.

Andyr354

I canceled my account. Never used it or had time for a new network.

Ryan Dube

Wow, you actually gave up and cancelled it?

Andy Rhine

Yup, don’t miss it a bit. ¬†Got rid of that stupid¬†notification¬†bar on google pages :)

Glcraven

The ability to view your page as another user is a great feature. You can be sure that it only shows what you intended to show.

Ryan Dube

I agree – it really helps when you’re making a page for a business or website. I do it almost all the time for my blog profile on G+

Blue5ft3

Personally, I think it’s pure rubbish. hate it I have not signed in since it was implemented and I checked it out and I no longer use Google, I hate the Privacy Policy and no one saying oh they were doing it anyway knows what they are saying, I want nothing to do with them.¬†

Nowherius

Fascinating how certain people are always ¬†non critical about anything that is free. I don’t live in an underdeloped economy – ¬†*whereve…r* . My interests ¬†and curiosity might be different and more non biased. I have to understand the difference and dangers of what i search for online. Fun free features is just another form of online tracking. Who should care about if i’m searching for tights for my 9 year old daughter for her school uniform or my wife for a naughty weekend.¬†
I wish some ¬†blogs wouldn’t promote certain things withouht links to notify the privacy ¬†aspects.

Jill Koppel

I thought the View that you describe as your own page is your Profile. I’ve always just gone to the Home View where you can post in the Stream. I find it all much cleaner and neater than FB. Obviously the Circles add a measure of complexity (ie working out the mutuality of belonging in THEIR circles as well as them belonging in YOUR circles). But it is immediately more sohisticated than FB – in real life you have many circles.

Ryan Dube

Yes, I have to agree that once you adjust to the concept of circles it does start to feel more sophisticated than Facebook. Just a little bit of a learning curve – not too bad though.

Varian Fry

Ref 1) Click your name at the top of the left sidebar (next to your profile image).

Víktor Bautista i Roca

What the hell is a “wall”? What the hell is a “status update”? I don’t understand at all your first complains. And by the way, how could you¬† avoid using google+ for up to a year if it was released 8 months ago?

Enjoying G+

¬†I agree, it makes me a bit skeptical about what he says, although I think if he is serious about his criticism, he will have used the ability to send feedback to the developers who actually LISTEN, unlike anything I’ve seen on FB.¬† And privacy…way better than FB if that is the comparison.¬† WAY better and I certainly have found it easy to find people on G+ to interact with at a much higher intellectual level than on the “likes” of FB.¬† I find it a great meld of the best parts of FB and Twitter.

Ryan Dube

I have to agree that Google has a better record of listening to reviews/criticism than Facebook developers do. There’s something to be said for that.

Ryan Dube

Nearly a year РI guess 5 to 6 months feels that long to me in the online world.  Do you seriously not know what a wall or status updates are, or are you just being facetious?

Chris Hoffman

I think he was making the point that those are Facebook-isms and Google+ is its own thing.

Ryan Dube

Facetious then. That’s what I figured too.

Víktor Bautista i Roca

I’ve heard about them, but I don’t know what they really are. Never have had a Facebook account.

Ravi Lamontagne

Maybe its for the best.

Víktor Bautista i Roca

In fact, it took you just 4 months till your first post in G+.
About wall and status update, yes, I’ve heard about them, I know they have some relation with Facebook, but I don’t know exactly what they are. That’s why I say, and repeat, I don’t get your first complains. I mean, it is as if you were complaining about G+ “one-click buy” (this one I know what it is).

Ryan Dube

4 months from what point, the moment I accepted the beta invite-only request, the moment I filled out my profile, or the moment that G+ went live? Do you even know when those dates were?

Víktor Bautista i Roca

Google+ did start on the 28th of June 2011 (2011/6/28), invitation only, just for testing.
Your first public post on G+ is from 2011/11/5, that it, 4 months, 1 week and 1 day after it opened https://plus.google.com/104375605497981739653/posts/1XqtNZijMrg
So, the MAXIMUM it took you in any case to first use G+ is 4 months, 1 week and 1 day, not 1 year, not 5 to 6 months.

Ryan Dube

Viktor, you admit invitation only was in June, and you agree my first post was only in November. Can you not count? And further more, as I asked above, why in the world does it even matter?

Víktor Bautista i Roca

I can count. From the 28th of June to the 5th of November there are 4 months, 1 week and 1 day. Why do you ask it again instead of answering what I was asking about?
I repeat, for the THIRD time: “What the hell is a ‚Äúwall‚ÄĚ? What the hell is a ‚Äústatus update‚ÄĚ? I don‚Äôt understand at all your first complains.”

Ryan Dube

Viktor, they aren’t complaints, they are opinions. Maybe where you’re from, people aren’t entitled to opinions, but where I’m from they are. I’m sorry if they offended you, but I don’t have to answer to you or anyone else for them.

I figured your questions were sarcasm. If you really don’t know, a wall is what would be your main profile page, where your posts and responses to your posts are displayed. A status update would be where you “share what’s new”.

Google Plus has taken the concept of your own area (what I like about the Facebook “wall” concept) and removed it so that everything gets jumbled together and it becomes a big mess.

I hope that clarifies things.

Ryan Dube

Also – I was invited to the invitation-only beta of G+ before it was officially launched. Not that it matters, but you stated it was released 8 months ago, but that’s not entirely true.

Víktor Bautista i Roca

You are right, that was not entirely true. It was not 8 months, but 8 months plus 4 days, when I said so. I was wrong for 4 days.
I guess that, if you consider 4 days over 8 months to be not entirely true, you consider saying one year instead of of 4 months, a week and a day is blatantly false, isn’t it?
(Google+ did start on the 28th of June 2011 (2011/6/28), invitation only, just for testing.)

Ryan Dube

So you’ve shown that I quickly estimated how long I waited before starting to use it.

So what?

How long it took me to start using Google + has no bearing on the premise of the article. If this is some kind of lame effort to discredit my stated opinions in the article, don’t you have more important things to do?

Víktor Bautista i Roca

It’s you who, instead of answering my questions about walls, status updates and so on started this silly discussion about if it was 4 months as I said and if G+ started 8 months ago or not.

Ryan Dube

Fair enough – I agree it’s the silliest discussion I’ve read in a while. See my response above. I hope that clarifies what I meant.

Liz

I am still having a hard time figuring out how it would work for business industries that are not social by nature.   I work in telecommunications for businesses and have yet been able to find practical solutions.  However, I have a cooking site as a hobby and there I could see it much more practical.  But B2B is another issue. 

Ryan Dube

Liz – that’s true. I think there’s far more value in using social networks like G+ for a business when the business can get value in the feedback from “customers” – I would think your cooking site is an excellent example.

Collene Liftin

Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and aid others like you helped me.

Deddy Syefria

The dislikes that you point out is because you think like “facebook way”. No man open your mind It’s G+

Mike

I tried to give google+ a chance, and I last for about a day. At first it seemed kind of cool, since I leave my gmail window up all day at work, having a social networking-type feature embedded would make it easy to flip back and forth. Pretty much everything you summed up here as a reason for disliking it were exactly my sentiments, plus the fact there are no options for skins. The WHITE, WHITE EVERYWHERE! Look is annoying (my gmail is a black skin) and it makes it hard for me sometimes to find buttons I am looking for. It took me about 20 minutes to figure out how to shut the stream off. It’s a pet peeve of mine, I loathe the news feed on FB and when I saw this it reminded me of that. I don’t care what other people are doing, if I did, I would go to their profiles and see what they’re up to.

It’s not a matter of opening your mind to it, the layout just sucks and it feels a bit overwhelming. Maybe if they fix it up a bit I may just consider returning to it and ditching the (now) wildly annoying facebook.

James Drury

I am at the tipping point of getting rid of G+ for good, I don’t like the way you cannot limit the amount of your stream is used by certain circles. I keep hearing about a slider, only slider I have found is the one for What’s Hot. I turned that one off. I tried searching for how to use the slider on Google + and got a blerb on how they are going to offer it back on Oct 2011 and now they have changed the format I might have missed the bus.

I found some frustrated people who are putting the worst offenders in a muted stream. I think that is just stupid, if they are circled you should be able to adjust the amount of data you see from them. Moving the offending circle to the rightmost position does nothing, so if that’s what they mean by slide then that’s bull.

I have people who I block, this is different – this is not a block issue this is a throttle issue.

I chose to use Firefox for a browser, I do not want to go to Chrome to get the features I am looking for. I am on Google + for Christ’s sake please give me control of my account.

Why is the freaking background white? I hate white – it hurts my eyes on my widescreen monitor that is 15 inches from my face and fills my field of view – why is there so much white?

I honestly hope that they will listen and change the page to help these issues… I know there are others who feel the same as I and hope it does not come to evacuating the site for other locales.

Ryan Dube

James, I have to agree with your observations. I’m not sure I follow why someone would even include someone in their circles if they don’t like the volume of updates and need to figure out a way to “mute” them…doesn’t that seem counterproductive? Why not just delete them completely?