You know what, Google? Screw it. I’ll use Google+.
I really don’t want to – I’ve got enough things to check, and I kind of hate the social networks I’m already part of. But the YouTube thing means it’s pretty clear you’re going to chase me everywhere on the web until I submit to your will, so I might as well surrender. It just seems easier.
Man, this sucks.
Anyway, not everyone’s come to this consensus yet, but don’t worry, Google, I think you can get everyone onto your network in just a few months if you really push. Here are my suggestions.
Force Plus In There
You guys missed out on the social networking wave – Facebook and Twitter built up huge user bases before you noticed how important these networks would become. So now you’re playing catch up, by any means necessary.
You shut down Google Reader, seemingly because you thought we’d just use Plus instead. Then you forced Google+ into YouTube, meaning anything I write in YouTube’s comments will now show up on my Google+ profile. The founder of YouTube certainly loved the idea:
I understand that a social network is only useful if people use it – I really do. So why not take YouTube’s comments section, a place where lots of people take the time to say things (usually vile, terrible things, but still: things!) and integrate that with a site most people never bother to say anything on?
Your logic is astounding, I merely propose that you keep going. Integrate more services. Here are some more ideas.
Most people don’t check Google Plus regularly, but that’s just because there’s no content there worth reading. This is a problem you can solve instantly thanks to Gmail!
Why not make any email between two Google users a public Google+ conversation? That would add all kinds of interesting content to Google+, content I’m sure many people would find interested to read. Actually, why limit yourself? Just put every email we send from Gmail onto Google+, by default (leaving a hard-to-find option to turn this off, of course – you’re not evil, after all).
To Google Calendar
Oh, here’s another thing: Facebook makes it easy for everyone to know when I’m going to be at a party, and no one seems to mind. Why not just make my entire calendar public, only on Google+?
To Google Maps
While you’re at it, why not broadcast my location at all times, to anyone on the Internet, using Google Maps? Broadcast any directions I look up, or just track my phone… whatever. If you turn Google+ into the place anyone can visit to violate the privacy of anyone else, anytime, you’ll have users.
To Google’s Homepage
Your front page is among the most popular on the web, iconic for its cleanliness and loved for loading quickly. Know what it could use?
Yeah, perfect. Some of your hundreds of millions of users ought to feel bad enough to click that. Oh, and while you’re at it, publish all of our searches to the network – you’re already tracking them, and it’s another fascinating bit of information you can add to our profiles.
Buy Twitter, Add Plus To That
Oh, and here’s an idea: why not just start buying other social networks? People love posting stuff to Twitter, and if you add a big enough button to the form for tweeting people may also post stuff to Google+. Accidentally.
See What Sticks
You used to be a company that threw several things at the wall and kept what works. An email client – why not? Buying an experimental word processor that works entirely in the browser? Give it a shot. Oh, and let’s see if we can make the best RSS reader in the world, because that sounds like fun.
Search was so insanely profitable that you could afford to try just about anything, and you tried just about everything. It’s why most of the services you offer today even exist (the ones you didn’t kill off, anyway).
From a user’s point of view, this can be frustrating: things we love could disappear. But it’s also what allowed your company to branch out from search into things like email, maps and mobile phones. You allowed your engineers to experiment, and your users to play around with the results.
But you know what? That was stupid. You’ve got a better strategy now: adding Google+ to products people love in order to someday turn that wasteland into a viable competitor. Stick with that.