Google Plus might be one of the most hated websites on the whole internet. Google’s first mistake was thinking that people wanted yet another social media platform. Its second was forcing people to use Google Plus for commenting on YouTube videos.
But Google has brought back a new, re-vitalised version of the website. The redesign is, supposedly, about making a social network experience that is more focussed on the user’s personal interests. Two of the most prominent new features are the ‘Collections’ section and the ‘Communities’ section.
Collections and Communities
Collections is a place where fans of a particular hobby have the opportunity to collate important informations, like ‘vegan recipes’.
The Communities section seems to be a place for discussion, where hobbyists can talk to other like-minded people.
Eddie Kessler, who is the Direction of Streams, said in an official blog post:
Today, we’re starting to introduce a fully redesigned Google+ that puts Communities and Collections front and center. Now focused around interests, the new Google+ is much simpler. And it’s more mobile-friendly—we’ve rebuilt it across web, Android and iOS so that you’ll have a fast and consistent experience whether you are on a big screen or small one.
Breaking: Google+ still exists https://t.co/v0QxC8SBPH
— Seth Fiegerman (@sfiegerman) November 17, 2015
Google Plus was launched in 2011 to great fanfare. It was one of the first times that an extant tech company had waded into the social media arena. Companies like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were started purely for their specific function, so people were excited to see what Google could do with its resources, expertise and, perhaps most importantly, finance.
Despite this, Google + has not seen the engagement which the company had surely hoped for. The total number of valid profiles with any content is 90.1 per cent. In addition, only 1.5 per cent of profiles have ever posted ten or more posts.
Oddly, however, Google has forced a Google+ account onto everyone who signs up for an account with them, so the social network has become the most popular in the world, with more than 2.5 billion accounts, more than double Facebook’s total users.
Identity & understanding
Some have argued that we are looking at Google Plus from the wrong perspective: we should not be using it to share posts and photos, but rather to facilitate and consolidate our identites. Indeed Android, another Google (Alphabet?) company uses the slogan “Be Together. Not the Same.”
In a statement to media, the Vice President for product management at Google Plus, Bradley Horowitz, said:
Google Plus gives you the opportunity to be yourself, and gives Google that common understanding of who you are.
Perhaps that is exactly right: we are so contented and satisfied with our experiences on Facebook, Twitter, etc. that it would be unfair to think that Google Plus could only be a success if it reached the same apogee as these have. In other words, could it be that we need to shed our existing thoughts on Google+ and start using it to integrate our identites from across all other Google apps. If this is indeed the case, then the new redisign will not be a total fix, but it it will definitely help.
What do you think of the new Google Plus? Have your say in the comments section below.