Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Why I think Google+ is a failure

Let's face it, when Google+ came along, it was trying to claw some people away from Facebook. Well, how do you win "customers" from a rival? You can do one of a number of things but they usually involve:

1) Do something cheaper. FB is already free so not much scope here for G+ to improve
2) Do something that your rival doesn't. Nothing obvious here that G+ supports that is not on FB.
3) Don't do something that your rival does. The main annoyance with Facebook is related to privacy and advertising but since this pays for both FB and G+, there is no difference here either.
4) You do the same thing but in a better way. Well despite the fact that FB has more information on screen, they have the right balance in my opinion between usability and functionality. I find G+ unintuitive.
5) All of my friends are on Facebook and hardly any on G+, partly because of 1-4 above!

Like various Google products, as of late, they have departed their slick origins and now have weird and wonderful UX that to be honest confuses me, even though I'm a developer. Look at the weird Google bar that they have at the top of loads of sites. A range of options including a text link, two icons, a text button and then an image button - nothing like consistency. It just doesn't lead me anywhere obvious.

Another example is Street View. Once, it was simple and usable but go there now and a whole load of things are all over the picture. The left arrow at the top is not to turn the camera, it goes back to the map. Another load of icons thrown onto a canvas with little regard for consistency.

Even GMail itself does strange things and in the journey to putting loads of CSS3 whizz-bangs in, they have lost the natural interface it once was.

Sorry Google, I love you but you are well off course with your consumer offerings just now.
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