November 17, 2011

Whjy does Slate hate #Google+ ?

I swear, I've seen several columns about G+ on Slate, and every one has had the same theme: It's dying, it "blew it" with Facebook, etc. Most, like the latest, are written by Slate tech columnist Farhad Manjoo and similar self-appointed gurus; it's gotten to the point that, just as I once, only semi-facetiously, wondered if Jeff Jarvis was on Google's payroll, I wonder if Manjoo gets checks from Facebook. (That's OK; as long as he stays off G+, let FB pay him!)

Reality? FB traffic has declined recently as well. Zuckerberg has abandoned his latest, most controversial changes to FB. He's made others that are deliberate G+ copycats. (The face that Marky Mark has started a G+ page, apparently just to spy out what contacts users of both platforms have on G+ that they don't on FB, underscores this.)

Anyway, here's Manjoo's nutgraf:
And yet, I’ve been surprised by just how dreary the site has become. Although Google seems determined to keep adding new features, I suspect there’s little it can do to prevent Google+ from becoming a ghost town. Google might not know it yet, but from the outside, it’s clear that G+ has started to die—it will hang on for a year, maybe two, but at some point Google will have to put it out of its misery.

I find most conversations on G+ that get posts going on them get more extensive than ones on FB. I find that there are fewer "ditto" reshares of posts. Because G+ does things with its search that FB doesn't, "Sparks" was reformulated. Etc., etc.

It's true that G+ had bad first impressions, as he notes. But, it's addressing (albeit slowly) the pseudonymity issue. It's throwing more resources into G+ in general. It's got Pages set up in a way to kind of segregate businesses and individuals. And, it's throwing more resources into the issue in general.

And, those extra resources are producing some impressive new features.

That said, Manjoo is also right that Google should have looked at G+ more like Twitter and not been so heavy-handed. But, I've blogged about the second part myself, as have many others. An issue? Yes. Is it killling Google? No.

As for Google staffers not being into G+? That's a red herring. Since Google does so much more than "just social media," of course there's going to be staffers, even senior execs, who don't use it. It's not like they're using Bing for searches.

Actually, as long as Zuckerberg remains in charge of Facebook, with the possibility of further arrogant, arbitrary changes, G+ will always have at least some degree of life. OR, maybe not ... as Marky Mark is about to come to a privacy settlement with the FTC over doing just that.

Anyway, G+ is NOT "dying." Period.
Detractors don’t realize one very important point: Google does not see Google+ as a separate product; to the company, Google+ is the product. 

Sure, Google hopes to build a social network that competes with Facebook, Twitter and other social services, but that is not the main reason the company has put so many resources behind Google+. Instead, Google+ is a social layer that has always been intended to sit on top of the company’s flagship product: search.
And, as long as people like Manjoo aren't on G+, that's fine by me.

And, I suspect the initial commenter here maybe had G+ consider his website a business, which it could well be, and therefore removed a business page he had started on G+.

Meanwhile, it appears Harvard Business Review doesn't totally get G+, either. By encouraging more targeted posting, arguably, Google will learn MORE about its users than Facebook will, and will be able to apply that across the board to Google ad presentations.


NintendoLegend said...

1) Slate does not hate Google. Within the same article you cite, they praise Google repeatedly as an organization. Its search and e-mail are two examples of fantastic execution that Slate is hardly criticizing.

2) Slate explained, quite clearly, why they dislike Google+. Frankly, they are correct: Until someone can explain to me how to use it as a marketing/promotional platform (which no one has been able to), I will not use it, and will stick to Facebook. Also, Google's early decision to discourage brand pages? Utterly horrible and stupid.

3) Instead of asking why Slate hates Google (which they clearly do not -- this is poor journalism at its worst, when you put words into the mouths of people who never spoke them), perhaps we can then ask you: Why do you defend Google+?

Gadfly said...

And you, sir, apparently didn't read the header to this post. I never said Slate hated Google; I specifically mentioned Google+. Read the header.

Or read all the individual "G+" uses in the body text here.

Since you didn't, I reject your claims of "poor journalism." Maybe read before you post? As for the claims about G+? I didn't say it was perfect, myself, as you can see by reading here.

It's called nuance, which you apparently also didn't notice.

Therefore, I reject your blanket criticism of G+, as well.

Gadfly said...

If you read through my blog, you'll also note that I have made critiques of G+.

Tempus Phoenix said...

G+ i like it, so my +1 will negate his -1 there the world is balanced