Goodbye Google+

From Danny Brown:

Over the weekend, I decided to stop using Google+. I’ve never really been enamored with the service, truth be told, and I just found it to be another place that sucked my time up.

Since before I was even able to get my account on Google+ I’ve wanted to cancel it. Like Danny and my podcast co-host Mike Vardy, it is something I’ve wanted to be rid of for some time now. Google+ has been an oasis for many who were unhappy, fed up or simply tired of Facebook or Twitter. I’ve always found these existing networks to suit my needs and my goals quite nicely. Sure, Google+ has interesting features including hangouts, a clean UI, keyboard shortcuts1, but to be honest, the platform added exactly nothing to my life that I was missing. In aggregate, there never seemed to be a compelling reason to add this service to the repertoire. Curiosity led me to give it a try.

I felt I needed to try it firsthand, if only to see that it wasn’t social media fatigue that was keeping me from trying something new. I jumped in and began using the account, doing my best to keep my reluctance from tainting my opinion. I’ve had some truly excellent conversations on the service, especially with Yuvi Zalkow and Erin Feldman (this is one of the areas where G+ truly shines), but I’ve always had good conversations with Yuvi and Erin.

When business pages were announced, our company didn’t have the resources to add yet another service. Our customers really do not seem to be there, yet fearing implications to our search engine rankings, I signed up. I quickly abandoned the account, but until now, the potential importance of G+ business pages kept me from deleting the page.

I could go on about what I like and what I dislike about the service (especially when it comes to how they are presenting their usage numbers and impacting search results), but the bottom line is this: for myself (and for our business) I no longer see Google+ as either a necessity or a desire. It’s an obligation and an unnecessary one at that. Is that a self-fulfilling proposition? Possibly. Am I just doing it wrong? Probably. But in truth, I think this service will be more important to Google than it will ever be to me or my business.

The decision to sign up for the account was my own. I’m not trying to come off as some victim of Google. I wanted a firsthand and informed opinion and now feel I have enough of one to leave the service. I was outspoken about it from the beginning and it seemed fitting that I let you know that I’ve decided to do more than abandon my account, I have deleted it. There’s always the chance that Google+ will turn things around and that this will be a highly relevant social network. If so, I will likely go back. But for now, I’d rather focus in on the areas of my digital life that offer value, especially this site, my podcast with Mike Vardy and Twitter. For our company, I want to harness our limited resources where they can best help our customers. When I gave it a long, hard look, it was clear that G+ was excessive and excess is something I’m more than happy to get rid of in order to focus in on the things that matter.

What are your impressions with G+? Think I’m insane for giving up so early in the site’s history? All thoughts are welcome.


  1. Facebook seriously needs to add these already, but I digress…  

23 Responses to Goodbye Google+

  1. Google + reminds me of when Microsoft, threatened by Netscape and the power of the web, released Microsoft Explorer, using their market dominance to squash a competitive technology.  Google + isn’t something the market needs as much as something that Google needs to keep growing revenue in order to satisfy Wall Street.  Google’s using their market dominance in search and giving preference to google + likes for SEO to create a dominant position. 

    I see no need to start a company page in Google + which only appears to be populated with Google Employees as users. 

    I +1 my blog posts in the hope that it improves my SEO, but the next time I log on to Google + will be the 2nd time.

    • The recent changes to the way they handle social data really put me over the top. The video at Focusontheuser.org is really enlightening.

      I understand the need to grow revenue, but this seems more geared at winning against Facebook than it does seem to be a plan to make us love and use the web even more.

      There does seem to be a very devout user base beyond the Google employees, but it has yet to include our customers. Only time will tell, but for now, I’d rather focus on what’s working.

  2. This basically solves my dilemma of whether or not to stick with Google+ because the main reason I was on it was to talk to you and Erin. And to apologize to people who have me in their circle…

    Social media disaster averted.

  3. Heh. I just invested two hour circling and organizing people this week – in last gasp to truly invest some time to see if it’s worth it before shutting down. Sounds like you and Danny beat me to it by a few weeks.

  4. in my experience it was mostly social media marketers and social media experts that joined Google+ for the same reasons you joined, and the same reason I joined- to know first hand what it was all about. I found most of my friends tried it, found it lacking in ambiance and interest and went back to the original Google+ – Facebook. Truly, its set up to look just like what FB did look like, without the games or ticker. I ditched my account quite some time ago, probably after I had strangers adding me to their circles and finding no way to leave their circles but to block them outright. Google+ is lacking ‘something’ and i personally dont think it will ever gain that much more popularity. 

    • I’m with you. It will be interesting to see if they manage to find that something, but I think it will be fringe services that win for now. The center is fairly well taken with Facebook and to a lesser extent Twitter.

  5. I’m with you and Danny on this one. I’m a huge fan of Twitter and always have been. Aside from marketing and advertising campaigns for my clients, I use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends that would otherwise be difficult to keep up with. Google+ is the last one on my list and I barely use it.

    As for what they’re doing with search, I don’t agree with that either. As a marketer and professional researcher personalization goes against the access to information I want and need, however I’m in the minority there.

    I’ve gotten great results in SEO by sticking with the basics. And so far my lack of use of Google+ hasn’t effected any of my search rankings. In many conversations I’ve been told repeatedly that Google can only mess with search so much. If they “mess it up”, meaning the make the results less pure in an attempt to further push their own social network, it will lose it’s utility value and begin eroding away at their user base.

    We’ll see what happens with that though. Either way, I won’t be spending any more time on Google+.

    • That’s a great point about the search, mate. My traffic had G+ around 14-15th as far as usefulness (organic search is #1 with over 50%). I’ll stick with organic every time, thank you very much.

      And I completely agree with you on the personalization stuff, mate – bias for your own product goes completely against the “Don’t be evil” mantra they became known for.

      Meh.

    • I don’t mind the personalization all that much, I mind the weighted personalization in favor of Google. I doubt they will see the light and but I agree the basics are still likely to yield better results. It will however be interesting to see how far they are willing to go to try to make that untrue. At the moment they seem desperate to win and that is never good for the user.

  6. I’m pretty sure there was more to the statement than that… ;-)

    For me, it’s just a bland, soulless excuse for a network. It just feels like something put together by people that don’t truly understand the nuances of a networked community, just to go up against Facebook.

    Ah well. No major loss.

  7. Michael, love it!

    The only ones that really loved G+ were the social media gurus who were looking for a new playground or next big thing to be an expert of…

    But, the next “big” thing wasn’t. In fact, the next big thing was “small.”

    Pinterest. Instagram. Path. And other “small” platforms are the new “big thing.”

    Niche is the new big.

    I wonder how many people are “waving” goodbye to G+? (pun intended) ;)

    • It’s sad, but true. I don’t mind that they tried (although I may mind that some are still trying so hard :) ), but it turns out this just isn’t something that many of us need.

      The smaller services you mention offer things the big platforms don’t. While it’s easy to write them off as features that can be copied, it’s interesting to see these smaller microcosms. That said, I still think I’m going to go a layer deeper and cut a few more services out. Foursquare offers little to no value and to be honest, as much as I love Path, it’s just another thing I’m not sure that I need.

      I like the “niche is the new big” line, but I think it’s also really important to consider just how many niches is enough (more talking to myself here than to anyone else).

      Now I am going to wrap this comment up without making any jokes involving the word Buzz…

  8. I come at this from a user standpoint. I’m not a business owner, I don’t do SEO and I’m there for networking.

    I love G+. I like being able to interact with people that have the same interests that I do. I don’t care if I ever meet them in “real life” but if I did that’d be cool too! I can keep on top of things in one space and it’s easy to do so.

    I have never liked FB. I don’t GET it. I don’t care about people from high school or relatives that I can just call. I don’t like the games, I hate the BS they put their users through and the constant security issues. Yuck.

    I am a big fan of Twitter and Pinterest. My other love is Ravelry which is phenomenal but very niche and not known by most since it focuses on fiber arts.

    My point is this, use it if you like it, but if you don’t like it that’s ok too. I think it perfectly suits my needs and am happy the people I’m interested in have embraced it. I don’t compare it to FB because to me it’s not the same at all. Yes, there are similarities but … Like what you like and let go of the rest. :)

    • That is the beauty of social media, we all see it differently. For me, it is just a very “me too” service. I see far more value in sustaining and growing a network of those I know over simply connecting with people of common interest. I think FB offers the best of both worlds in that regard. As for that last bit, I couldn’t agree more, which is why I let go :)

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