back to article Google+ dying on its arse – shock new poll

Google has bet the company on Google+, but it’s dying on its arse. A study by traffic analysts RJ Metrics suggests that public engagement with the social network is weak, and failing to gather momentum. "The decay rate here is very concerning," says the report, summarised here. "Users are less and less likely to make …

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GM Anyone.

Re: Not entirely a joke, I think.

GM have seen through the " we can target your ad" rubbish of Facebook and pulled 10 mill in ad fees. See the post on this site regarding the Facebook ad fail rate.

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Re: GM Anyone.

True, although the reasons for this lack of success seem to be a reluctance on the part of Facebook to engage in large-scale advertising. Placement of Facebook ads on the right-hand column of their interface also makes them very easy to ignore.

This doesn't diminish the fact that Facebook has a capability that Google currently lacks: that of tying a user's viewing preferences to real-world demographic information. All that Google knows is that a person or persons who habitually use a particular browser have looked at a particular set of topics.

It's not what Facebook are doing now that worries Google, it's what Facebook could do. Also, the number of small businesses in my area (hardly the beating heart of the tech industry) who now just say "Find us on Facebook" rather than putting up a website (and thus having something that an AdWords campaign would link to) must be cause for concern for Google.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not entirely a joke, I think.

See

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/05/16/gm_drops_facebook_ads/

"FB user base is now so large it is becoming a serious competitor to Google"

FB reach 50%, Google reach 90%

"Nothing else, from all of the company's myriad products, produces one red cent of profit for Google."

They do generate revenue from Google apps but it's low profile - not just the individuals paying a few $ a year for extra storage but, for example, I believe Virgin Media email accounts are outsourced to Google. Whether that's making much profit at present is immaterial, Google's in business for the long term, not the quick win. How many internet wonderkids build up a project for a $BN sale or IPO then we see it drop off the radar when the next big thing arrives, social networking being a prime example. MySpace -sold for half a billion in 2005, overtook Google to be most visited web site then a steep decline until 2011 sold again for $40M. Friends Reunited sold 2005 for $200m, went down the toilet, sold again in 2010 $40m, current valuation $8m.

The fact is that Google learnt from the mistakes of other social networks and built a great system. It lacks the critical mass of users at present, well coming late to the party that's inevitable but fashions change. FB have something of a track record of making changes their user's seriously don't like - well now there's an alternative. As far as I can see the only advantage of FB is that your friends are already on FB. There's a lot not to like about FB and G+ addresses those disliked aspects.

As far as I'm concerned I don't regard (online) social networking as a vital part of my existence, I don't value myself by how many online friends I've got (just as well since I never accept FB "friend" requests!)

I occasionally use FB but in "read-only" mode, I give it as little personal data as I can and lock down everything I can to keep a low profile. I think it was especially dirty to ask for email account login details without making it clear it could rifle through your contacts and that giving any third party any of your passwords is bloody stupid anyway (which is why I didn't).

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Devil

Beware, beware the ides of March

I wonder if this is a heads up for anyone considering entering into the dark realms of the Facebook IPO.

PS : ( It's actually May but let's not get all pedantic ...... not that any commentards have that problem........)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Beware, beware the ides of March

I wouldn't worry too much, we mere mortals won't get a look in on the FB IPO. Don't you need something daft like $250k captial to hand and done at least 50 trades already this year?

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Stop

Re: Beware, beware the ides of March

This "news" has everything about the Facbook IPO. It's all about making investors feel happy that Google won't overtake Facebook in the same way Facebook killed MySpace.

I wil bet money that Google (and G+) will be around long after Facebook is a baren MySpace-like wasteland...

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"Any suggestions for how Google can disentangle itself from Plus?"

Yes.

Leave it to die. Focus on Gmail(1) and Android(2).

(1). Gmail is a great service. The way to exploit that is to use extend it and reposition it and Google+ as an identity service, like Windows Live. Then, other than innovating around email, leave it, and rake in the advertising cash.

(2). Fix the fragmentation issue so that all devices, like iOS and WP, run the latest version. Add a music service a la iTunes/Zune. Heavily tie it into the Gmail-based identity service. Then, other than innovate on phone UI, leave it, and rake in the advertising cash.

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The fragmentation issue is basically a myth and they already have a music service.

As a G+ user I don't see it dying, or even slowing down. Extending G+ to be a login and commenting system like Discus and Facebook is a natural course for them, which will gather even more social data.

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Anonymous Coward

Pitch to your strengths

G+ has become THE platform for online RPGs. Maybe they should go with that.

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Re: Pitch to your strengths

Given that the majority of those kind of comms are likely to be within private circles, that would appear to align with what an earlier poster said about only public comments being counted for this report.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pitch to your strengths

How about the pitch "too much going on on FB to keep up with? Come to G+ where f*ck all happens!"

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Re: Pitch to your strengths

It's a big platform for photographers too, and the latest update to the mobile app will only improve that. I've not seen any RPG stuff, so maybe that's in circles as suggested.

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Pint

@AC 14:08

That is the first pitch that ever even made me take a modicum of notice!

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Soul Motive

>The ad giant has ripped up its privacy policies and redesigned its consumer services around Google+

A lot of the privacy policies were also re-written so that other Google products could share data. True G+ was sold as the central hub to this but it is not the only reason. Now your gmail can share data with your gdocs, your search results can be even more linked to what you say and so on.

It never made much sense for 1 company to have dozens of user agreements when most users would happily agree to a single umbrella one that would provide for all the services. True when it started many people would have been miffed if gdocs had access to contact data and gmail was reading all you wrote but now that all the systems are established there is no huge fight back to what many see as a similication.

I do agree that Google would have liked to provide all the adds to it's very own Facebook and had a little more power to target those adds but "social search" is not yet that critical and I don't expect Google's revinues will die overnight if G+ fades away.

{I would also say that I see far more non-public posts than public ones from users}

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Trollface

Google+ you say

Sorry, I spend too much time avoiding Facebork to worry about another one.

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Anonymous Coward

Too low key?

Google have a social network?

To be serious, if it wasn't for the Register I wouldn't know about GoogleDoublePlusGood - it doesn't feature in my friends and acquaintances conversations

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HMB

Old Addage

Give people something much better or half the cost.

Google+ just isn't much better, all this while Facebook continues to push forwards. Google+'s future might have been more interesting had it not insisted on real names, but it might be too late for that now.

Innovation fail.

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JDX
Gold badge

Re: Old Addage

Like the real names thing makes a difference. The vast majority of people want to use their real name because the whole point of a social network is to be you and find your real-life friends. Having to email phone your mate and ask "what's your ID on XYZ" is an immediate lose.

Sure a minority want fake names but they are not going to tip the balance between a mainstream site succeeding/failing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Old Addage

That may have been true originally, but since people are now becoming (very slowly) aware of just how bad Farcebork can be for your privacy and future employment prospects, almost nobody I know uses a real name. Several have multiple accounts for different 'soclial circles' as they don;t trust FB to separate the information.

So you have to e-mail them once - big deal. With the amount of people on FB it is quicker anyway ("Oi, Dave - which one of the 34,200 Dave Brown's are you?")

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Flame

Define 'joining GPlus'

Every time I try to login to Gmail or upload photos on Picasa via the web interface I have to jump thru hoops to avoid signing up for bloody GPlus... And they ask why user engagement is low...

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Anonymous Coward

Public posts metric?

The whole value of G+ to me is not vomiting my random thoughts to a bunch of complete strangers as on Twitter and Facebook, it's vomiting my random thoughts to a bunch of close friends I don't get to see often enough in the real world.

I realise that "privacy" and "Google" are not great conceptual bedfellows, but I really like the controlled privacy that Circles gives.

I think there might be something like "close friends" on FB, but I don't think it's as well developed.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Public posts

> I realise that "privacy" and "Google" are not great conceptual bedfellows...

Since the whole Net is supposed to be the antithesis of privacy.. Or rather it is non-private by default; people accept the crap safety values of social networks.

It's just that Google got caught by bad timing over its data retention publicity and that has put off me at least.

I have an account I only use for e-mail and I am falling out of love with that. Not that I have all that much to worry about unless George Bush and Tony Blair get sorted and the Feds come bungling to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Public posts metric?

Why do you have a "bunch of complete strangers" on Facebook. I only have a bunch of close friends I don't get to see often enough in the real world. Sounds like you're doing Facebook wrong.

Similar with Twitter - I follow friends and interesting people - not those vomiting random thoughts!

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Re: Public posts metric?

I'm no Facebook fan, and I'm sorry for picking on your post when many others make the same comments, but it makes me laugh when people post this assumption that Facebook is all "vomit of random thoughts" and Google+ is somehow more high-brow and intellectual.

You see posts from the people/friends/whatever *you've* added or are following, whether on Facebook or Google+ - the network doesn't determine the content. If you're following fucktards on Facebook, and professors on Google+, that's the reason. If you don't want to see vomit of random thoughts, don't follow or befriend the people posting that crap.

Rant over.

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Re: Public posts metric?

Dear friends, I'm in the phone book. If you want me to hear your random thoughts then ring me up.

<goes off to smash a loom>

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JDX
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Re: Public posts metric?

Post your number and it's a deal.

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g e
WTF?

Guff

I have loads of activity on my G+ account and I post something most days, too. Also there's no bullshit 'Come and join me on my farm' or 'What kind of Koala are you?' invites.

Perhaps they were paid by Farcebork for that 'survey', to make FB look more important, or they just don't know how to use G+

Let the Farceborkers stay there, tending Koalapeople on their virtual farms. G+ is a much nicer place altogether.

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Happy

Re: Guff

"What kind of Koala are you?", "Come and join me on my farm."?

Sounds like not joining FB was a wise decision as it appears to be run by 14 year old girls and The Wurzels Fan Club!

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Wasn't federated

Needed to be a distributed federation (a la email or xmpp) to kill facebook. But then Google wouldn't control the data, and we can't have google without big data, can we?

On the bright side, this post prompted my monthly visit to G+.

On the downside, I find myself actively avoiding posting, since the death spiral means I'll just end up having to rescue the content later.

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FAIL

Now I'm able to turn off "What's Hot", I'm much happier.

But the problem is - Google Plus was just too late. Something good enough already existed, and had so much momentum Google Plus can't beat it.

They need a USP, but good luck on finding one.

I want it to work, I really do. But with my entire family and friends on Facebook, why would I post on anything else?

Perhaps the only real way to save Google Plus is have a "Share with Facebook" and "Import from Facebook" option.

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Anonymous Coward

Any suggestions for how Google can disentangle itself from Plus?

G--

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Anonymous Coward

Public Data

I'm a bit confused. A report purely on public posts would also conclude that email is dead.

I thought the whole point of G+ was to use private circles in the same way that email only gets sent to chosen people.

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Anonymous Coward

Get creative...

Rather than trying to ape Facebook with Google+ (or any number of Google ventures that simply clone other companies or technologies), how about Google having a go at breaking new ground coming up with something uniquely its own?

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JDX
Gold badge

Re: Get creative...

They tried that with Buzz and Wave. Both flopped. They undoubtedly ARE constantly trying to come up with new ideas but the problem is, that is hugely difficult and you can't inspire a genius idea simply by throwing money.

You only have to look at Google and MS to see they are always doing R&D into a myriad of different things, most of which never even get reported on let alone put into production. For every gmail and google maps you can bet there are a dozen projects that never made it outside Google's offices.

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Re: Get creative...

For creating documents and workshopping ideas, Wave was actually pretty good. I just suspect that there aren't that many people who actually need to do that.

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Re: Get creative...

Wave was excellent and a lot of the tech they created is now in other products, eg. multiple simultaneous editors in Docs. What I don't understand about Wave is how it gets called a Social product when it was a combination of email, blog, docs, forum, messenger etc. If that's the qualification to be a social product then GMail, Blogger, Youtube and Google Talk would be social products too (and so would the old Reader), but all we hear about are google's social failures and never its successes.

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Anonymous Coward

but it's great

I use it daily for all manner of things and post regularly.

naturally a lot of people signed up for it then lost interest. That's the same for any new thing. Now the honeymoon is over of course there's a trend downwards but it's what Google does now that makes/breaks G+.

I used to use Facebook but it's turned into a cess pit of meaningless drivel. At least now on G+ i get targetted interesting updates about my many hobbies.

_C

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Coffee/keyboard

it could have something to do with g+ layout and the usa google way of doing things.

but it dont work for me or for millions of others

i have to use facebook,when i see my facebook page i just think damn,wh.at a mess,when i go to g+i just ithink,blah.g+ intergration between diffrrent parts see;i agree wms to have been done by an alien.usualy i can get my head around the mindset of who or why a program looks or works as it does but not with g+ .designed by a commitee of camels i think.

i agree with folk posting earlier,tie more services direct to gmail.

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WTF?

i just think damn,wh.at a mess

Pot calling a kettle?

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I think it works okay

I see a lot of activity for the things I take an interest in and the user interface beats Facebook by a mile. To be honest I don't really see the point of most social networks though and I wouldn't be surprised if lots of people do give it a try, don't think much of it and never go back. Is Facebook really that different? I doubt it? Bet there are lots of dead accounts and people who only post messages privately and therefore aren't measurable.

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not helped by Googles piss poor software and UI

A few of my family signed up specifically for the video Hangout feature but as I've come to expect from the perpetual beta crapware they shovel out, we couldn't get it to work. That wasted hour+ is likely to be the entire lifetime use of G+ for most of them.

I actually signed up voluntarily before that but remain baffled by the cryptic browser UI in it (and Gmail after decades using real email software). Google really need to hire some user facing programmers and designers. I may be unusual in that ;)

As far as I can tell there is ZERO content posted by friends and family in my G+, the couple of news and announcement feeds actually work better over Twitter. Till todays post I'd forgotten I even had G+ - probably the only benefit to signing up is all the nagging messages infesting Google pages go away!

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Re: not helped by Googles piss poor software and UI

No, you are not unusual there. The UI is shitty, and you can generally count on Google for that. One major complaint: to see multiple posts in the feed, you have to scroll, a lot. Compare that to the evolution of the facebook feed and how much work they put into it. A company can throw as much money as they want at a product, but without the evolution of the interface where actual users give feedback on things that could be better, it will never be "right" off the line.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: not helped by Googles piss poor software and UI

I'm seeing an increase in invitations to "Hangout" at the moment. Mainly from tech marketing types at the moment but it'll be interesting to see what happens.

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Re: not helped by Googles piss poor software and UI

What if the UI looked more like this?

http://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2012/05/07/transform-google-into-the-ultimate-pinterest-clone-with-this-userscript/

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Gold badge

Google started reminding me about my Google+ profile. They started spamming me with 'top 3 posts of the week' emails, and bunged them on my home screen, seemingly with no way to get rid.

It worked. It reminded me to commit G+ suicide.

It's a shame in some ways. It was a nicer interface, easier to use and allowed easier privacy control. I log into Facebook about once a month, and it's a horrible UI mess. Every month I log in to FB again, and they've changed the UI AGAIN. I'd post a bit on there, if I could wade through the shit.

In the end my family are on FB. That's where the cute pictures of the kids are. None of them moved to G+, so I had no reason to bother with it.

It's got some loyal fans though. But that may be worse. They defend it passionately in any discussion. But they'll probably not win many users over, and will be incredibly pissed off (and just as vocally so) when Google close it down in a year or two. Like Buzz, Wave, Orkut etc.

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Pint

Kevin Rose

I'd say he is important to what Google brings to Social.

The question is will it be Digg 1.0 or Digg 4.0? I know Kevin was more hands-off towards the end of his time with Digg and mi.lk was well-received but who knows what the future holds.

I spend more time on G+ but would consider short-selling some FB stock....

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Happy

Get Google+ Out of My Face!

To answer the actual question on disentanglement: just go back to the old uncluttered search page, that's it.

I have an Android phone, so I have the requisite Gmail account needed to activate it the phone, but other than that, I only use Google for search, which is where they make their money. I'll keep using Google for search if they quit trying to shove Google+ down my throat. But lately the home page has irritated me enough by hiding the preferences and trying to force me to log in, that I've started at least trying to use Bing.

I don't trust Google to protect my privacy. I don't mean protect it from the public, I mean protect it from them, from any number of governments, and from anyone willing to pay money for my information. They already know what I search for. I don't want them also knowing the contents of my emails and who my friends are. So I use a paid subscription to Hotmail, with which I'm very satisfied. I have a occasionally used Facebook account with a friends list consisting only of my actual friends, and not including anyone from work. I have a Linked-In account for professional contacts, and to Linked-In's disappointment, I refuse to give them my entire life's history. I keep my work and private lives separate.

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Re: Get Google+ Out of My Face!

You don't need a google account to activate the phone.

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Anonymous Coward

Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn & Facebook

They are all different, people, and for different things. And if you haven't realised that, then you haven't used them properly.

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Google+

Rebrand it to Android+, Social Networking on your Phone.

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