back to article Google, didn't you get the memo? Stop trying to make Google+ happen

Google+ has been a lot of things in its four years on our computers – a sort-of social network, an identity manager for other Google platforms, and something of an industry joke. Now Google is trying again with the portal that wouldn't die. "We’ve spent a lot of time listening to what people using Google+ had to say. There …

  1. Steven Roper

    They did their dash with me

    when they promoted and then deep-sixed Wave, Buzz and iGoogle. They've demonstrated a clear track record of offering services one tends to come to rely on and then pulling the plug. Never again will I allow myself to depend on or rely on a Google service other than basic search (and even then only on the rare occasions DuckDuckGo doesn't give me what I'm after.)

    1. R 11

      Re: They did their dash with me

      Because things like YouTube, Gmail, Google Docs and Google Voice have been so transient? There are plenty of Google Services that have suck around.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        " There are plenty of Google Services that have suck ..."

        Freudian?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They did their dash with me

        Because things like YouTube, Gmail, Google Docs and Google Voice have been so transient?

        As far as I'm aware, those were based on ideas of OTHER companies, they just bought them. So far, their own ideas amount to a search engine, creative wording of conditions so they can scrape every bit of personal data and doing a Microsoft with laws (ignoring them until they get dragged into court for corrective action).

        So no, I'm not a fan other than of their search engine. Even after rigging the results with ads it's still the best one out there. I guess they just buy up the competition like Microsoft did, otherwise the lack of credible alternatives is hard to explain IMHO.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Meh

        Re: They did their dash with me

        They bought YouTube when it was very well established and would be almost impossible at that point for it to fail.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They did their dash with me

          They have recently, though, made YouTube almost completely unusable. To coincide with the launch of their paid service they putting unreasonably long ads on short clips. Just in the past couple of weeks I have been served 3 and 4 minute unstoppable ads before 30 second clips. At this point I just click away from probably 75% of the youtube links I follow because of these stupidly long ads. I'm fine with 15 seconds or so because they have to pay the bills somehow.

      4. Halfmad

        Re: They did their dash with me

        Don't you come in here and expect a debate when we're busy bashing any large corporation! What do you think this is a DISCUSSION FORUM?

      5. ChrisBedford

        Re: They did their dash with me

        Because things like YouTube, Gmail, Google Docs and Google Voice have been so transient? There are plenty of Google Services that have suck around.

        YouTube is only a Google service because The Evil Empire bought it out as a going concern - it was highly successful long before Google got involved. Also note they have carefully not altered the branding in any way...

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: They did their dash with me

      Indeed, that plus the invasion of privacy makes Google a no-show on my desktop.

      I am not a fan of having my privacy rectally examined by an nebulous, all-encompassing ad-slinging organization.

      And I really, really do not appreciate the malware-level approach Google has in installing itself in every single nook and cranny of a PC as soon as it gets a foothold, making it very bothersome to actually permanently remove all Google-related services and products.

      1. petur

        Re: They did their dash with me

        So in stead of going with a service that matches ads with users based on user data, and does not share your data with those ad companies, you prefer a service that sells your data to the highest bidder?

        Secondly, I find G+ communities way friendlier than Facebook, which in my experience is very hostile and about any comment I make on it gets an aggressive reply at some point.

        This last point may be due to the fact that most people I encounter on G+ are developers or creators, working and sharing stuff, not a bunch of teens and idiots sharing crap. So maybe less traffic, but higher quality.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: They did their dash with me

          Secondly, I find G+ communities way friendlier than Facebook, which in my experience is very hostile and about any comment I make on it gets an aggressive reply at some point.

          Have you even got the first clue what you are talking about? Nobody would ever be aggressive on the web so STFU !!!!!

          :) :)

        2. Just Enough

          Re: They did their dash with me

          "Secondly, I find G+ communities way friendlier than Facebook, which in my experience is very hostile and about any comment I make on it gets an aggressive reply at some point."

          This is simply down to the size of the communities. Smaller communities are more cohesive, and people simply can't get away with abuse/trolling to the same extent they can in the massive user base of Facebook. This isn't a problem of Google's, it's just a cultural problem with people. The best online communities I've ever be in were tiny; 200 max. People got to know, appreciate and help each other, even if we didn't always agree. But I've seen many that start out that way go to the dogs, simply through getting popular and having an influx that included a percentage of idiots.

          You only have to look at the cesspit that is Youtube comments to see what will happen in Google+ if it ever passes a certain number of users.

      2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: They did their dash with me

        *shrug*

        Okay, Google are horrible at collecting data. That's a fair point. But...

        1) They aren't collecting the data at the operating system level in a means that can't be turned off and firing it back to the mothership. (ASOP does collect data at the OS level, but does actually honour privacy commands, and in the latest versions doesn't come all creepified out of the box.)

        2) They have clear, simple controls for your privacy all in one place (though admittedly online) and the ability to nuke out everything they ever stored on you.

        Caveat A) That is associated with your Google account.

        Caveat B) You do have to trust they are actually deleting it...though they haven't really done anything yet to make me think they don't. Eventually. I am curious as to the time before the core data (and not just the association with the identifier) is deleted.

        Caveat C) Google's creepy snooping is pretty well understood so there ate lots of browser plug-ins to stop them.

        3) Google probably aren't "selling your data" to advertisers. That's actually silly, from an economic point of view. They are probably selling advertisers access to individuals who meet certain criteria. This gives Google the control. The advertisers have to constantly go to Google in order to get their data in front of your eyeballs.

        It doesn't make sense to think that advertisers get a great big spreadsheet that says "Trevor Pott, Age: Feck Off, Likes: Fishkeeping, Gardening, Global domination", etc. Simply handing that data over to the advertisers means they don't need Google any more.

        Depending on the details of this, and on Google's restrictions and controls about making what amounts to my complete psychological profile available to governments, my competitors, enemies, exes, leprechauns and so forth, I am mostly fine with that. (I realize not everyone is.)

        Advertisers want to put an ad in front of me and Google is going to (mostly anonymously, at least as far as anyone other than Google is concerned) try to make sure the best ad gets in front of me? Okay. Since I choose when and where I view ads (thanks, Adblocker, Ghostery, etc), I am okay with that. Mostly. There are niggles related to Android.

        Where I get squiggly is things like "invading my e-mail because you think a source of mine might have snuck me insider information" (see: Microsoft) or handing my info over to the spooks. Those are things I don't like. Here, I am more comfortable with Google's handling of these issues than I am Microsoft's. Apple is somewhere in the middle. Apple seem to have good intentions, but shitty execution.

        So...I don't know, is Google really the Big Bad All Seeing Evil? It really depends on two things:

        1) Exactly who can see how much of the psychological profile of you that they construct. If it's basically just bots and scripts, we're cool until the singularity.

        2) When they say they delete it, do they actually delete it?

        I wish Google would provide answers. Or Microsoft. Or Apple. Or anyone. And answers we can trust. Maybe from a non-US subsidiary. Because national security letters could let HQ lie.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They did their dash with me

          2) They have clear, simple controls for your privacy all in one place (though admittedly online) and the ability to nuke out everything they ever stored on you.

          Straight from the Google ToS:

          When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services

          Originally they actually had the word "perpetual" in there (see 11.1), but I guess the marketeers told management that they shouldn't make it quite so obvious, yet the gist of it remains.

          The main issue I have with Google is that NONE of their actions have inspired any trust. As I have said before, it is as if I see the whole Microsoft playbook executed once again - lies, deceit and breaking laws for profit. The only bit I haven't seen yet is theft of IP à la 1990's Stacker/DoubleSpace, but as Google controls most search results I am not even sure you'd find it back a couple of days after the lawsuit.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: They did their dash with me

            @AC RE: Google TOS

            Good catch.

            Re: "The main issue I have with Google is that NONE of their actions have inspired any trust."

            But they haven't really done anything to break it either. They've been pretty up front about things. They've made some mistakes, but there has been no protracted campaign of lying or denial that I know about. (Except possibly the WiFi snooping thing.) They've been pretty up front that they slurp data and use it to advertise at you.

            Microsoft pretty much seem to lie about everything by default, then backpeddle slowly until they reach a point where the screaming has died down to a dull roar. That's what politicians do when trying to pass bills people don't like. I don't want that from my software company.

            I mean, okay, I don't really want Google-style building a psychological profile of me either, but the choices seem to be "a company that will spy on you and charge you a lot to do so", "a company that will spy on you and charge you nothing to do so" and "a company that will spy on you while denying they do so and then blame everything on you when it's proven that they are lying."

            So I guess I'll go with the one that doesn't charge me to spy on me? Least shit option of a bunch of really not very appealing options.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: They did their dash with me

              But they haven't really done anything to break it either. They've been pretty up front about things.

              I suspect that's a matter of opinion and I'm not above suspecting a bit of confirmation bias in me too, but when I read through all the arguments Google makes for allowing a pimply Silicon Valley nerd look over your shoulder at everything you type in Gmail, I see quite a lot of duplicitous language, such as the oft-used myth that "computers do it, so it's all OK" - oh really? And who programs those computers? There is a lot of language twisting going on in Google's way of describing things, and that is never an accident (and it's a red flag for people like me).

              The other thing they are not upfront about is your ability to opt out of Google Analytics. You know what their advise is? You should INSTALL something to opt out - why not simply follow the Do Not Track flag that most browsers now have, or would that make it too easy for people to drag Google again into court if it did regardless? Also let's not forget it was Google who was fined $22.5M by the FTC in 2012 for explicitly developing and deploying a method by which it could track Safari users despite the tracking prevention being enabled (read: despite an explicit expression of the wish not to be tracked). I would not call that being upfront.

              1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                Re: They did their dash with me

                I see quite a lot of duplicitous language, such as the oft-used myth that "computers do it, so it's all OK" - oh really? And who programs those computers?

                Who cares? I've programmed lots of things that crunch data I don't actually see. In fact, I've programmed things that crunch sensitive data, extract just enough information to establish trends then jettison the original sensitive data.

                Why should I assume there is a nerd manually examining my data? I don't even assume Microsoft does that. (Though I do assume they give all my data to the NSA, since they're so chummy.) What I do assume is that Microsoft has algorithms that hunt through everything looking for information that is of commercial competitive value. Microsoft conducts industrial espionage, of this I am 100% certain. I have been given no reason whatsoever to believe that Google does.

                Also let's not forget it was Google who was fined $22.5M by the FTC in 2012 for explicitly developing and deploying a method by which it could track Safari users despite the tracking prevention being enabled

                It was Google who got CAUGHT doing this. I am 100% positive that Microsoft have done the same thing, and more. They are every bit as keen on tracking everyone all the time as Google, Facebook or Apple.

                "The other thing they are not upfront about is your ability to opt out of Google Analytics. You know what their advise is? You should INSTALL something to opt out - why not simply follow the Do Not Track flag that most browsers now have, or would that make it too easy for people to drag Google again into court if it did regardless?"

                This is one of the few valid complaints that I agree with. From Google's point of view DNT is about *advertisers* tracking you, so they see Analytics as a separate thing. (And frankly, I'm more than happy to ally website operators to see some basic data about me, but don't want advertisers to track me. That's just me, however.) I don't think that it should require a cookie to be placed on your system. That said, we don't currently have another mechanism to differentiate between the two types of information. That isn't an excuse - Google could be leading the charge to create one - but I can at least sort of understand their point of view, even as I disagree with it. I emphatically don't think it's malicious.

                That's the thing, I guess. Google's entire income is based on building a profile of you and selling advertisers the ability to put an ad in front of the right audience. They spend a lot of time trying to walk a tightrope between what is okay to do to build that profile and what is not. Google is also huge. I can believe that some groups go overboard while others would not approve of the same actions.

                Microsoft, on the other hand, seems to make decidedly hostile choices which are all the more galling because tracking you is such a small fraction of their income. Microsoft violates your privacy and compromises your data sovereignty because they CAN. Not because they have to.

                With Google, we know what we're getting. They're selling us nothing so we're the product. With Microsoft, we're paying spectacular amounts and they're STILL screwing us over, privacy-wise. It's not okay.

                Google are not the good guys. I acknowledge this.

                But Microsoft are worse. They lie repeatedly about how very much they are the good guys, then behave just as badly - frequently worse - than those they deride. Give me someone overtly evil over a well trained conman any day. At least I know where I stand with the openly evil fellow.

                1. Dr Stephen Jones

                  Re: They did their dash with me

                  "I am 100% positive that Microsoft have done the same thing, and more."

                  A Shorter Pott:

                  "I don't know what I'm talking about so will speculate...'

                  Seems to work for almost every Trevor Pott comment.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: They did their dash with me

                    Stephen, if your problem with Trevor's posts is that, along with his acknowledgement that he doesn't have authoritative information and that he must support his educated guesses with the rationale he presents, it seems odd that you should expect anyone to accept your own bold assertions, which are made with such assurance that they would seem to require not just supporting arguments but actual evidence, both notable by their absence.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: They did their dash with me

                  "They spend a lot of time trying to walk a tightrope between what is okay to do to build that profile and what is not."

                  I'll disagree: They don't give a f**k, but collect _everything_ into profile.

                  With Google Fiber that's literally everything, every IP you've ever visited and every URL you've ever seen and everything unecrypted, for ever. A gold mine for Google and NSA.

                  Of course you aren't allowed to see the profile they've made out of you, ever.

              2. This post has been deleted by its author

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: They did their dash with me

                "There is a lot of language twisting going on in Google's way of describing things, and that is never an accident (and it's a red flag for people like me)."

                Yes. When a company starts to use legalese in public communication it has only one function: To hide the lying behind it.

                But they are lying and they know they are lying and they are trying to hide it as well as possible.

                And that is the problem with Google, too.

            2. Fungus Bob Silver badge
              Black Helicopters

              Re: They did their dash with me

              "So I guess I'll go with the one that doesn't charge me to spy on me? Least shit option of a bunch of really not very appealing options."

              There is always Option 4, Trevor - build a fire in the back yard, cook a chunk of dead cow over it and invite some friends. And have beer. There must be beer.

              Shit! Just remembered Google has spy satellites too, I guess there is no Option 4...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: They did their dash with me

                There is always Option 4, Trevor - build a fire in the back yard, cook a chunk of dead cow over it and invite some friends. And have beer. There must be beer.

                Shit! Just remembered Google has spy satellites too, I guess there is no Option 4...

                Use a cow that smokes a lot. That pretty much describes all my BBQ efforts, so now I'm going to claim that I'm merely protecting people from spy satellites :).

            3. Trigonoceps occipitalis

              Re: They did their dash with me

              "Except possibly the WiFi snooping thing."

              Didn't those two engineers move to VW?

        2. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: They did their dash with me

          "You do have to trust they are actually deleting it...though they haven't really done anything yet to make me think they don't."

          Easy test. Go watch about two dozen videos on YouTube that are out of your normal viewing habits, like "epic plane crashes" or somesuch. Then delete your viewing history. Then note that YouTube is making suggestions for you based upon what you just watched. How's it doing that if you supposedly deleted your viewing history?

          If you have a recentish Android phone, the YoutubeDownloader app is useful for being able to use the preview to watch stuff outside of the Google ecosystem (and hence won't be associated with you).

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: They did their dash with me

            "Easy test. Go watch about two dozen videos on YouTube that are out of your normal viewing habits, like "epic plane crashes" or somesuch. Then delete your viewing history. Then note that YouTube is making suggestions for you based upon what you just watched. How's it doing that if you supposedly deleted your viewing history?"

            It's associated with your IP address. Google builds two simultaneous profiles: one attached to your user and one to your IP. This can be tested simply: log out of your user and see if the suggestions are the same. For me, they aren't. I start seeing stuff better tailored to my wife, or to the business account that I use for research.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: They did their dash with me

              I start seeing stuff better tailored to my wife, or to the business account that I use for research.

              There are also negative consequences to that. There is now an assumption that ad streams are modified by preferences, so if you use a browser that is properly locked down you will see that you will only ever see one ad. If I look at the BBC website when I'm abroad, I get served with the same ab.so.lu.te.ly dreadful ad for Microsoft services. Honestly, of all the ads I have seen over, say, 2 decades or so this one has the worst voiceover EVER. If I came across someone with that nasal, draaaaawn ooout voooice teeeelling me about Miiiiiicrosoooft every f*cking time I go near a video on the BBC website I am not entirely sure I would be able to avoid engaging in some percussive adjustment of his features. If I hadn't stopped using anything provided by MS already, this would have been the last straw.

              However, for that there is at least a fix. I use my London VPN :)

        3. Dr Stephen Jones

          Re: They did their dash with me

          Pott:

          "Google probably aren't "selling your data" to advertisers. That's actually silly, from an economic point of view. They are probably selling advertisers access to individuals who meet certain criteria. "

          A Shorter Pott:

          "I don't know what I'm talking about so will speculate...'

          Google does exactly that. It has that Trevor Pott spreadsheet. It sells your Gmail history to advertisers. Yes, those health problems, STDs, clandestine affairs, complaints about your workplace or friends - it's part of your profile. This determines the price you will pay for things in the future.

          We are talking about degrees of shite here - but Apple or Microsoft have other income streams, Google only really has advertising. Of course it is going to do more evil than Apple or Microsoft with your personal data.

          Pott: "Here, I am more comfortable with Google's handling of these issues than I am Microsoft's."

          Because Stockholm Syndrome has affected you. If you were better informed, you wouldn't be anything like as comfortable. But then you don't want to get informed and spoil it. You're happy as you are.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: They did their dash with me

            @Stephen Jones, Dr of fuck all:

            You're full of shit. Google isn't selling advertisers my information. Merely access to put their ads in from of me. They don't sell my profile. They sell the ability to put an ad in front of profiles that match given criteria.

            Perhaps you need to be better educated to understand the difference? It's a pretty goddamned big one.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: They did their dash with me

              You're full of shit. Google isn't selling advertisers my information

              I think that is correct. That data probably goes to another audience. After all, these are the people who told you that you have no privacy and you should get over it.

              The thing is, I don't think Microsoft is so aggressively mining data. If they do I suspect it's for a very specific target audience but you should see their Win 10 idiocy in the context of their desperation to try ANYTHING that seems to generate profit with other companies, and then failing (again) badly to monetize it themselves.

              Even if I would run Win 10 I'd be less worried about *focused* data leaks: as far as I can tell, Microsoft couldn't piss itself out of a paper bag when it comes to writing subtle code so the idea of Microsoft data tapping being a stable, always on function that they could reliably sell to someone is a serious stretch of the imagination.

              I just can't see them manage that level of quality. Not Microsoft.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: They did their dash with me

                "If they do I suspect it's for a very specific target audience"

                Yes. And the target audience is NSA. MS has very large and comprehensive 'cooperation' with NSA so everything MS collects, is collected because NSA pays very well for collecting it.

                Basically MS sold themselves and all of their users to NSA with Windows 10.

                That's the 'behind the scenes' -reality for w10.

              2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

                Re: They did their dash with me

                "Microsoft couldn't piss itself out of a paper bag when it comes to writing subtle code so the idea of Microsoft data tapping being a stable, always on function that they could reliably sell to someone is a serious stretch of the imagination."

                Whaaaat?

                That's a ridiculous statement. They control Windows with enforced updates.

                I rest my case.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They did their dash with me

          "Caveat B) You do have to trust they are actually deleting it...though they haven't really done anything yet to make me think they don't. "

          They have, to me: At some point I deleted my gmail-account and documents says that everything related to that is also deleted.

          Fast forward an year and request a password reset for old gmail-account and you get it. All emails and everything are still there and it's obvious that _nothing is ever deleted_, just marked 'inactive' and the mail to said address is not delivered.

          All the data is kept, forever (or at least more than an year, that's as good as forever to me). Including personal details about you.

          So when Google says personal data is deleted, it's a lie: It's just hidden from you.

    3. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: They did their dash with me

      Google is in huge trouble, because of world + dog interest in ad blockers.

      Have you noticed how many sites have "We see you're using an ad blocker. You're a cheapskate, so how about you pay us some money?" popups now?

      And how many SEO and marketing types are whining about how completely unreasonable this plague of ad blocking software is, woe and horror?

      What's Google going to do as its revenue stream shrinks? It's going to try to invent new things like self-driving cars, and it's going to flail around trying to find new ways of getting and keeping users - just like any other SV start-up, but with added layers of bureaucracy.

      Google has a huge pile of cash, so it's not going away any time soon. But the reason for all the shuffling around and spinning off and alphabetising is because Goog HQ knows the writing is on the wall for ads, and Team Management are desperate to find something new to bring in the cash before the wheels come off.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They did their dash with me

        "It's going to try to invent new things like self-driving cars, and it's going to flail around trying to find new ways of getting and keeping users -... "

        Don't forget Google Fiber: Unlimited and totally free access to _everything user does_, at microscopic level: Total control of everything.

        That alone generates so much sellable items that it pays the fiber and eventually whole company.

    4. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: They did their dash with me

      While it's easy to get riled about it, it's just as easy to forget that they have no obligation to supply those services - it's not like you entered into a pay-cash-up-front-for-service type of contract...these services are a means of getting data from you, and when Google decide that service isn't doing it for them they're not under any obligation to keep it going just because you like it.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: They did their dash with me

        While it's easy to get riled about it, it's just as easy to forget that they have no obligation to supply those services - it's not like you entered into a pay-cash-up-front-for-service type of contract...these services are a means of getting data from you, and when Google decide that service isn't doing it for them they're not under any obligation to keep it going just because you like it.

        Absolutely correct. Being upset about it just indicates that you labour under the mistaken impression that Google offers you a service: it is not. You can easily identify a service on offer: you pay for it. Ditto for Facebook.

        If you do not pay for a service, the correct word to use is not "service", but bait.

      2. wayward4now

        Re: They did their dash with me

        "While it's easy to get riled about it, it's just as easy to forget that they have no obligation to supply those services - it's not like you entered into a pay-cash-up-front-for-service type of contract..."

        I guess many of these responders never paid out hundreds PER MONTH for AOL services and connecting over a phone modem.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Might get transaction in enterprise

    Having seen what some companies use to add communication to the enterprise I can see Communities getting some traction there because the technology is rock solid: Slack, HipChat, etc. are getting a lot of attention at the moment as being popular because they're easy to use.

    The social network shit still seems to me like chasing a rainbow hoping to get a pot of gold. But Facebook seems to be making money, so what do I know? Will it manage to become the first ad agency that understands that using SSL is the only way to go?

    1. ADJ
      Thumb Up

      Re: Might get transaction in enterprise

      The company I work for is one of the biggest corporate Google users in Europe. G+ is a big part of that its used all across the business and has got a lot of positive feedback.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Might get transaction in enterprise

        The company I work for is one of the biggest corporate Google users in Europe. G+ is a big part of that its used all across the business and has got a lot of positive feedback.

        Ah, I suspect that your legal team is then currently running around like headless chickens, trying to find a way to combine that with the need to stay compliant with EU data protection laws. God help you when one of your customers twigs he can get a lot of money out of you before they come up with a plausible answer. Not that you'd be the only company with that problem, but the bigger you are, the quicker someone will work out that settlement will be cheaper for you than the resulting bad press.

        The impact of the ECJ declaring that the "adequate" part of Safe Harbor no longer applies has not yet gotten through to most companies' council. I suspect that will change when the first lawsuits appear.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Might get transaction in enterprise

        "The company I work for is one of the biggest corporate Google users in Europe. G+ is a big part of that its used all across the business and has got a lot of positive feedback"

        Did you just register to make that one comment?

  3. Chris Daemon

    If you like, +1!

    Ever since it appeared, I have no clue what Google+ actually is. I do get the concept in general, but there is no real definition - with this article failing to elucidate. It is whatever you want it to be! Facebook, Yelp, iCloud, LinkedIn, Skype, etc. Most of those things are established, like it or not.

    Getting users from existing platforms requires a dedicated gimmick (enter Google+). Free apps for desktop and mobile with dependencies, er "recommendations" along the way. Mix with marketing hype from Eddie "Director of Streams" Kessler.

    I think Google+ is this: Your commitment to Google Über Alles. The exclusivity of all their products, and disavow your sinning ways of straying away from the Alphabet!

    That is not the future, it is a fad. MySpace tried a revival, Apple tried Ping, and Google joins that conga-line of hyped up community creation. I can see companies hooking into their offerings, but that's it. I do not see their services as serious competition to Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, etc with the unwashed masses.

    I went to http://www.google.com/intl/en/+/learnmore/ to read about details (also amiss in this love-letter of an article).

    "And watch Google get better" is one of their three selling points. Let that sink in to appreciate the horror. "Mobile" is a feature, now. I could go on with how Orwellian Google is, how mashing everything together to tracking your every move is now a provable goal, wrapped around a big chunk of bovine feces.

    But that would be doing the work of the article's author, hence...

    Dear Ms Thomson, your article is horribly written. Your headline should reflect the overall tone of the article, not backpedaling at the end.

    In that sense, it is baffling how Google+ would fail as you write that Communities "is proving very popular", followed by an almost gushing Google rim job.

    I also recommend a crash course in writing, to get you started. Even if this is not the NYT, conform to a style guide. Capitalization (i.e. Director of Streams) has its place. Cut back on contractions - you are writing an article for readers, not a podcast script, not a blog post or op-ed.

    With that, stop asking questions that you aren't answering. I have that question already as a reader, and it is your task to present an answer in the flow of an article, with argument for both sides, pretty please with cherry on top! You, Sir, are wasting my time reading mostly dumb padding. Your proposed answer is essentially "we will see", with nothing to go on!

  4. Whitter
    Stop

    Google pulls <insert product name here>

    Google has considerable form in pulling the rug from apps that they can no longer be bothered to host/support: and why not they say - you never paid for them in the first place.

    A functioning social network needs users to put a lot of time / effort into making it worthwhile (according to your personal definition thereof).

    Is anyone going to put that effort in, free service though it be, in the full expectation it will be unglamorously binned when Google can no longer be bothered with it?

    1. Stuart 22

      Re: Google pulls <insert product name here>

      Yes, I still feel the loss of Google Reader. No platform independent replacement has the simplicity of just delivering RSS feeds in a readable manner. The replacements want to 'add value' which completely contradicts the concept of stripping everything but the text and title of the content and present it in as plain manner as possible.

      The irony is Google Reader must have cost less than peanuts to provide. No significant storage or processing require, no developers and a lone part time maintainer is all that is required? But, like those above, the sudden axing taught me I can't trust Google not to whip the carpet from under my feet on a whim. So I only now use Google products tactically and avoid anything mission critical. It means I end up hosting cloud stuff on my own servers and spending time getting and maintaining the apps.

      All lost revenue to Google. OK, that's peanuts but scaled up to all the folks who think like me, or are advised by us - that's a chunk of the strategic future Google has kissed goodbye for what? I'm all for cutting heavy loss making stuff but this shows even Google can make silly business decisions.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google pulls <insert product name here>

        "The irony is Google Reader must have cost less than peanuts to provide."

        Definitely. But I think the problem was that a) you couldn't sell enough ads into it and b) not enough personal data collected by the service.

        Therefore killed: Not enough profit in it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google pulls <insert product name here>

        Google Reader was a nice, simple place to get the quick skinny on 90% of what is going on that I care about.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google pulls <insert product name here>

      "Google has considerable form in pulling the rug from apps that they can no longer be bothered to host/support: and why not they say - you never paid for them in the first place."

      Even that is a lie: You've paid in form of a) your personal data and b) your efforts to learn new service (which might bring money to Google or not, you don't know).

      Because Google will never delete data. Even when the service is killed, all the data in it is kept.

      Of course Google is not telling you that, but weasels around the question.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    google... listening to their users

    I'm an old fart, a cynical git. So when I see this:

    "As for Collections, this is going to be tied in much more closely to Google's latest Photo app."

    I read this:

    "We're gonna beat facebook in the Next Big Thing, i.e. photo identification"*

    * with this collection of the photos the idiots supply to use, free of charge, cross-referenced with their details they also supply to us, free of charge. Uh... yeah, right, how did it go... right: to even better fulfill the needs of our valuable users, blah blah blah in achieving their life goals and visions, Respectfully always yours...etc, etc."

  6. Paul Shirley

    G+ still tied to too much

    When Google finally listened and let me delete my unloved G+ account they forgot to point out i was also removing the ability to comment in the app store. Something that should be bound to my store account and only it.

    If Google are listening they are learning from Microsoft how to mishear what's being said and misrepresent the response. Seems whatever it mutated into G+ is still being forced on users who want other unrelated services.

    1. Grikath

      Re: G+ still tied to too much

      yes.. it allows them to tie stuff about you across a *lot* of apps , outside your search preferences. It's their core business..

  7. Caff

    follow the money

    Considering how quick google are to kill other products that don't make money even if users enjoy and use them I gather that g+ must actually generate some income?

  8. paulf Silver badge
    Coat

    Job Advert

    Situations Vacant: Google Plus Software Engineer

    Must be willing to work alone

    https://twitter.com/HopelessSurfer/status/666560460561457152

  9. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Stop screwing with it

    I used to be a big G+ guy, but every other week it got worse and less useful.

    They changed to a layout incompatible with my portrait monitor, where posts manage to bleed over the edge of the window.

    They screwed the fonts, so I had to adblock the font CSS. They screwed the fonts even worse, so I had to force it in Firefox which screwed fonts for everybody else.

    They broke posting for a while.

    They started filling the screen with large graphics. They started doing shit like "Where do you live? 3 people you know live in Chandler, Az. Do you live there too?"

    However the content IS pretty good, as they managed to avoid an Eternal September, and Google keeps the ads clamped down.

  10. Andrew Jones 2

    Not a big surprise.

    Google+ pretty much as soon as it launched - very quickly became a place to connect with other people who had similar interests - that's what the Circles feature promoted - you add people into different circles so you can share for example stuff about Android with your Android circle and stuff about Space with your space circle. The communities grew up and organised themselves using the tools they had available. But the nice thing about Google+ has always been that Google engineers and staff are actively using the service and are "one of the people" and because of this Google+ has continually evolved in line with what the users have been requesting. Communities came about because people wanted to gather and discuss Android, Space, Photography, Recipes and Science. Collections came about because the Circle idea while a fantastic concept - largely meant that when someone circled you - and you went to their profile to see what sort of stuff they are into - their profile was empty - because everything they had ever shared - unless it was public - you didn't have permission to see. So people reverted to sharing stuff publicly again - which meant the circles idea became redundant. Collections fixes this problem and makes it easier to see what other interests you share with people. It is therefore no surprise to see the service has evolved again to put the 2 biggest use cases of the service front and centre.

  11. tiggity Silver badge

    Not facebook

    Best bit of G+ is that it is not Facebook, Twitter, Instagram - by comparison very unobtrusive and low on trolling (in communities I visit anyway)

    1. lsces

      Re: Not facebook

      Anything is better than Facebook :)

      NONE of the current social media options are without problems and all keep changing key elements, so Google+ is no different to anything else.

      If we had a REAL cloud system, we would not be reliant on third party systems managing our material? We should be able to publish and maintain our own content rather than giving it away as a gift to advertisers?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Trollface

      Re: Not facebook

      I recall G+ being a fun place to talk shit about Google, back in the day when their minions actually used it. They solved that "problem" by making it slower and buggier than the shittiest php forum software known to mankind. I don't get it. Google could've left the UI alone, dropped the real names policy, added a -1 button, and watched the ad $$$ roll in. It's *almost* as if they put ideology ahead of profit.

  12. msknight Silver badge

    Can't kill it

    It seems to be the core of their enterprise offering. As such, they can't kill it.

  13. Archie Woodnuts

    *laments the passing of Google Reader*

    1. Archie Woodnuts

      Two down votes for missing google reader? Really?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Collections

    When they first came out many of the store you photos sites were zippy and clean. Now they are getting totally bloated with the worst kind of flash and other popups.

    If Collections avoids this kind of popup infestation I just may switch to it for my photos.

  15. Arthur the cat Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "We’ve spent a lot of time listening to what people using Google+ had to say"

    And there's their first mistake. They should have listened to people who don't use it about why they don't use it. Preaching to the choir doesn't get converts.

    1. Pookietoo

      Re: people who don't use it

      I don't use it - they keep trying to force me to sign up, by stopping me from making YouTube comments, and I refuse to even consider using it based on that sort of tactic.

  16. RegW

    > average 1.2 million new joins per day

    Yes, well, I've joined a few times by accident. Got lost looking for an option that had been moved again.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ElReg, didn't you get the memo? Wake up and stop being clickbaiting idiots.

    Stop trying to pretend Google+ is Facebook.

    it's not. Facebook is for plebs to tell their family what they had for dinner.

    Google+ is full of interesting people, communities based around interests.

    There are plenty of idiots, all embarrassing themselves in public by believing this tripe. These idiots that still believe you can create a Google+ account, cancel the diaglog that tries to guide you into adding yourself to communities and interests, and creating circles of people you know, instead preferring to just sit there waiting for something to happen.

    Guess what, I can do the same on Facebook and get the same result, therefore I conclude (by your logic), Facebook is also dead.

    Some people...

  18. Lyndon Hills 1

    think Usenet for the web age

    So a place for warez then?

    Exaggeration, I know, but hasn't pretty much everything that usenet provided already been replaced by something for 'the web age'? Even alt.hackers ~= tor/dark web, perhaps?

  19. dervheid

    There's your problem, right there

    "We’ve spent a lot of time listening to what people using Google+ had to say."

    Maybe try asking people who're NOT using it why not, and what would change their mind

  20. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    What?

    "Eddie Kessler, Google's director of streams"

    Must have to do something with this, right?

  21. David Roberts Silver badge
    Coat

    Cheap shot

    "We’ve spent a lot of time listening to what people using Google+ had to say. There were two "

  22. HKmk23

    There is only one elephant in the room

    People simply no longer trust Google......so Google, just do the search engines and stop trying to organise peoples lives....if you need Google to tell you what to do now or tomorrow perhaps a less challenging career might suit ........quilt making/stamp collecting/flower pressing?

  23. Gulraj Rijhwani
    Thumb Down

    Nope

    It really makes little odds how they package it, G+ remains Google's attempt to infiltrate your life and own you and your identity to the point of being the arbiter and essentially gate-keeping your existence on the 'net. That alone is reason enough NEVER to make habitual use of a Google service.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I use FB more, but I prefer G+

    I would not be surprised if G+ did not go away. Myspace, Bebo and Orkut have gone to obscurity and beyond, but I do agree that G+ is necessary for Google's portfolio of apps.

    FB may stay because of its brand and size, but I would not be surprised if FB went the way of Myspace, Bebo and Orkut when it all becomes too cluttered.

    Why are people so against an attempt at re-vamping G+? I ddo not know.

    1. Nehmo

      Re: I use FB more, but I prefer G+

      There needs to be some kind of technology change to force FB down. Otherwise it will continue on momentum alone.

  25. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    And for today's oxymoron we have...

    "Usenet for the web age".

    That's rather like "camping for hotels".1 Or "saddles for buses". It's a category error that utterly misses the fundamental features of Usenet and netnews in general.

    1Yes, I'm aware of "glamping". It rather makes my point.

  26. Nehmo

    So what if it can't dethrone FB

    Google+ has a place. So what if it can't dethrone FB. G+ may be better. FB censors posts at the whim of a unseen mod; I haven't had that happen yet with Google+.

  27. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    I ued to like Picasa.

    Then it went away, more or less, and popped up in a dumbed down version in G+.

    Then I noticed that my G+ profile showed all these random images that used to be obscure in my Picasa albums. WTF?

    I don't particularly like when some entity (Google in this case) takes it upon themselves to advertise me and my data, EVEN if the data happen to theoretically have been accessible to some interested parties.

    BTW, now that Google owns Youtube, why can't we have WORKING age restrictions? Not some sh*t that any 10 year old can work around.

  28. Michael Thibault
    Pint

    Excellent choice of image

    The eyes are freaking me out. And, at the moment, I can't even see them.

  29. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    Trollface

    This is unusual for Google

    I mean, when the social part of something Google actually works, they usually just close it (you know, like Reader).

  30. EPurpl3

    Oh, great, they have destroyed YouTube with their g+ and now they are going to do the same with photos and hangouts

  31. Chris Hunt

    ""We’ve spent a lot of time listening to what people using Google+ had to say."

    Wait... there are people actually *using* Googlle+ ?!?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    orkut++

    gplus++ < orkut

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