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I've been a G+ user since July 2011, approximately the day it went live -- a family member was on the G+ privacy committee, and sent me an invite.

This is my assessment of what's right about G+ and what's wrong with it, after over a year of heavy usage.


I've generally felt positively about G+ from a technical perspective, but much less so conceptually. While the initial concept as deployed seemed like quite a solid foundation, since then it has gone in a direction which implies that G+ management view G+ not as a tool but as entertainment -- more precisely, a platform for aggregation and dispersal of a small selection of entertainment.

The emphasis on "what's hot" and "trending" indicators, for example, serves only to focus everyone's attention on the output a relatively small number of users -- those who are already popular. Our culture already has a surplus of "winner-take-all" mechanisms. Social networking is one of the few tools that serves to connect individuals with each other -- and Google's attempt to override that peer-to-peer topology with one that is centralized and moderated (presumably by carefully-tweaked algorithms) shows that either they do not understand this or perhaps that they are hostile to it.

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  • circles overloaded as input and output filters
  • no way to tag posts as being in a particular category on which people can filter for their streams
  • no equivalent to Facebook groups
  • stupid names policy
  • no indication of bug status -- are they working on it, on the back burner, or won't-fix? No listing of bug fixes and features currently in progress, either.
  • basically, users are treated as passive consumers, even though they are also the product -- no involvement at all in site-wide decisions, very limited involvement in community policing
  • API is read-only, preventing integration with federated social network
  • no way to keep track of which notifications or stream-posts you have read
  • search function is very limited -- should be able to search:
    • only my own posts
    • only my comments on other posts
    • only posts on which I have commented
    • using logic and wildcards
  • user interface should be configurable, skinnable (Friendica is)
  • need to be able to exclude particular people from circles


Originally written in response to this.