Farhad Manjoo has this article running atm : Google+ had a chance to compete with Facebook. Not anymore. – Slate Magazine.
It got me thinking. Look, i love Google+. It is the same rush of intense gratitude for a service I had when first using Facebook, before it becoame so big and monstrous (all things to all people works for some, not me, and that’s ok). Google+ combines that with the integration of its other services. Wonderful. And blessed shock, for once, the interface is good. Not great, but good. Damning with faint praise.
I have written often on how, from a developer pov (and a user who wants so much to embrace their products), their UI is woeful, and they could benefit hugely from feedback from both developers and users there. I have an iPhone4. My husband has the Samsung Galaxy 2. I look at it, and admire it, but I wouldn’t swap for the world, and he is NOT enjoying Android – but I can see how much the iOS would suit him. I have tried living in Android world, I have had Android handsets, and always gone back to iOS. And I WANT to live in a Googleverse. But Apple UI beats them hands down – and I know of others working in Android who regretfully feel the same way. (Often they are people who care about UI and the user experience too).
But being a developer in Android, I know how hard it is to get Google to take feedback. By hard, I mean damn impossible. They are like a black box – feedback goes in, their own ideas come out. And we at the Serval Project want to work with them – they have teams working on similar ideas to us in mesh networking.It has been interesting at the IEEE 802 Plenary how many people say the same thing about Google being hard to connect to, to work with. And that is a pity. Because we get technical genius that misses the need – Wave, Buzz. They brush it off as learning, and integrate useful bits. But that is expensive, and alienates users. The more they do that, the more cynical people are about their products, and the further behind they are.
So in reading Farhad’s article, I so want to disagree with him, I really do. But he is probably right, because Google hasn’t learned that lesson yet.
But if you ever are Google – let’s talk.
- Bits Blog: Google+ Isn’t Going Anywhere (bits.blogs.nytimes.com)
- “There’s nothing to do on Google+, and every time someone figures out a possible use for it, Google…” (stoweboyd.com)
- Why we shouldn’t be so quick to write Google+ off (gigaom.com)
- The War Between Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple (npr.org)