This article originally appeared on 60 Second Social.

A former Google+ designer says that the service is a social network “adrift at sea,” representing a big missed opportunity for the company.

Chris Messina, who worked on Google+ user experience design before leaving the company over a year ago wrote a long post on Medium where he criticises the service for not delivering on initial vision of empowering users with the vast amount of data Google collects from them.

Messina, often credited with inventing the hashtag, acknowledges that Google’s social network has many devout users and that it has become a go-to service for a few specific topics (such as photography).

Still reeling from the failure of Google Buzz, the company chose to launch Google+ because it could just drop the ‘+’ and pretend the ‘project never existed,’ according to Messina.

If Google had focused on the initial promise of the project, Messina believes that Google could have won converts to its social network by being their preferred trusted party for the information that they choose to share online. Messina says that at the moment they are a shadow of what they truly could be serving up.

Sure, Google gives you controls to set your ads preferences, but this framing is all wrong. Whereas Pinterest helps you express your aspirational self, Google pigeonholes you into what you already are, based on your previous search activity. This is where improving the data that Google has about you? — ?in turn trusting Google as a steward of that data — changes the nature of the conversation by making it less about “privacy” and more about empowerment. While some people will freak out (as they always do), this would be a bold, productive, future-forward direction to take.

Messina’s post has been circulated all over the internet since it has been posted and has received both praise and criticism online.

Over the past few months Google has clearly been trying to distance themselves from the Google+ brand and the idea of a more personalised Google experience is now seen through Google Now. Messina’s criticism however calls out Google+ for not surfacing meaningful social interactions or content and ‘essentially leaves a ton of value on the table.’

It is unclear what Google has planned for their social network service. There have been very few meaningful updates to Google+ over the past few months and it is clear that Google+ will have a small role to play in the future of the company, if they manage to keep a role at all.

About The Author

Mark is the founder of 60 Second Social media where he provides social media news and digital marketing analysis, he is also a proud father of his bearded dragon, Lola. You can follow him on Twitter here. You can also follow 60 Second Social on Twitter here.

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