This article originally appeared on 60 Second Social.

I remember getting my Google+ invite, I was hooked up at the time by Kelly Clay who now writes for Forbes. She sent me what was considered a ‘golden ticket’ at the time. The big pull was that it was exclusive, Google+ was a hot new exclusive club in town and lots of people wanted a ticket. 

The problem was when Google+ opened it’s doors to everyone and the attraction was suddenly gone. We pretty much flocked back to Twitter and Facebook as the social network rapidly lost appeal. Don’t get me wrong, there is a loyal core group of users on Google+ who are involved in communities and who love the service. The problem is that alone is not enough and the downfall of Google+ as it currently stands was always going to come.

Google+ has 540 million users, however the NY Times reported in 2014 that only half of those are actually active users. In an attempt to get more active users on board, Google started to shove Google+ down users throats. Google Apps and YouTube all of a sudden required a Google+ account.

So like it or not, many people ended up with one, but it was never going to solve the problems Google was having. In fact it is a safe bet to say that people have a Google+ account now without realising they had one. Finally, Google has recognised that this is never going to work, the current model in place is not a sustainable one and is never going to improve Google+ as a service.

Google+ will remain, however it is being scaled back with the photo tools being placed into a standalone app already and now the requirement to have a Google+ page to sign in and use various Google Apps is also being removed. Google posted a blog entry called; “Everything In Its Right Place.”

In the post, Bradley Horowitz, VP of Streams, Photos and Sharing, explains that while they got certain things right with Google+ there are also things that required a rethink. He said that;

People have told us that accessing all of their Google stuff with one account makes life a whole lot easier. But we’ve also heard that it doesn’t make sense for your Google+ profile to be your identity in all the other Google products you use.

So in the coming months, a Google Account will be all you’ll need to share content, communicate with contacts, create a YouTube channel and more, all across Google. YouTube will be one of the first products to make this change, and you can learn more on their blog.

The new changes to Google+ will be rolled out over the upcoming months so don’t delete your Google+ account just yet, you may still need it for a short while.

It is hard to tell what plans there are for Google+ however one thing is clear, it is no competitor to Facebook or Twitter. The Google+ stream is described as, “a place where people engage around their shared interests, with the content and people who inspire them.” Looking at that and I am reminded more of an internet forum as opposed to a social network service.

If you compare it to other forums out there at the moment you see that Google+ is a more modern and visually pleasing form of something similar. Maybe the competition needs to be internet forums instead? Google has been building up communities via Google+ for a long time now. The photography community on Google+ has 1.8 million members but the problem is that the communities are a mess.

I used to be a moderator on the Night Photography community and I had to stop because it was driving me insane, the structure is a disaster at the moment. Endless streams of content which are posted and generate very little sharing, discussion or interest. On top of that the communities are plagued by spam bots trying to promote websites of a pornographic nature.

So while they could look to maybe tap into the message board and forum market, the current setup would require a lot of work and cleaning up first. Google clearly believes that they have something with Google+ because they are refusing to completely kill it off yet, it still continues to live on even if it may be stripped back from the initial product it once was.

Every successful social network has a “thing.” Facebook started as a way to check out people at your college, Twitter was a way of share your status with friends via SMS. Google tried to have privacy as their ‘thing’ and tried to develop a system where you only shared certain content with certain groups of friends. The problem was that it isolated people, it was a complication that just aided with pushing users away.

Who knows where they may decide to take the service next!


 

About The Author

Mark is the founder of 60 Second Social media where he provides social media news and digital marketing analysis. He has an Advanced Diploma in Psychology and a Diploma in Digital Marketing And Social Media. You can follow him on Twitter here. You can also follow 60 Second Social on Twitter here. Or you can drop Mark an email at, [email protected]

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