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Why Google+ Sucks and What to Do About It (Old & New)

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Gamification Gosu Yu-kai Chou breaks downs his frustrations of Google+ in hopes of getting the attention of the Google Team to make improvements.

  • I'm glad to see I'm not the only one having trouble with Google+. I was yelling at it earlier. The photos/albums/collections are just the absolute worst!
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  • It seems almost if Google designed the service based on their goals (get more data for analytics) and forgot about the user entirely. Paradoxically focusing on the user would have lead to better results on the business side too. A shame really.
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  • Great work Yu-kai. Enlightening commentary.
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  • Thanks for including me in your slide deck. It's incredibly detailed and provides some amazing actionable examples of what is wrong with Google+ right now.

    You are the man!
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Why Google+ Sucks and What to Do About It (Old & New)

  1. 1. Why Google Plus Sucks andWhat to do about it(Old & New)
  2. 2. Google+ is getting users fast
  3. 3. However, usage rate is still low (~6 min/mo)01.753.55.25701/ 2008 01/2013 05/2013Minutes spent on Google+ per user per MONTH(Data according to ComScore & Nielsen)Facebook has over 400 minutes per user per monthThat’s more than 50x higher
  4. 4. Of course, Google claimsthese numbers are very off,reiterating their massive usergrowth
  5. 5. But...
  6. 6. Just look at +1s for any article, andyou’ll see it in the numbers
  7. 7. Biased? How about HuffPost for an unrelated topic?
  8. 8. Still not convinced? How about this one?
  9. 9. In fact, that’s not just my feelSome have similar views on Quoraas well as on Google Search
  10. 10. Of course, these don’t matter,because the fact is that Google+has massive user growth
  11. 11. But in reality, it has massive signupsbecause Google uses all itsresources to push users to sign-up.(Not the merit of the product itself)I call this Brute ForceDistribution
  12. 12. Who else does Brute ForceDistribution?
  13. 13. Down $10B+ and still pushing
  14. 14. Which is a betterdistribution product?1) 1 Million Sign-ups with0.9M of them active?or....1I) 100 Million Sign-ups with2M of them active?
  15. 15. Many people also “use”Google+ for SEO help
  16. 16. This is also NOT the merit ofthe product itself. People arewilling to eat insects if itimproves their search rankings.
  17. 17. Wouldn’t it be better if the productitself was actually awesome?
  18. 18. In fact, a great amount of “social products” from Googlearen’t well-designed (many were cut). Some other projectsare excellent, like Search, GMail (I have converted so manypeople from Hotmail/YMail to Gmail),Analytics, Maps,Earth, Gchat and much much more.So why is Social so hard?
  19. 19. And don’t get me wrong. I have A LOT ofrespect for the Google+ Team.All of them are intimidatingly smart.
  20. 20. But that might be the cause of theproblem...
  21. 21. By tradition, Product Managers mostly are engineeringbackgrounds, and they have all been through a rigorousinterviewing process of brain teasers, logic, andprobability
  22. 22. This is great, as it is very important to make sureGooglers are fiercely intelligent to grind out world-changing stuff, but it could create a disconnect to theaverage user in the outside world.
  23. 23. Hmm, this wouldn’t be toocomplex for the user would it?It’s pretty easy...Hey guys, do you think this wouldbe too complex for the user?Yea, this is just as easy asthat brainteaser I solvedlast week!Hmm, I don’t think so. It’sfairly straightforwardNote: this is an exaggerated parody tocommunicate a point
  24. 24. But for the rest of the world (likemy mom)???????????She has no idea what’s going on
  25. 25. And there are A LOT of peoplelike my mom?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
  26. 26. But my GRANDmother is onFacebook every single day, happilystalking her grandchildrenWhat’s the difference?
  27. 27. A great product makesmainstream users (like my mom)feel smart.
  28. 28. That means less clutter, lesscomplexity, and perhaps lessfeatures
  29. 29. Lets look at why someone mightfeel stupid using Google+
  30. 30. Users usually have to type “plus.google.com”which is a tangible hassle.That in itself barsmany people from going onto it all the timeFacebook spent a lot to get rid ofTheFaceBook.com
  31. 31. You can’t even type in shortcutsIt gives you a list of options
  32. 32. Even the first suggested link is the wrong one.
  33. 33. Now users already feel dumb.
  34. 34. Here are two other ways to access Google+content. It’s alright, but not obvious for mostpeople (+name still isn’t intuitive at this point)A close family member of mine said that thenumber in gmail is “confusing and annoying”
  35. 35. This is the (old) Google+ Page
  36. 36. No “grounding” colors to help visual segmentationThis whole screen places equal value onevery activity
  37. 37. Sharing - the top default action is not obviousIt’s easy for a user to click on the search bar in hopes to share.The share box is a bit too slick and transparent??????
  38. 38. Users might feel dumb again.
  39. 39. Lets start reading some of the content!But as I’m happily looking at the cute dog picture...
  40. 40. Where did the dog go???Oh...new updates pushed the post down...I need to scroll down to find the dogpicture again
  41. 41. Users don’t feel respected norsmart when they are reading andthings get pushed down.
  42. 42. Lets see how others’ do itRespecting the User
  43. 43. Respecting the UserLets see how others’ do it
  44. 44. What about Clutterness?
  45. 45. This reminds me of....Where should I look to find what I want?
  46. 46. Huh? And on top of that there’s 3 moredropdown lists!
  47. 47. If a user spends over 4 secondstrying to find something to clickon, they feel annoyed/dumb.
  48. 48. And content looks like AdsSemi-spammy suggestions look like content
  49. 49. Of course, on May 15th 2013, Google+ updated their front page to solvemany of these issues
  50. 50. The New Google+ solved the “postbumping” issues, multiple navigations, anddomain name issues...kinda
  51. 51. Now you can access Google+ bytyping google.com/+Probably still not something my momwould do, but better thanplus.google.com maybe?
  52. 52. Lets look at the improvementsfor the new Google+ Homepage.
  53. 53. The New Google+ Looks Much Better...oh wait. Mistake.
  54. 54. The New Google+ Looks Much BetterI accidentally showed Pinterest instead...
  55. 55. Now lets go to theProfile PageLearn from others.Problem solved.
  56. 56. Yay! I can change my name by clicking on my name, as wellas the background image!But how do I change my work info??? I can’t click on it.
  57. 57. Hmm, there’s a little “profile” icon here. Perhaps I canchange my other info there.Let me try to click it
  58. 58. Ahh! The left menu appears when I hover on the leftIt can’t be the “Profile” button because I justclicked on that
  59. 59. Hmm, I’ll try to move my mouse quickly and click the icon.I tried to click on the icon, but...
  60. 60. The hover effect was too fast and I accidentally clickedon the home button instead...Hey, how come I keep seeing this Chris Pirillo guy?Doesn’t anyone else use Google+?
  61. 61. Anyway, I’m still figuring out howto change my work background.
  62. 62. Oh okay, I think this just tells me which pageI’m on, but it’s not a button
  63. 63. Maybe it’s this one here:
  64. 64. Yay! This is the right place!OK...I actually feel dumb. Should I really share this?
  65. 65. Wait a second...I can change myNAME anytime I want by justclicking on it, but I have toinvestigate and dig deep just toupdate my profile?
  66. 66. Okay. Much Better :-)Note: most might just give up instead of keepingtheir profiles updated
  67. 67. OK, now lets look at the “People”Navigation Page
  68. 68. Hmm, defaults to asking me to invite more peopleNo. I think I want to check out my friends instead
  69. 69. Hmm okay. I can look at 12 people at once within a circleLets see if I can find my friends whowent to UCLA
  70. 70. Hmm, the action button doesn’t seem to be able to do itLet me try the relevance sorting
  71. 71. Hmm, sorting doesn’t really help me with that either.What else can I do? What about theright search box?
  72. 72. Lets try to find my friends who work atGoogle on the right search box.Nope...in fact, it shows me a lot of accounts thataren’t my friends...
  73. 73. OK. Lets try the search box on the top.Hmm, that’s not it either...hey is that ChrisPirillo again at the bottom again??
  74. 74. Maybe the People and pages tab is where I’ll find it this timeOops, guess not....
  75. 75. I guess it’s just impossible to findfriends based on their profiles. Justtheir names.
  76. 76. Hey, but what if I want to see myfriend’s photos?Perhaps I should try the “photo”navigation?
  77. 77. OK. I can see my own, but not other peoples’I guess I feel a little dumb...Lets go back to the people tab
  78. 78. Argh! No I don’t want to add new people right now!I want to look at my friend’s photos!
  79. 79. OK. Back to this page again.Lets check out Jun Loayza’s photos.
  80. 80. Wait, Single Click is just select?Oh OK. I need to double click tosee a friend’s profile
  81. 81. Ah, this is his homepage.OK. Straight forward enough - Photos.
  82. 82. Yay Finally! I feel smartI get to interact with my friend’s photos.
  83. 83. Wow, that was harder than Ithought...I don’t think I feel likechecking out other peoples’photos anymore after that
  84. 84. Lets check out other stuff inGoogle+
  85. 85. Lets just check out some content.I like this post about 3D Printing. I’ll comment on it.
  86. 86. Oh no, all the other strangers who commented on itare creeping into my GMail!I don’t really want to get emails from strangerscommenting on stuff.
  87. 87. Alright. How do I turn that off?
  88. 88. OK. I have experience with gmail, so I know Ishould start with my head on the right topLets try “Account”
  89. 89. Hmm, where do I go now?Which one would you pick?
  90. 90. OK. I tried “Profile and Privacy”After scrolling down, I didn’t find it. I’m lost. Google+? Products? What’s the difference?
  91. 91. I gave up on the hunt. I decided to Google it.Ah, the answer is “Google+”
  92. 92. Yay, here it is. I finally found it.I almost never wanted to commenton Google+ Posts Again
  93. 93. Ahh, I got more emails during this time!(even though I archived the conversation)I’m glad I turned it off. I don’t need moreeMail stress...But wait...what’s this?
  94. 94. Oh, someone I don’t know is promoting hisevent....How do I turn it off?
  95. 95. Oh, I could scroll down and mute the postSimple enough. I feel slightly smart.
  96. 96. OK. Lets check out theremaining features onGoogle+
  97. 97. Lets check out the “What’s Hot” NavigationAlright. Lets try “Preakness Stakes”in Trending
  98. 98. Wait, why are you showing me posts from 2012?I thought this stuff was trending...
  99. 99. Checking out the Google Hangout Tab!Wait...why would I crash hangouts ofstrangers?? Awkward...
  100. 100. What about the “Local” Navigation?There’s only one recommendation, and it’s achurch? Just because I’m Christian?
  101. 101. Alright. Up to this point I haven’tgotten much value out of Google+,just felt confused/dumb.
  102. 102. Google says this is a social layeron its other products.I guess I will focus on socializingwith friends.Lets “be social” with Jun Loayza
  103. 103. I remember now I should click on the“People” Tab! :D
  104. 104. $%^&! No I don’t want to add new people right now!I want to interact with my friends!!
  105. 105. Clicking on “Your Circles” on the right
  106. 106. Double Clicking on Jun Loayza
  107. 107. Take a quick guess - how do I send him amessage? 4 Seconds?Hmm, I can’t post a new message on his wallit seems.
  108. 108. There’s no where to click, and his name appearsto be a dead link...Right here! But how do I find out moreabout him?
  109. 109. So much for helping me socialize andgetting to know my friends more.
  110. 110. At this point, I gave up on being very“social” on Google+
  111. 111. Just too much work to interactwith friends and their photos.
  112. 112. I’m already a relatively savvy person intech! I cannot imagine someone likemy mom using a product like this. Idread guiding her through theexperience tooAnd.....
  113. 113. This person is actually me?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
  114. 114. Google says that Google+ is asocial layer that integrates personaldata throughout all their products
  115. 115. It’s great that Google can getmore social data. But whyshould consumers love it?
  116. 116. This is similar to when Googlelaunched Google Wallet
  117. 117. When asked, Google said theylaunched it to collect more dataon purchase behaviors.
  118. 118. But they didn’t say their purpose wasto solve a problem for the merchantnor the consumer.They wanted tocollect more data.
  119. 119. Consumers didn’t complain that payingwith a credit card was too painfulMerchants don’t complain that theydidn’t collect money fast enough
  120. 120. Not surprisingly...soon after, they declared that theyneeded to go back to the drawingboard due to low adoption
  121. 121. Same thing here. Google should notjust focus on becoming smarter bycollecting more data.
  122. 122. Google needs to make productsthat users love and cannot livewithout - every single day
  123. 123. So the important lesson here is:
  124. 124. When it comes to social,don’t focus on being smart...(Note:This holds true for offline social interactions too)
  125. 125. Focus on making usersfeel smart
  126. 126. Google+...I want to love youI want you to improvePlease improve...
  127. 127. ThankYou

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