Six months ago I wrote a blog post where I said that I was giving up on Google Plus. I appreciated the service, but was tired of feeling like I was the only person using it.
I wanted to write a follow-up to say that I’ve been using it again. I’ve actually been using it pretty regularly for the past month.
Over the summer, Google revamped the mobile app for G+. It is very well done. The interface and performance of the app are top notch. Post scrolling is beautifully implemented. The polished fade-ins of posts and images make it feel alive in my hand. It was this new G+ app that drew me to begin visiting Google+ on a regular basis again.
Google also revamped the G+ website. It’s incredibly snappy. It has a clean interface with plenty of whitespace. I like what they’ve done.
I’ve started posting to G+ regularly again. When I have something witty to post to Facebook or Twitter, I’ll usually pop over to G+ and post it there too. I rarely get much feedback, but I figure it’s still worth my time to post there anyway. I think it’s a good service and I want others to use it, so I’m happy to make my contributions to the cause.
Posting photos on G+ is a better experience than on Facebook. Uploading is a breeze. I have more control over what is being shared with my friends when I upload and tag photos. I like the slick way that pictures and albums can be dragged and reorganized. I also like that my pictures are displayed larger and wider than on Facebook. It has been reported that the quality of the images being served are actually higher too. I will agree with that assessment.
I’ve also found myself re-sharing posts on G+, which is something I don’t normally do. Occasionally a cool site like Wired will post a great story and I’ll share it. Google+ handles this quite beautifully. It feels like it’s made for this type of action and I don’t feel as though I’m annoying other users by doing it. I’ve also been regularly posting links to my new blog posts, which I only do once in a while on Facebook or Twitter, depending on the subject matter.
I do have one small gripe. The animated GIFs I can do without. I wish people wouldn’t post them. I don’t fault Google for allowing them, but I wish I could disable them somehow. One or two every now and then isn’t so bad, but when I see three or more on a single page, it starts to become annoying. For some weird reason, a lot of people are fond of them. I don’t know why. You’ll never catch me posting one. (Never say never, Craig.)
The information I get from G+ is more along the lines of Twitter than Facebook. Instead of the majority of the posts that I see being from friends and family, I see a collection of interesting people and sites that I follow. G+ still has a way to go as far as average user adoption goes. I’ve circled lots of power users, but I only know about five people in real life who post to the site on a regular basis. Still, that’s four more than there were six months ago.
User numbers aside, I have come to really like Google+. The service is quite mature. Solid. The site is fully baked and ready to serve.
Despite all of this G+ affection, I still like Facebook very much, despite its flaws. I’m glad that we have Facebook as a ubiquitous service that practically everyone uses. For a social network to become the standard, that has to be the case. While I’m not wishing for Google+ to dethrone Facebook, I’m glad that it exists and that we all have a worthy and powerful alternative.