Google’s most recent tactic for pushing Google+ on its user base has drawn plenty of criticism and apparently even Google realizes how potentially annoying it could be for users who get lots of unwanted emails from strangers. The Verge notices that “high-profile” Google+ users have their default Gmail settings set to block any emails that are sent through their Google+ profiles. This is different from the default Gmail settings for the majority of users that allow anyone who views your Google+ profile to send a message to your Gmail account even if you’ve never met them before. The list of “high-profile” users presumably includes Google CEO Larry Page, who has more than 4 million followers in his circles. More →
OK, Google, I rely on your for a lot of things. Not only are you my default search engine but you’re also my primary email account (Gmail), my web browser (Chrome), my mobile operating system (Android) and even my primary music streaming service (Google Play All Access). I think it’s fair to say that I am a customer and on the whole I’ve been more-or-less happy with you. But there’s one thing that you’re doing that is driving me crazy: You keep trying to get me to use a social networking website that I have absolutely, positively no desire to ever use or even deal with. More →
Whether you’re a fan of the ever-expanding Google+ integration or not, as far as Google is concerned, there’s no turning back now. In an interview with Livemint, Google’s Steve Grove, director of partnerships for Google+, went into some detail about how the company plans to stretch Google+ even further in the future: “We’ve been consolidating the different services, so today Search, YouTube, the Google Play app store, all this plugs into Google+. And the reason for that is that Google+ is kind of like the next version of Google.” More →
A new study looks into Google+ usage, a social network that has been labeled as a “ghost town” in the past for not being actually used as much as Google would want it to be. Performed by GlobalWebIndex (via Quartz), the new study shows that Google+ is mostly interesting to and therefore most used by… people who work in IT. Shocking, we know. Other top user types include senior “decision makers,” company owners, people who are self-employed and people living with friends or who are single. Since nearly a third of Google+ usage is tied to IT workers, Google’s social network is to engineers what Facebook is to moms and Twitter is to journalists, Quartz concludes. More →
Count YouTube cofounder Jawed Karim among those who’s not a fan of forcing YouTube commenters to have a Google+ account. As The Guardian notes, Karim this week posted a comment on his YouTube page asking “why the f— do I need a Google+ account to comment on a video?” Google has claimed that it’s requiring commenters to have Google+ accounts to help them “see posts at the top of the list from the video’s creator, popular personalities, engaged discussions about the video, and people in your Google+ Circles,” and thus deliver a more personalized experience. Even so, Google’s assurance that the new comments system is being put in place for users’ benefit is unlikely to quell critics who think the company is cynically trying to find yet another sneaky way to foist Google+ on everyone.
Plenty of people have Google+ accounts, but do many people actually use them for being social? Marketing Land reports that online brand management firm Gigya has released new data showing that Google’s social network only accounts for 2% of all social sharing across the web. Facebook is unsurprisingly still the top network for sharing, accounting for half of all content shared across the Internet. Twitter and Pinterest also account for significant portions of shared content, respectively accounting for 24% and 16% of social sharing. The most embarrassing part for Google, though, is that LinkedIn is actually beating Google+ for shared content with a 3% share, meaning that Google+ users share even less than users of a website that is mostly used for business networking.
Google ends up shutting down more than one out of every three services it offers, and the serial killer’s next victim has been identified. As of August 9th, Google Latitude will be no more. “Google Latitude will be retired on August 9th, 2013,” Google said in a post on its support website. “Products being retired include Google Latitude in Google Maps for Android, Latitude for iPhone, the Latitude API, the public badge, the iGoogle Gadget, and the Latitude website at maps.google.com/latitude.” The news comes just a week after Google shuttered its widely used Google Reader RSS feed reading service. What should people who still use the Latitude social network to share their location with friends and family do? Shockingly, Google suggests using Google+ instead. “You can share your location with your friends on Google+ using the Google+ Android app,” the company noted on its site. “The ability to share your location on Google+ on iOS will be coming soon.”
During its annual I/O Developers Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, Google senior vice president Vic Gundotra announced 41 new features for the company’s social networking site. Google+ will receive yet another redesign that looks to unify the website on smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. The redesign will adapt based on the screen size of the device from one column when viewing on a smartphone to two to three columns when on a tablet or laptop. One of the new features Google added is called “related hashtags,” which can analyze the content of a post and automatically apply a hashtag to them. Another feature, known as Auto Enhance, will analyze uploaded photos and help make them look even better by adjusting the saturation levels, brightness, contrast and color. More →
Google announced last fall that its social networking site was home to 400 million members with more than 100 million active monthly users. Despite these numbers, many people are apparently continuing to ignore Google+, a service that has been labeled a ghost town. Perhaps even more concerning is Google’s inability to win over brands and businesses that have instead turned to connect with customers on competing websites. More →
You may not visit Google+ every day and check status updates obsessively as you do with Facebook (FB) or Twitter, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t using Google’s (GOOG) social network. Forbes‘ David Thier writes that the brilliant thing about Google+ from a revenue-generating perspective is that “as long as you’re signed into Google services or properties, you’re passively using Google+, and the site collects data either way.” This means searches you conduct on Google Maps, YouTube or the Google Play store are all little data points that are collected by Google+ and are used to improve micro-targeting for advertisements. You may not think this is necessarily a good thing, of course, but it is certainly a clever move on Google’s part.
As a direct Facebook (FB) competitor, Google+ doesn’t stack up well. But what if directly competing with Facebook isn’t the point of Google’s (GOOG) social networking service? Over at Fast Company, David Llorens makes a reasonable case that Google+ simply cannot fail because Google has decided to make it “the Borg-like hive-queen that connects all the other Google products like YouTube, Google Maps, Images, Offers, Books, and more.” More →
Although Google+ hasn’t turned out to be quite the Facebook (FB) “killer,” Google (GOOG) is still very serious about expanding its social network. The company announced on Friday an upcoming update to its Google+ Android app with new features for “including on-the-go profile editing, an easier way to author content, and a subtle notice when there’s new stuff to read.” Google is also adding some killer photo features: up to 5GB of full-sized photos can be backed up for free via Instant Upload and Android 4.2’s 360-degree “Photo Sphere” panoramas can be shared to the mobile stream. More →
Google (GOOG) on Monday announced a new milestone for its Google+ social networking platform. Vic Gundotra, the company’s senior vice president of engineering, revealed that Google+ is now home to more than 400 million members and, despite arguments that claim the service is a ghost town, it now attracts 100 million active monthly users. “It was only a year ago that we opened public sign-up, and we couldn’t have imagined that so many people would join in just 12 months,” Gundotra wrote. Facebook (FB), Google’s main competitor in the social space, has more than 900 million active monthly users. More →