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 →
Google+ was apparently designed by guys who have never lived with a woman. Or, at least that’s the impression that five female technologists gave during a panel at Google I/O last week, Wired reports. During a panel focused on designing web pages that appeal to women, the designers were asked by an audience member why men outnumber women on Google+ by a ratio of around 2 to 1. The following are some choice responses as reported by Wired. More →
Google today announced a tablet-specific version of its Google+ social network. Among other things the new tablet applications will feature Hangouts that automatically switch cameras based on which person in the Hangout is talking. The new app will be available on both the Apple iPad and Android-based tablets. Google+ also now features an Events feature that integrates with Google Calendar and acts as the social networking site’s version of Evite that lets users set up and invite people to parties and other events. Google+ Events also features a “party mode” that automatically adds all photos taken to the party by any Google+ users who have “party mode” flipped on. “Party mode” also makes a live photo slideshow of pictures taken at the party as they’re taken. More →
When Spinal Tap’s manager was asked whether the band was less popular because it wasn’t selling out large venues any more, he replied that the band was just as popular but that its appeal had simply “become more selective.” Google is apparently angling for something similar with its spin on Google+ engagement, as Google vice president of product Bradley Horowitz told The Guardian on Wednesday that Google actually wants there to be more friction that slows down users’ sharing over the social network.
Google recently announced that it would add a gaming element to its Google+ social network. Again following in Facebook’s footsteps, the move was seen as a direct effort to increase engagement by keeping users on the Google+ site for as long as possible. Google’s gaming efforts suffered a major setback this week, however, as at least two game makers began pulling titles from the site, The Wall Street Journal reports. EA-owned PopCap pulled multiple games including a version of its popular Bejeweled franchise, and Germany-based Wooga pulled three titles as well. Google’s Facebook competitor touts impressive user growth, but a recent study suggested that Google+ is a ghost town with very little user engagement. More →