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Dear Google: Please stop trying to make me use your terrible social network

Published Jan 10th, 2014 3:27PM EST
Google+ Promotion Criticism

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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.

Your latest Google+ transgression, which we wrote about earlier today, involves creating a default setting in Gmail that lets anyone who views our Google+ profile send us messages to our Gmail inboxes. I quickly changed this default setting and I wouldn’t be making such a big deal of it except that I’m sure that it won’t be the last time I’ll have to tell you to stop trying to get me to spend more time on Google+.

You’ve also been pushing me to use my Google+ account as my primary YouTube user name instead of my normal anonymous user name. Oh, and pictures I take with my Android phone’s camera now upload automatically to Google+ awaiting my approval for sharing. You’ve also said that you’re going to make Google+ essentially the hub of all your services so that every single thing we do on different Google sites links in some way to Google+.

This is a surefire way to create a backlash. As I’ve noted before, I use Google for many things but social networking isn’t one of them. Most of my friends are on Facebook and, frankly, I want it to stay that way. Facebook is a superior social network that is flat-out more enjoyable to use than the thing you’ve been trying to push on me for the past couple of years.

Do you honestly need to know every last detail about my life that you can’t just be happy knowing what I’m searching for, the web pages I like to visit, the music I listen to and the topics that pop up most frequently in my emails? Do you simply have to have the cute kitty pictures I post on Instagram tagged in your massive data hive as well?

Right now I feel like Google+ is the incredibly annoying kid in high school whom you let tag along with your group of friends out of pity even if you don’t particularly like him. And right now, I’m feeling very tempted to flush his head in the toilet and then stuff him into a locker.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.