A rant: I’ve decided I hate Google+ BECAUSE of Circles

by Jeff Hilimire on August 19, 2011

Why with all the data out there should I have to manually assign people to Circles in order to send messages or interact with them? When you think about it, that’s something that could have been technologically done in 1999. Or 1989.

Instead, I should be able to tell a network, or a group of networks, “I want to send this message to my family members”.  Or I want to share this with anyone that works at Engauge that I’m connected to.  Or this is a funny video, I want to share this with anyone I’m connected to that is into stuff like this. Or anyone that I’m connected to that has shown an interest in mobile payments, send them this article. Or anyone I’m connected to that has kids, share this story with them.

All of this data is out there, available. When I manually try to put people in Circles in Google+, I feel like its an incredible waste of time and one of the more short-sighted things I can imagine. Think about it, what do I do when someone changes and now they aren’t in the right Circles? I now have to monitor everyone I’m connected to and if they change, move them in/out of Circles???

If I want to have a group of Atlanta social media people, what do I do when one of my other social media friends moves to Atlanta? Or one of them moves out of Atlanta? Or one of them suddenly gets a career change and starts working in social media? Can you imagine what that’s going to look like when you have a thousand people in Circles? It will be completely unmanageable. And it will never be accurate.

I can’t use Google+ anymore because I won’t do the Circles thing. I’m not going to waste time anymore doing that. Which means I’m not going to have all the right people in all the right places in Google+, which means if I do use it, it will be a half-complete network for me. And that’s useless.

I’m also now very confused why we all fell for Circles out of the gate. Like this was some genius thing that Google came up with. They only had about seven years to get it right (Facebook launched in 2004). And Circles was the best they could do?

  • http://twitter.com/GumboShowJoe Joe Koufman

    Could it be more intelligent for us? Yes.  Does this mean it should be tossed out as a platform? No.  Keep in mind it still has not rolled out en masse.  Also isn’t it still incrementally better than Facebook where I can ONLY share with ALL of my “friends” even if they are business connections or family or college buddies?  Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water… 

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    Ah but my young friend, you’re very wrong about that. You’ve been able to segment your friends on Facebook for a long time, exactly the same way you can with Google+, its just not right there on the homepage. I have business friends, family and “friends” as different segments.  I also have “Blind Google Loyalists” as a segment and oddly, you’re the only one in there ;)

    My main beef is that Google, the “most innovative company on the planet”, had years and years to get this right, and the best they can come up with is Circles. Will it improve? Of course, but they get a solid D- for this first effort IMHO. And until its better I can’t make it an important part of my online activity.

  • Stephanie

    You know why people fell for circles? Because everyone who uses Facebook is universally familiar with the painful experience of segmenting and moderating conversations. For me, Google+ is a little like microblogging, and because I can include/exclude my messages I’m able to do more, and get more out of, my time with the application. That all being said, I agree with your point that Circles should be intuitive. Google+ has a long way to go, but has promise if they can keep the momentum going and make *visible* incremental changes. If it just plugs along in Beta, and no kinks  or noticeable improvements are workout out, people will tire of it.

  • Stephanie

    See, Jeff …. Joe’s furthering my point. It’s not “exactly the same” in FB. Segmentation is so painful and confusing in Facebook, some people don’t even know it exists. What Google has in spades that Facebook lacks is crazy-intuitive product design. So far, G+ hasn’t been an exception. But, like I said in my comment, it still has a long way to go.

  • Perry Schaffer

    I think the hype over circles a little over the top but I’m not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Took me a while to figure out my ‘circle’ strategy and I do think it’s confusing. For example the circles I might want for ‘incoming’ might not = the circles I want for ‘outgoing!’ How’s that supposed to work! Etc. But still think the Google+ platform offers many nice tools for for sharing, for connecting with and following persons of interest, etc. My opinion.

  • http://twitter.com/GumboShowJoe Joe Koufman

    To Stephanie’s point, Google+ should maybe be compared to Twitter that you can choose to feed to only the right audience vs. Facebook which does have segmentation that is hidden and painful.

  • TherealEhammond

    Hey sorry to jump in late on this one, but let’s first add me to the “BGL” segment that you have Joe a founding member of. What I will say for G+ is an echo of what Stephanie said. FB has the ability to segment, but it is so difficult to manage/find that most users don’t take advantage of it.  The next point is that for the masses (ppl that are not top digital execs, and “C” suiter’s) would not normally have as complicated circles. 

    G+ and the SM Networks are built for mass use and not not specialized edge cases. What I’m getting at is at some point the edge cases (you guys and I included) will more than likely find ways to tailor our experiences to work for us, or we will move on.  Folks in the edge case are normally the early adopters and quick to jump ship for the next new thing.

    So my question is how many of the projects that were launched from an interactive company we both know were perfect when they launched? I’m not sayin’, but I’m just sayin’. Hummmmm?

  • http://www.kendrickdisch.com/ Kendrick Disch

    i’m a little late to this post, but had to jump in as I posted some thoughts on circles back in July: 

    “Why do I share almost everything publicly when there is this great thing called circles? The answer is easy… I don’t know what you care about. I don’t know what you like to see. I don’t know what you’re likely to respond to. I think it falls upon you to filter my content, not the other way around.” 
    — https://plus.google.com/117609074387781485841/posts/LncL66UeSiG

    and this 

    “I don’t know what you like. Therefore, I need the ability to publish the existence of certain circles and give you the option to opt in via commenting or plussing that circle’s public page. Let’s say I have an interest in the manufacturing of stemware, and there are people posting about stemware, how am I going to find them if they always post that info to a closed circle? And then of course they would have to take an action (adding me to the circle) in order for me to receive the posts. It’s a process with too many sandtraps. The key is WE, as publishers, need the ability to create circles that anyone can join based on interest.”

  • http://twitter.com/GumboShowJoe Joe Koufman

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