Google+ very well might be the next great thing. I’m really bad at predicting those kinds of things. When I first heard about Twitter, I thought it was crazy (come on, admit, so did you). I also thought FriendFeed was going to be amazing (kinda was until Facebook bought it). So I’m no expert in predictions, let’s start with that.
And I’m not dogging Google+ overall, if you get value out of it then I think that’s great. I’m also not a Facebook fanboy (should we be calling that a faceboy?), so its not like I’m a homer for Facebook being the perfect utopia of social goodness. In fact, I’m a huge Google fan. True, I’m an Apple fanboy at heart but I’m also a Google homer. In fact, I switched my phone service to Sprint just so I could use Google Voice.
But no matter how I look at Circles, I just can’t understand why anyone would think it is such a great feature.
True, I ranted about my angst over Google+ Circles before, so perhaps this is a bit of a re-post, but after seeing the latest commercial and continuing to hear people that love Google+ talk about how they love Circles, I have to ask again…why?
I feel like I’m on an island here as I haven’t heard anyone really agree with me about Circles being a flawed concept that, the bigger your circles get, the more useless they will become. MG Siegler seems to be on the same track as me, so there’s one person I’ve found.
Did Google make their way of grouping your friends easier to find than Facebook’s exact same feature? Sure, they absolutely did.
Did they make it fun for about five seconds by letting you drag and drop your friends into a circle? Yep, its a big barrel of fun until you get to your 15th friend and you look at your 200 other friends and realize…this is gonna be painful.
Circles, or however you group your friends, HAS to be dynamic and fluid, not manual. If you’ve spent any time at all putting your friends in Circles you’ve realized this, whether you want to admit it or not. You get to your 80th friend and you’ve got your 6 tidy Circles and then you realize that your 80th friend is also a huge New England Patriots fan and wouldn’t it be great to be able to run a Google+ Hangout during the Patriots game with all your friends who are Patriots fans? So you create a new Circle called, “Tom Brady is our hero”, but then realize, there are at least five other people I’ve already put into Circles that are also Patriots fans. So then you have to go back through all your previous 80 friends to figure out which ones are Patriots fans to put them into that new Circle.
Things change. People change. What happens when several of those friends stop being Patriots fans and become (GASP) Jets fans? You have to manually go and remember that they switched over to the dark side and move them out of the Patriots Circle.
This can happen if people move cities (you might have an “Atlanta” Circle so you can talk about snow storms that never happened), if people move jobs or career tracks, if people get married…all depends on your Circles. Unless you make your Circles so vague that they have almost no meaning.
The entire basis for Circles is flawed. Here’s the dumb part. Nobody, not even Facebook, knows more about us than Google. Google knows what I tweet. Google knows what I search for. Google knows what I blog about.
I personally can’t even imagine trying to take my several hundred friends/connections and figure out how to group them all into a bunch of Circles, not to mention the staff I’d have to hire to constantly check to see if they should still be in those Circles. I quit after about 40 as I realized that the Circle, “Atlanta entrepreneurs”, would change so often that it wouldn’t be worth keeping up with it.
If someone has reasons why I’m missing the point, I’d love to hear them. Honestly, I feel like I’m missing something as so many people think Circles is amazing.