Why Google+ Sucks and What to Do About It (Old & New)

Google+ gets a C- in User Experience

Last week Google hosted their annual conference the Google I/O and released a new version of Google Plus.

The new one is an improvement, but still a major frustration for the majority of the people in my network. Even though they claim to have massive user growth rates, most of my friends said they just got pushed into using Google+ while checking GMail or other products and it’s extremely confusing and annoying. Not a good mark.

Therefore, I created a slide deck documenting the design issues Google+ has and the frustrations it could bring to users, in hopes that it would get the attention of Google so it could start to improve and actually become a site that people would love.

The slide deck is 129 slides, but don’t let that intimate you, as most slides only have one sentence in them and it reads quickly and I’ve heard it brings out quite a few laughs. Enjoy.

Some Big Takeaways

  • Google+ has a lot of users, but very few people use it – just check out how many people +1ed the Google Blog compared to Facebook Likes
  • The reason why this happens is primarily because people on the Google team are too smart, and cannot empathize with the mainstream user (like my mom)
  • A great product makes mainstream users FEEL smart
  • If users spend more than 4 seconds trying to find something, they already start to feel dumb
  • Typing in Plus.Google.com to get to the site is already a big barrier for the mainstream user to use
  • Automatic push-downs of content while people are still reading
  • Google+ has a large amount of “navigation spaces,” which makes it incredibly confusing for the user (and 3 more dropdown lists!)
  • Semi-Spammy Suggestions look like content, and content looks like Ads
  • Editing background information is really hard
  • Can’t really “Find” friends based on any criteria
  • Getting to people’s profiles and photos is a huge pain (People -> Your Circle -> Search for Friend -> Double Click -> Profile)
  • Auto-notifications really intrude into the Email space and settings are confusing to adjust
  • “Trending Topics” show posts from last year!
  • Google Hangout asks users to crash into random stranger’s conversations – awkward
  • Local only gives an odd recommendation that is not needed.
  • Socializing with users is hard
  • When it comes to social, don’t focus on being smart. Focus on making your users feel smart

31 thoughts on “Why Google+ Sucks and What to Do About It (Old & New)”

  1. I guess I am not “Google” smart. At least they did not help me FEEL smart while on G+. So, I guess they have that going for them. 😉

  2. Google+ sucks because your grandma can’t use it? Fuck your grandma. G+ is not for stupid fucks. Take your Fox news clueless bull shit somewhere else.

  3. Or then again, they’ve started to ramp Google Plus down somewhat, as last week it’s been decoupled from YouTube..

  4. I have two YOU TUBES one that I made over 4 years ago then one that I sign up when I made G+ app which I really didn’t make G+ made that for me. The one sign up for 4 years ago was the old YOU TUBE before Google bought it now YOU TUBE sucks bad you don’t follow the singers on the music you follow some YOYO that likes the singers YOU TUBE not like it use to be two years ago since Google bought it

  5. Google Plus losing customer a lot soon as they sign up for it they leave the app after three months I have deleted 150 acquaintances that haven’t been on G+ for 6 months up to 2 years which either left profile photo, profile info or just photos they posted on the G+ app every day I check my Acquaintance. Some leave after month and I never hear from again or just delete their app completely

  6. I fucking hate Google+, the only damn reason why I’m using it because Google force me to do so, it’s not fair. I’m trying to rank my website and they scared us sooo much that we have to use it in order to rank websites. I also hate the comments on Youtube now. 

    I hate everything about it.

  7. I never read any slide show this entertain.. but i really do hate google plus, they making us force to like them and this is not good.. i try to use google plus before.. and it fail me, to complicated, my eye hurt.. tthen, we have facebook.. why should i need 1 more social site? i use google search everyday, facebook as my social network, youtube as my favorite video network.. thats it, dont mix it

  8. Dear Mr. Chou,
    You get us. I don’t know how you do, but after reading through the entire slideshow (about 30 minutes, your comment on not letting 129 slides intimidate me was actually very helpful), I can definitely say you understand our frustrations. What are your thoughts on the forced integration several days ago? I’m not going to lie, having my full name available to everyone on YouTube whenever I comment is VERY disturbing. Anonymity was such a plus, I could have a silly name with a silly picture, but it turns out my gmail (which I used for contacting colleges) -SOMEHOW- took the profile information. Had the colleges done any MINOR checking, they would have found a funny picture of Emma Stone for my profile. “Hm, let’s definitely accept THIS guy to our university.”
    *facedesk*
    Because your post here was so informative, I decided to subscribe by e-mail. Except… the only way you can do this is through Google+. So instead I’m just going to check this page once every day (if I remember to), and hopefully will find more of your work or a reply from you.
    Thank you for your time, and “Brute Force Distribution” truly is correct.

  9. GayWorldOrder Haha, they are trying to do it with good intentions like creating a more unified and social experience (to compete with other social networks), but they just have a lot of blind spots in human-focused design (what I’m teaching here on my blog). I think they still try to adhere to their “do no evil” motto, but it’s a lot harder when you become huge and have all the data in the world 😉

  10. WTF??! No more “YouTube Inbox”? Can’t find my YouTube InBox, 100’s of messages waiting and no way to read, reply or post back to them.
    YouTube is forcing it’s sad sucky little Google Plus+ crap into everything I now do online, 100% total forced Google+ integration, Gmail, Google Search, Android… everything is being ruined, zero privacy, anything I do is not searchable via history, tracked to my cell phone and made public, these are totalitarian changes for the worse.
    Even commenting in YouTube is now a pain in the ass, too many clicks, too much time and effort for what used to be a simple 1-second task, and you can’t even reply to another user’s comments on YouTube unless they’re in your silly Google+ “Circles.” What absolute asinine monkey bullshit is this?!?!?!
    Instead of my YouTube InBox, all I get now is a GOOGLE PLUS ALERT that says: “Comments are now a part of the global verified Google+ Identity Platform. If you haven’t yet upgraded, you’ll need to verify personal credentials through the Google+ Identity system before attempting to access the comment notification bar in your Google+ Dashboard. Comment notifications are no longer delivered to your YouTube inbox, but instead to your Google+ Dashboard, your linked-Gmail account and to your SMS-verified smartphone, or other web-enabled mobile device.”
    Sounds to me like they want to personally identify everything I do online, absolutely opening myself up to the real possibility of identity theft, cyberbullying by tech-savvy stalkers, or tracking the US Government, whom I no longer trust. And here I thought cell phone tracking and eavesdropping by the evil NSA was bad!
    Time to add Google+ to my BLOCKED SENDERS LIST, and while we’re at it, I might as well finally admit defeat, GOOGLE PLUS TUBE OFFICIALLY SUCKS!!!

  11. I agree totally with you, Google+ is shit. One of the reasons why it has so many users is because the youtube channels owners are asked almost everytime to open a Google+ account (it’s arrassment) and will probably soon be forced to open one. But I don’t want one ! Google+ is too complicated !!!

  12. Google sucks because it’s full of bugs. It’s a terrible user experience. Worst of all there’s no support. You get the same ‘we can’t reply to everyone but will … bla bla’

  13. @side fish Haha, unfortunately no. They are really brute-forcing it with all their users. They should apply better Human-Focused Design and make it fun like a theme park, instead of mandating it like a Factory.

  14. You know what, I was forced to use Google+ because of my youtube account. Google kept asking me to change my name or keep it and it somehow did something. I can’t even explain it. I first noticed my youtube profile pic had been changed. You nailed it when you said Google + is hard. I don’t usually do social networking much often so Google+ was an overwhelming experience. And for what? To fix my profile picture in youtube. By the way, I have two youtube accounts now for some reason… link to one google account. Really confused as I’m trying to make sense of these.
    Is there a way to remove Google+?

  15. Great sentence: “people on the Google team are too smart, and cannot empathize with the mainstream user”.
    I always say to my geek developers team: “you are not your user”. 

    Anyway I do not think G+ is for smart people even.

  16. What are you talking about while saying: “Semi-Spammy Suggestions look like content, and content looks like Ads” or “… asks users to crash into random stranger’s conversations…” ??IMHO these were usual examples of my Facebook experience for years until today.

    1. ximoberna Thanks for the response. I’m just saying for the page, there are all these components of content that looks like ads (except in the middle of the screen….whereas Facebook ads or Google Search ads are the most right content), and I’m saying that when I click on Google Hangout, I just see a bunch of people who didn’t invite me, and it would be extremely awkward to just hit join (have you ever done that?)

    1. Jay Oza Thanks Jay! I’m a tough grader because Google is ambitious about Google+. If it’s a startup that only wants 200,000 active users, then I’ll be nicer 😉

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