An Open Letter to Google: I love you, Google+, but...

An Open Letter to Google: I love you, Google+, but...

Summary: Former ZDnet "Social Business" blogger Jennifer Leggio has been involved in love fest with Google+ for the last week. Here, she writes an open letter affirming her commitment to the service, that is, if Google can give her what she wants.


[A guest post by Jennifer Leggio]

Former ZDnet “Social Business” blogger Jennifer Leggio (@mediaphyter) has been involved in love fest with Google+ for the last week. Here, she writes an open letter affirming her commitment to the service, that is, if Google can give her what she wants.

Dear Google –

I know we haven’t always seen eye-to-eye on your development of social networking technologies (aka Google Buzz). I know that it hurt you when I took the side of Facebook in the social networking web war, too. However, I’m willing to give you another shot. You’ve almost stolen my heart with Google+.

As much as I’m starting to fall, I do still have some kinks that we need to work out of our relationship. I don’t know how much to trust you or if I can commit to using Google+ in the long-term. You see, I had such high expectations before and was let down. In order for us to build the sustainable relationship we both want I’d like to kindly ask you to consider the following:

  1. Let my people in. I realize that “ego marketing” is the Google way and you want all of us web nerds to talk about what we have that others don’t. You’ve done it with Gmail and other successful products. However, I’m going to quickly look elsewhere for my social satisfaction if my friends and family can’t join my circles.
  2. Give me a better way to manage these circles. Don’t get me wrong – your drag-and-drop friend management makes me weak in the knees. But I need more. I currently don’t have anywhere to put people who I don’t know. It seems harsh to block them but I don’t want to have to filter through them every time I get a new request. I could create a circle to dump them into, but then I have to a) manage people I don’t know and b) I can’t use the “extended” and “all circles” options. My friend Bob had a great idea – allow a clean UX process to post to all but X circles. Or, allow me to set permission within circles. I know Google doesn’t want to “be evil” or even too closed, but I at least need the guise of control in order to feel happy with my social network.
  3. I currently like that there aren’t yet obvious uses for businesses to market to me via Google+ yet (though I see a future connection with that intuitive curated content!). This separation from businesses makes me feel safe in an otherwise over-marketed world. I know you can’t keep it that way if you really want to compete with other social networks, but thanks in the short-term. (Somewhat begrudgingly, I share with those interested a great post from Christopher Carfi on How The Enterprise Can Use Google+.)
  4. Perhaps I am suffering from a bout of Facebook assimilation, but given all of these fancy schmancy circles I’d really like to be able to leverage them to manage real-time events. Google, I know you don’t want people to spend a lot of time away from their computers, but if you allow us to do some face-time then we’ll have more pictures to post to Picasa. I’d love to be able to invite one of my circles to a housewarming shindig, or perhaps a Silicon Valley Tweet-Up. Of course, you’ll always be my +1… (insert groan here).
  5. I very much love the multi-user video chat and the ability to watch videos of cute cats on YouTube in real-time with my friends. However, you and I both know you need to step up your game with Facebook’s rumored Skype announcement. How about some screen sharing as part of the “hangout” feature? It’s great to be able to sync with friends in real-time but it would also be nice to share stuff beyond cute cats on YouTube in real-time. Down the line, there might also be a premium opportunity for business users (again, I say begrudgingly). I’ve already had a couple of instinctual desires to use this type of feature, so can we make it happen?

See, Google, I really do believe in your social prowess. I know you have an amazing team of superstars who have been knocking at this day and night, and, for the first time I do believe you have a winner. I want to be in this with you for the long haul, Google. I want to be a champion for the service but in order to do that I have to feel the love, as well as see my friends and family become embraced as well. What do you say, Google? Are we in this together?



Jennifer Leggio is a frequent writer and speaker on social media, marketing and communications trends, as well as security and privacy. Find her on Twitter at @mediaphyter.

Topics: Collaboration, Google, Social Enterprise

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  • RE: An Open Letter to Google: I love you, Google , butâ?¦

    Great suggestions. I hope Google listens.
    • RE: An Open Letter to Google: I love you, Google , but?

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  • Google isn't in this &quot;together&quot; with you. Never forget that.

    It's in this for itself. It wants to combine knowledge of your social life and contacts with the information it gets on you by tracking your Web browsing and reading your email and monitoring your Android cell phone... and then use the dossier it has created on you to increase its bottom line. Google, the creepiest and most greedy of Internet monopolists, has got your number. And you are not even its customer (you are not paying it anything!). It owes you absolutely nothing and has absolutely no incentive to act in your best interest. In fact, it has plenty of incentives not to. Expect to get what you paid for --or less.
    Anne Nonymous
    • RE: An Open Letter to Google: I love you, Google , but

      @Anne Nonymous
      Are you kidding? Google+ has a page where you can export all your contacts, pictures, and even posts! Where can you do that on Facebook? Answer: You can't. You don't own anything you put on Facebook. They own it. And they sell it. Oh, do they sell it.
      • That's just a gimmick.

        @Droid101 That's a gimmick. Sure, Google will let you copy that information, but if you read its terms of service you will learn that it's still allowed to keep and use it forever for its own purposes. Which is what it wants.
        Anne Nonymous
      • RE: An Open Letter to Google: I love you, Google , but

        @Droid101 Facebook do have social control. But Google have search and mail and MS has the desktop. The world has finally been able to break free of one monopolists grasp (MS), I don't see the need to then get caught up with another. I like to spread my use so that no one single company has too much control. I'll be sticking with Facebook...I wouldn't want to get into a relationship with Google I can never get out of.
    • Anti-Google much?

      @Anne Nonymous I get what you're saying, but seems a bit too directionalized towards Google. I mean, of all the companies who collect an sell data from clients (Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, etc.)... Personally, I haven't read much of ANY of their EULAs or TOSs or whatever else, but I'm pretty sure they include rights to your uploads, downloads, souls, and whatever else they want...
      • Apples to Oranges

        @45yoyos My message is directed at Google because Google is by far the worst offender. No other company tries to track EVERYTHING you do on the Net (or comes close to doing it). No other company wants to own your phone, read your e-mail, track who you're friends with -- and then combine it all. Other companies engage in minor invasions of privacy, but none come CLOSE to Google.
        Anne Nonymous
    • Ironic you're posting this on

      @Anne Nonymous - have you read the terms and privacy rights on wrt/ what you just posted?
  • RE: An Open Letter to Google: I love you, Google , but

    All but "X" posts should be their first priority. Most people have a "I don't really know you" circle that they throw their "junk" people in, and I'd love to quickly skip them when posting most things.
    • RE: An Open Letter to Google: I love you, Google , but?


      Yes, and it's amazing how easy and simple it was to set up Facebook to do just that...
  • RE: An Open Letter to Google: I love you, Google , but

    Now that was a cool geeky-love-letter to Google+. Come on Google, listen to her. Make her yours! :P
  • RE: An Open Letter to Google: I love you, Google , but?

  • RE: An Open Letter to Google: I love you, Google , but?

    Many people seem to miss the point that users get A LOT out of the data we turn over: we get the free web. Advertising supports free social networking (FB, LinkedIn, etc), free apps on phones and tablets, free searches on Google, Yahoo, and Bing, and subsidizes the price of the iPad and iPhone so that Apple doesn't have to charge as much to make its profits. Each part of the system depends on -- and partners with -- the other. Google (for example) needs happy users to attract advertisers. Advertisers need cost-effective ads (and they use Apple's, Google's, FB's data to figure out what's cost effective and targeted properly) to sell products. They sell the products and they spend even more on online ads. That keeps the web free for all of us. Could you imagine having to pay Google every time you want to search? Of course they have an incentive to partner with users; if they don't, users will go somewhere else -- and the ad dollars will follow. It's beautiful -- not problematic -- that the incentives align.

    @Anne Nonymous: Google has to be in it with us. They're with us just as much as Honda or Starbucks or Visa (who, btw, also has a lot of your data) is -- or as _____ (insert your favorite brand) is. Companies (unless they're state-run or monopolies) only make money when they do something good for their users. Does the Ritz provide great service b/c they're nice? No. They want repeat customers. Google has to do be in it for their users or thsoe users will disappear -- along with the advertisers and the money they spend. Any company that's only in it for itself will quickly find that it has only itself, and that's not a great business model.
  • 1

    I want to +1 this post...
  • RE: An Open Letter to Google: I love you, Google , but?

    I agree that Google's privacy issues are as problematic (if not more so) than Facebook's. I do love Google and use it in a variety of contexts. But to say that FB has issues with using our data and Google doesn't . . . yeah. doesn't add up, IMHO.

    I saw a chart (or graph or cartoon) with a tongue-in-cheek comparison of FB and Google--I wish I could find it now; it's more timely than ever.
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