Five reasons to stay off Google+ for now

Five reasons to stay off Google+ for now

Summary: I like Google+ a lot. But, it's having major teething problems. Unless you're ready to deal with those, I'd avoid this social network for now.

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I think Google+ may just turn out to be the best social network of them all. I also think though that Google+ has a lot of headaches currently and unless you're ready to deal with them you should stay off Google+ for now.

Here's my short list of Google+ problems. If you can't live with any of these: Don't try to get on Google+ yet. Most of these will be fixed. Keep in mind that some of the potential policy problems may not be changing anytime soon... if ever.

1) Google+ is Beta Software

The very first thing you need to keep in mind with Google+ is that it's beta. When I say 'beta,' I mean it's as dependable as a car with a serious engine problem. It may get you to work on time... or it may leave you by the side of the Internet highway wondering why there's smoke coming out of the engine. In short, you can't depend on Google+ yet. While I haven't had it outright fail on me, I have people come and go out of my Google+ Circles and posts disappear for hours at a time.

At present, Google+ just isn't very dependable. This will get better, but if you come in expecting it to run smoothly right now, you've come to the wrong network.

2) No, I mean Google+ really is Beta Software

Since its beginning, Google has released beta software. Often, even in beta, these programs, like Gmail, were quite good and works in the same way from one day to another. That's not the case with Google+.

Even when Google+ works perfectly, it's always changing. What worked one day may work another day in an entirely different manner. Most of these changes are for the better, but you can't just go on Google+ one day and expect it to work the same way it did yesterday.

This is especially troublesome for people who are using Google+ Web browser extensions. There are a lot of them out there, and some are quite good. I haven't even tried to list some of the better ones though never mind review them. That's because one that will work one day won't work the next. Or, Google+ may adopt its functionality into the network itself leaving you with a tool you don't need anymore.

Eventually, thing will settle down with Google+ interface and functionality, but we're still a long way from that happening.

3) Real Names

How comfortable are you with having your real name, or the name you commonly go by online anyway, being permanently  attached to your Google Plus account? If you value you anonymity; if you like keeping a firewall between your real identity and the one you use online, Google+ is probably not going to be for you.

Violet Blue has written about this real names problem at length. While Google has made some changes in how they're managing Google+ names, they're still leaning towards having users use their real name, or at least the name they're mostly commonly know by on the net. This troubles a lot of people.

I don't think this problem is going to go away. That said, it's even worse on other social networks such as Facebook. There, Facebook's former marketing director Randi Zuckerberg announced just before she left that "I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away."

If you really value keeping your privacy and you want to be on a social network, I don't think any of the larger social networks will prove to be a welcome home. Instead, you should be looking for federated social networks. These networks, such as Disapora, Hubbub, and StatusNet, are still coming together. What they have in common is that they put, to one degree or the other, the servers, the software, and users identities into the hands of the users themselves. If you value privacy, it's these networks, not the Facebooks of the world that you should be turning to.

4) Account instability

Google has been kicking people off Google+ for not using their real names, for violating the Google terms of service, or-for all we can tell--looking funny. Or, as Google put it when they explained why Blake Ross, a Facebook executive, had been kicked off, it was the fault of "an account deletion bot."

While I haven't had this problem, I've heard enough stories from friends that I can tell those account deletion bots are seriously misbehaving. While you can get your account back, with all its data intact, most people don't need this pain in the neck.

5) Google+ Mismanagement

Underlying a lot of these troubles is that Google simply has not put enough thought into its policies. They also don't have anything like enough real people managing the system. Even as Google relies on bots to take care of day-to-day management, Advertising robots, fake users, and all the other junk you find on other social networks are showing up.

Before Google+ is ready for hundreds of millions of user, or even the 25-million it already has, Google must establish the social network's rules of the road. The company must also put in the management and support it needs to make sure everyone understands the rules gets along reasonably well.

This problem isn't too surprising. Google+ is growing faster than any other social network to date and Google didn't expect it to grow so fast. But, just because there are good reasons for Google to having these troubles doesn't mean that the problems don't exist.

Despite all that, I love Google+. But, if you can't live with everything I just listed, don't raise your blood-pressure by joining it. You'll just get ticked off and what's the point of giving yourself misery? Give it time though and eventually it will mature to the point where I think almost everyone will love it. But today? Today is not that day.

Related Stories:

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Google+ jumps to 25 million visitors in record time

Google+ won't get you a job (yet)

Facebook: "Anonymity on the Internet has to go away"

How to make good use of Google+'s Circles

Five Things to love about Google+

Topics: Apps, Google, Social Enterprise

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41 comments
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  • People tend to do things they wouldn't otherwise do when...

    ...they think they are anonymous.
    Have you ever noticed that?
    I think the key here is that everyone, myself included, needs to be held accountable for their behavior.

    It's no different when you are out in public. Your car has a license plate. You conduct yourself accordingly.

    Do something inappropriate or against social norms, or, criminal, then you will suffer the repercussions for doing so.

    So, keep your powder dry, be good, do no evil, don't have fun at other people's expense and you'll do fine with Google+.

    Peace. Out.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate!
    • RE: Five reasons to stay off Google for now

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate! Who's the real person? The guy smiling and telling you how much he loved your speech, or the guy in the car telling his wife you're a blowhard? The internet makes people tell their honest feelings. Annonymous people will say the hard things because they don't have to worry about fitting into the crowd. People shouldn't be ostracized for their opinions, but it happens way often than it should.
      Aerowind
      • And to that I say nobody is forced to share their honest feelings

        @Aerowind

        Don't discuss (in public or on the Internet) what you want kept private--it's that simple.
        Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate!
      • RE: Five reasons to stay off Google for now

        @Dietrich T. Schmitz But what about stuff you want to discuss but can't, because people will ridicule you? You underestimate what doesn't get done because people are afraid to put their ideas out there.
        Aerowind
      • RE: Five reasons to stay off Google for now

        @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate!: "Don't discuss (in public or on the Internet) what you want kept private"

        Good advice. Now, let's get Google and Facebook and everyone else to start owning up and clearly telling us when their platform is truly private and when it's just "kinda private" to accommodate their own purposes.
        Andre Richards
      • RE: Five reasons to stay off Google for now

        And hey, look! Chris Haney is obviously behaving much better by using his name!

        LOL!

        *spam reported*
        CobraA1
    • RE: Five reasons to stay off Google for now

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate!

      Nice misdirection, but it's not the issue.

      Google and other companies in the social networking sphere present themselves as ostensibly secure and private, but are many times sharing your information or using it in ways that expose a user's activities unexpectedly. If Google or Facebook doesn't want to offer users a truly secure and private platform to connect, then they should be up-front about that and spell it all out instead of hiding it in convoluted language in a multi-page, legalese-laden terms of service. The average user is going to assume what they do on a social network is private, and given how evasive and obfuscating some companies are about what they do with user data (and that includes Google) I really can't blame users for that assumption.
      Andre Richards
      • Good posting..

        @Andre Richards
        for thanks..
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        keyness
    • RE: Five reasons to stay off Google for now

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate! <br>Such a naive view. The more you expose yourself on the internet, the more the bad guys, and there are lots of them, will try to take advantage of you.<br><br>But, the worst risks are Google and Facebook themselves. Techies seems to have complete faith in Google and everything they do. But, Google and Facebook could not exist without spying on their users, building profiles, and targeting advertising.<br><br>Google is far ahead of Facebook in terms of profiling billions of people, and they are far more underhanded about it. They started by profiling searches, and now use every app and service to build their profiles. For the most part, what goes on Facebook is what you put on Facebook. <br><br>So, since these are companies, run by people, it is just a matter of time until these profiles are leaked or sold for fun or profit. Good luck to all you fun lovers then.
      jorjitop
    • RE: Five reasons to stay off Google for now

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate!

      "People tend to do things they wouldn't otherwise do when...
      ...they think they are anonymous.
      Have you ever noticed that?"

      No.

      "Your car has a license plate."

      My license plate doesn't have my name written all over it. Ever noticed that?

      "You conduct yourself accordingly."

      I've been to a few cities where conduct was crazy, even borderline dangerous - and the license plate number didn't make any difference at all. That speeder the police is chasing has a license plate number too!

      "Do something inappropriate or against social norms, or, criminal, then you will suffer the repercussions for doing so."

      Indeed you will, and your name ain't got nothing to do with it.
      CobraA1
      • RE: Five reasons to stay off Google for now

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        keyness
    • RE: Five reasons to stay off Google for now

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate! <br>1-3 don't really bug me, I've gone by Zazie Lavender for about 5 years now, first on livejournal, then twitter, then Youtube. <br>4 is easy enough, I just don't fill in my profile with much more than my name and that I'm currently a student. Yes, it's account management system fails when confronted with real world data. You wanna know why? Because some programmer got too zealous in upholding the CEOs wishes. Give it a few more months, they've already toned down that problem anyway so it's safe. If your real name has potential to make it hate you, then just give it a first and last name that look right and move on, you can correct your name later when the whole thing moves out of beta. Besides I'm sure you're used to "normalizing" your name anyway<br><br>5 is just obvious. See 1 and 2. IT'S STILL IN BETA!
      ZazieLavender
  • Used google blog

    Always felt it is beta, beta, beta application.
    FADS_z
  • RE: Five reasons to stay off Google for now

    That's funny coming from the same guy who has done nothing but promote Google+. I shall take your advice and stay far far away from it. I wouldn't want to be associated with Google in any way after all the bad publicity they are getting lately.
    LoverockDavidson
  • Very happy with Google

    In the 'early' days, circles were pretty slow to reflect the people added to them. That's all.
    But I don't use plugins. I can imagine that could give a few problems when G+ is updated with new features or changed behaviour.

    BUT: I don't see anything at all that should keep anybody away from this great social network site. Go ahead and enjoy Google+
    Sverix
  • Those five reasons

    Those same five reasons are the reasons why I minimize the use of Google products. Google Voice is a great product. Yet, their integration with my domain is atrocious and their lack of support disheartening. I have 60+ apps in my cpanel that Google does not offer any real level of support service for.
    Your Non Advocate
  • RE: Five reasons to stay off Google for now

    I was invited to Google + and found none of my friends existed in that network, none of my friends use gmail, google talk or have a google account, so I sent an invitation about 2 weeks ago but haven't received any replies, I will have to tell them to get out from Facebook, but they have most of their friends in Facebook, so it will be difficult to convince them, I think I won't use Google plus until all my friends migrate to Google plus maybe in 5 or 10 years.
    Gabriel Hernandez
  • RE: Five reasons to stay off Google for now

    Google+ is more polished than Freaking Facebook at this point. The Beta tag is just that, a tag. Means nothing.
    Droid101
    • RE: Five reasons to stay off Google for now

      @Droid101, exactly right.
      ismetd
  • RE: Five reasons to stay off Google for now

    It must just depend who you are. I prefer G+ over Facebook. I really like being able to direct posts to just certain people easily. And the hangouts are awesome.
    compy386