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

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.
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor on

[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.

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