Google+ isn’t Facebook, it’s something else and it’s good at it

Google+ has been much maligned recently for it’s failure to duplicate Facebook and following the departure of Vic Gundotra it’s been on a long and slow decline.  Google+ is no longer integrated as a single sign on for Google products including YouTube.  Some of the interesting functionality in Google+ such as photo management from mobile phones has now been moved to separate products.

As a social network I liked Google+.  As much as facebook offers different groups, it’s a pain to manage.  The app always posts to the last selected group instead of to the default.  On Google+ I had a friends group, nerds group, UNIX group, etc. etc. and posted different stories to each group.  On Facebook family members aren’t interested in lost of Star Wars posts, but a small group of friends are very interested.  Google+ allowed that tidy split between different social groups in a way that’s totally broken on Facebook.

Now that most people have abandoned Google+ as a social media platform, what is left.  For me I think it’s become a great platform for groups and informal forums.  Taking a look at the overview of Google Groups:

groups

Speed matters is kind of irrelevant.  Mobile friendly is a given in 2015.  The first three points though are exactly how I use Google+ these days.  A good working example is Watchmaker for Android Wear.  This app lets people develop animated watch faces for Android Wear smartwatches.  The app itself purports to having “Featured Watches” – a new watchface every day.  The selection is a bit rubbish.  However if you follow the Google+ pages on Watchmaker there are new and cool faces posted daily.  There are developer conversations announcing new features.  Good and helpful discussions on how to implement functionality in the app.

watchmaker

It’s a lively and well used community.  Social media you might describe it as.  Google+ describes them as communities.  It will be interesting to see how long it is before either Groups or Google+ merges into the other.   Whilst Google+ has failed to replace Facebook as the defacto place to share the days events with people you kind of / sort of know, it has developed into something more interesting and in certain definitions more of a social platform.  In addition, one of the major benefits is a lack of minion jpegs every 3 posts – and that has to be a good thing

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