I use two social networks: Twitter and LinkedIn. Other people are hung up on Facebook, which I refuse to use because I'm not looking to have an affair with the secretary, find a new wife, or keep up with old school buddies whom I didn't even hang out with in the first place. I definitely do not use Foursquare to check in every place I go as if I am on parole, and I'm not impressed with badges that tell me I've been a good boy for checking in consistently.
I did join Google+ and once in a while I'll go over there if I happen to be in a good mood and I want it ruined. Generally I go there to respond to some comment made by someone I don't know about something I don't care about. I get notified when someone is yakking about me and I usually ignore it. On G+, it goes like this:
User A: Hey, Dvorak, what do you think of this new doodad?
User A: Hey! I asked you three times about the new doodad. Are you afraid to answer?
User B: He probably doesn't know anything about it. He's an idiot.
User A: Are you an idiot, Dvorak, or are you too full of yourself to answer?
User C: He never comes on G+.
User A: Is he too good for us?
User B: No, he's probably too old to use G+. And he probably doesn't know anything about doodads.
User D: What difference does it make what he thinks anyway?
User A: I just wanted to know if he has any thoughts.
This nonsense can go on for a week and only gets worse. I'll relent, go on G+, and say that "this doodad stinks." Then everyone is happy. What kind of a network is this?
Google should never have released any sort of social network. The company itself is more anti-social than Microsoft. It doesn't even have a go-to press person. If a member of the media wants to chat with Google about something, you must send a general email to email@example.com and most often you hear nothing back.
This is not the hallmark of a company which is up on all things social. And G+ only succeeds because Google pushes it more than Microsoft pushed Internet Explorer before it was sued by the government.
Try this: Go to Google.com and type “news” in as a search. Below is the list I got the last time I did this (in the order that Google displayed the results):
1. Google News (Really? Can you make it any more obvious that the results are rigged?)
2. Fox News
3. San Jose Mercury News
4. Yahoo! News (which is just an AP feed)
5. SF Gate
7. CNET News
8. A Tom Merritt Google+ post
9. NBC News
That was page one. Notice anything peculiar? I got Google+ but not some other big US news sources such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, or USA Today. Of course, I was logged in so Google fed me personalised results. I assume the idea is to get me into the G+ page so I could have fun looking at all the ludicrous feeds that fly by. I can only describe it as Twitter on steroids – a meeting of chatterboxes.
I should mention that hiding private results yielded similar results for this same search, still with Google News and Fox at the top.
Google wanted to do a social network because it was getting paranoid like Microsoft. It keeps hearing about Facebook's threat to beat Google with "social search." When it comes to search, this is like Ford worrying about Harley-Davidson.
Zuckerberg managed to create a product that stemmed from his personal obsessions, which turned out to click with a lot of people who had the same social needs. Google+ is derivative and comes from an unsociable company that does not understand social at all. Google+ is a loser, I’m sorry to say.