Google Fails at Creating Communities: A Year in Review

Photo © of Danny Sullivan

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I have used Blogger for a little over a year now. When I began blogging about a year and a half ago I was interested in finding something simple, and free to use. Blogger caught my attention, mainly because the service was backed by Google.

Initially the service was great! I had no trouble posting, or linking my blog posts to my contacts through Twitter and Facebook. However, after some time I started to realize that Blogger doesn’t have “certain” social features that many other sites have. I also began to realize how hard it was to build connections with other bloggers. It wasn’t a quick clean process of locating like minded individuals and sharing ideas.

Like many people I appreciate Google as a company. I think the company has done a lot to change the way we do and think about things. I’m also a huge fan of Android, and believe that Google helped companies like Samsung, LG and HTC stay competitive in the smartphone market. For anyone who may not be a fan of the Android platform, you should hopefully still appreciate the fact that Google helped stopped one company (Apple) from having a monopoly in the smartphone market.

Google’s ability to collaborate and create always impressed me. That being said, I think that Google’s attempts at creating various social media services have turned out rather poorly.

Google+

A lot of people were hoping this service would replace, or at least be competitive with Facebook. The design and functionality of the site was lackluster. Most people gave the service a shot, and quit very shortly after. The majority of people I know who have a Google+ account didn’t even get as far as uploading a profile picture.

YouTube

Google recently made changes to YouTube, which required users to link their Google+ account to their YouTube accounts. I personally saw this attempt by Google as a little underhanded. I believe they were hoping to leverage the popularity of YouTube to increase Google+’s value. This infuriated the internet. Rightfully so, as people have the right to share certain information with certain people. Those people also have the right to anonymity. As much as this may have made some of the trolls or closet racists more accountable for their words; it also took away people’s ability to express themselves freely.

The whole thing reeked of desperation. It’s time for Google to realize Google+ failed, and to figure out why it happened and how to move forward on their social media front. I think the first thing they really needed to do when it became apparent that Google+ flopped was to ask themselves, “Did we make a product that made Facebook irrelevant?” followed by someone saying, “If not, we should go back to the drawing board.”

I think that is pretty much it. I’ve made the decision starting 2014 to move my blog to WordPress. I believe that Blogger has some great writers. Unfortunately I feel as though all Blogger users are islands in an ocean trying to throw life lines to one another. Google failed at creating the necessary infrastructure for most of us to grow, collaborate, and share. Using Blogger for me was a wonderful learning experience. However, I’ve seen the box and I’ve grown beyond its constraints.

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