Google has essentially come out and admitted that, no, they don’t really care if people use Google+ as a social network in and of itself. Instead it’s more about gathering data to use in better targeting behavior-based advertising, something that’s increasingly important as search-based ads level out for the company or in some cases even start to drop.
But for something that’s so important to them, Google has made Google+ into one of the worst and least user-friendly experiences on the web, particularly when it comes to managing multiple accounts. It’s such a wonky process to switch from one account to another, something brand managers may have to do multiple times a day. And it gets worse when YouTube enters the mix since there’s the constant prompt to make sure the Google+ and YouTube accounts are connected and you’re using the right name and all that, a process that’s filled with land mines, many of which I’ve tripped over time and time again despite my best efforts.
It’s great that Google finally has an identity network (if they don’t want it to be a social network we shouldn’t refer to it as such) but it would be nice if they thought about the user experience from the point of view of the user, not solely based on the ideal engineering scenario.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot I like about Google+. But the way it’s now creeped into everything that Google does feels borderline creepy. And it makes me think of how much data they’re *not* getting after killing off Google Reader, which had the interest graph for all the services’s users right there, with no additional mining necessary. They could have learned everything about me right there without me ever running a search, following a G+ brand profile or taking any other action.