If you are one of the people that look at Google Plus, seeing all the changes and left scratching your head, you are not alone. By a long shot. The little social network that could, which was aimed squarely at meeting Facebook head-on, has seemingly been not only revived from the brink of death earlier this year but actually thriving. And even more importantly, Google seems to be paying attention to it.
I know, I was just as shocked.
For those who don’t use Google Plus or have not looked at it in a long time, let me give you a bit of background. While never coming out fully and saying they were killing Google Plus, the Mountain View company left plenty of hints and suggestions that their attempt at being a social network was ending. Bits and pieces of the service like Google Photos and profile integration were moved out of the service and even some of the single sign-on features were starting to disappear. It seemed that Google had other interests in mind and had conceded the social network space to Facebook, Instagram and others.
But then a curious thing happened just last month. Google with a reasonable amount of fan fair announced a completely revamped Google Plus experience was coming and, in fact, users could try it immediately. The move was to focus the service on Communities, collections of fellow users with common interests around a subject (like Formula 1 for me as an example), and would be tweaking and improving it over time.
Now why would you spend any amount of time, resources or money on something that is supposedly dead? What you have to keep in mind though is that Google never said they were killing plus. It was assumed by many blogs and tech writers based on other things the said. That is where it went off the rails.
Google Created The Confusion Around Google Plus’ Life Expectancy
To be fair to my fellow writers, Google didn’t exactly make it clear what they were going to do with Plus. The decoupling of services led many to simply assume, rightfully so, that they would decouple and decouple until there was nothing left to decouple. And you know what? That made sense to follow that line of thought.
Equally, Google never said they were killing Plus… but they never said the were keeping it either. All they said was that they would be taking bits and pieces out of it but they never gave a good indicator they would be keeping it. That was until last month. Last month we saw a huge change to how Google Plus is oriented to the user both on the web and on the Android app. It became far more community centric, the key feature of Plus that has always drawn me to it over other social networks, and has positioned itself in a way that is somewhat unique to social networks.
To further indicate that Google Plus is here for a while are the continued update to the site and apps. Just this week we saw an update to the app for Android that brought a much improved notification page while the site itself continues to get tweaks and improvements. While you can still get back to the old Google Plus, I strongly encourage users to give the new one a try because there you will get a glimpse of the vision of what Google has in mind with it.
For me and how I communicate with the Android, Chrome OS and Windows Phone community, Google Plus just works. It gives me a wealth of information, tips, tricks and gives me the opportunity to help others. It is a community and one that despite indications earlier this year, is not dead or even on a respirator.