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10 ways to fix Google+

Mike Elgan | May 5, 2015
Here are 10 ways Google could radically crank up the engagement on Google+.

The algorithmically generated streams feel cold and impersonal — mostly news about Android or other tech subjects. But my interests extend way beyond that, and Google certainly should know that, given the personal data it collects on me every day on a dozen sites.

The solution is to build a super stream for each user that truly reflects his or her interests.

3. Keep community posts out of Explore and What's Hot streams

Google+ communities are great. Maybe too great, in fact.

I'm a member of (or moderate) 54 communities, and it's far more than I can keep up with, even if using Google+ was my full-time job.

That's why it's vexing to see that so many of the interesting posts in the Explore and What's Hot streams are from communities I don't belong to.

Whenever I go to engage with these communities with comments, I'm told with a pop-up message that "You must join this community to comment." I'm maxed out with communities already, so I end up leaving dissatisfied.

The solution is to show communities in the Explore tab only if I'm already a member. That way, when I choose to engage, I can engage, rather than have my comments turned away and my engagement efforts wasted.

4. Remove or increase limits on circles

I've had exactly 5,000 people circled for probably three years now. (That's the limit on Google+ for people with high numbers of followers. Others have an even lower limit.)

Google+ has an amazing "Suggestions" page where Google offers people to circle. Many of those people are acquaintances or even friends that I desperately want to circle. But in order to do so, I have to slog through all my other circles looking for people to cut. It's time-consuming and frustrating. But the worst part is that I would engage with more people if I could circle them.

Engagement on business pages is probably low on Google+, but I uncircled all those pages on Google+ long ago because of the limit. I've uncircled colleagues. I've uncircled really interesting users.

If Google wants more engagement, why is it forcing me to uncircle so many people and pages? Why is it suppressing engagement in this way?

The solution is to eliminate or increase the limit on circling users and pages.

5. Bring back the hands-free stream

The first version of Google+ automatically refreshed. So you could open a search or a stream, put the open window to one side of your desktop and just watch the content go by all day. A redesign ended this feature, and now you have to manually refresh in order to update content on any search or stream.


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