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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+.

I need a social stream running on my desktop to keep up with breaking news. So now I use Twitter via Tweetbot for an auto-updating stream. Taking my eyes off Google+ for most of the day has decreased my engagement on Google+.

The solution is to bring back the auto-refreshing stream.

6. Make public posts the default, and make it clear

Google+ posts have to be explicitly "addressed." In order for a post to happen, you have to enter a person or a circle or "Public" or "Extended circles" into the "To" box. (Extended circles means the post may be delivered to everyone in your circles and be passively visible on your profile to everyone in your circles' circles.)

However you addressed your last post becomes the default on the next post. So if your post went to your "Family" circle, your next one will, too, if you don't actively change the addressing.

Many novice Google+ users I know post privately but they think they post publicly. They send their posts to hardly anyone, then wonder why they're not getting engagement.

The solution is for "Public" to be the default addressing unless changed, and for that to be made clear to users.

7. Create a 'Twitter' view

Most Twitter posts are either trivial quips or links to content elsewhere. Another trend of late is the posting of screenshots filled with text as a way to get around Twitter's 140-character limit.

The truth is that people love the limit as users, because it doesn't overwhelm them with content, as Google+ can. Yet that limit is in reality just an interface. It's a short blurb, but by clicking the rest of the post or story, content appears on screen.

Why can't Google+ do that?

I use a service called Friends+Me to auto-post my Google+ posts to Twitter. And the results are perfect. Twitter gets only the headline of my post, plus a link back to the Google+ post where all are invited to participate in the conversation.

As a result, I tend to view Twitter as an extension or feature of Google+.

The solution is to offer a "Twitter view" showing only the first line of a post, with a link or a drop-down to uncover the rest of the post.

8. Simplify Hangouts On Air, and make it mobile

Everybody's talking about the live-streaming trend, which first became a "thing" with YouNow for kids a year ago, and with Meerkat and Periscope for adults a month ago.

Fact is, Google had higher-quality live streaming three years ago when it launched Hangouts On Air. But it never made Hangouts On Air simple to use. And it never made it mobile.


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