Back in March, Google+ released a number of changes to user profiles, including a radical new look to cover photos - those large images at the top of our profile pages. They got bigger. A lot bigger. So big that you had to scroll down to see the meat of your profile, or scroll up to see the whole image. Some users loved them, but many users hated them and felt them to be unwieldy.
So, we're changing again.
Back in the 1800’s, settlers began streaming West in hopes of finding land and prospects for a better life. They often passed through my own St. Louis before embarking in various directions. In 1844, one of these settlers, a 34-year old man named James Marshall from New Jersey, had started to farm some land in Missouri along the river, but contracted Malaria. On the advice of his doctor, he packed up and headed further West, all the way to Oregon. That took him about a year, and once he got there, he headed South into California and eventually made it to Sutter’s Fort.
In a recent study by Shareaholic, it was stated that traffic from Google+ is a fraction of that from Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Shareaholic is a social sharing widget, and the report was based on their sharing data from over 200,000 publishers between Sept., 2012 and Sept., 2013.
Earlier this year, a similar report was issued from Gigya.
Google welcomed us into a converted warehouse this morning for coffee, where beautiful photography was on display, and was the focus of a series of announcements. Over the past two years, Google+ has seen tremendous growth, now boasting over 540 million acive users (within the past 30 days), and over 1.5 billion photos uploaded each week. As they have throughout these two years, Google continues to implement improvements and new features for the Google+ platform to make it an easier, richer experience for all users.
The technology critics say that because Google+ has not seen the spike that Instagram and Pinterest have, it will never be a true social media powerhouse. Social media nomads jump on for an hour, a day, or a week and try it out, do not get the same results that they do on Twitter or Facebook, chalk it up to Google+ being in the wrong, and leave their account vacant. Casual users go on Google+, look for their friends, only to find no one, and say they won't join till their friends are on Google+.
Obviously, Google+ must be a ghost town.