If Google Cared: The Tool That Could Save Google+ Relationships

Views: 1231

UPDATE (February 4, 2019): Google Users Panic Over Google+ Deletion Emails: Here’s What’s Actually Happening

UPDATE (February 2, 2019): Google’s Google+ Shutdown Emails Are Causing Mass Confusion

– – –

One of the questions I’m being frequently asked these days is specifically what could Google have done differently about their liquidation of Google+, given that a decision to do so was irrevocable. Much of this I’ve discussed in previous posts, including those linked within: “Google Finally Speaks About the G+ Shutdown: Pretty Much Tells Users to Go to Hell” (https://lauren.vortex.com/2019/01/30/google-finally-speaks-about-the-g-shutdown-pretty-much-tells-users-to-go-to-hell).

The G+ shutdown process is replete with ironies. The official Google account on G+ is telling users to follow Google on Google competitors like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. While there are finally some butter bar banners up warning of the shutdown — as I’ve long been calling for — warning emails haven’t yet apparently gone out to most ordinary active G+ users, but some users who had previously deleted their G+ accounts or G+ pages are reportedly receiving emails informing them that Google is no longer honoring their earlier promise to preserve photos uploaded to G+ — download them now or they’ll be crushed like bugs. 

UPDATE (February 1, 2019): Emails with the same basic text as was included in the G+ help page announcement from January 30 regarding the shutdown (reference is at the “Go to Hell” link mentioned above), are FINALLY beginning to go out to current G+ account holders (and apparently, to some people who don’t even recall ever using G+). 

Google is also recommending that you build blogs or use other social media to keep in touch with your G+ followers and friends after G+ shuts down, but has provided no mechanism to help users to do so. And this is a major factor in Google’s user trust failure when it comes to their handling of this entire situation.

G+ makes it intrinsically difficult to reach out to your followers to get contact information for moving forward. You never know which of your regular posts will actually be seen by any given following user, and even trying to do private “+name” messages within G+ often fails because G+ tends to sort similar profile names in inscrutable ways and in limited length lists, often preventing you from ever pulling up the user whom you really want to contact. This gets especially bad when you have a lot of followers, believe me — I’ve battled this many times trying to send a message to an individual follower, often giving up in despair.

I would assert — and I’m not wholly ignorant of how G+ works — that it would be relatively straightforward to offer users a tool that could be used to ask their followers (by follower circles, en masse, etc.) if they wished to stay in contact, and to provide those followers who were interested in doing so, the means to pass back to the original user a URL for a profile on a different social media platform, or an email address, or hell, even a phone number. Since this would be entirely voluntary, there would be no significant data privacy concerns.

Such a tool could be enormously beneficial to current G+ users, by providing them a simple means to help them stay in touch after G+’s demise in a couple of months. And if Google had announced such a tool, such a clear demonstration of concern about their existing users, rather than trying to wipe them off Google’s servers as quickly as possible and with a minimum of effort, this would have gone far toward proactively avoiding the many user trust concerns that have been triggered and exacerbated by Google’s current game plan for eliminating Google+.

That such a migration assistance tool doesn’t exist — which would have done so much good for so many loyal G+ users, among Google’s most fervent advocates until now — unfortunately speaks volumes about how Google really feels about us.

–Lauren–

Google Finally Speaks About the G+ Shutdown: Pretty Much Tells Users to Go to Hell

Views: 3876

UPDATE (February 4, 2019): Google Users Panic Over Google+ Deletion Emails: Here’s What’s Actually Happening

UPDATE (February 2, 2019): Google’s Google+ Shutdown Emails Are Causing Mass Confusion

UPDATE (February 1, 2019): If Google Cared: The Tool That Could Save Google+ Relationships

– – –

For weeks now, I’ve been pounding on Google to get more explicit about their impending shutdown of consumer Google+. What they’ve finally written today on a G+ help page (https://support.google.com/plus/answer/9195133) demonstrates clearly how little that they care about G+ users who have spent years of their lives building up the service, appears to put a lie to key claimed excuses for ending consumer G+, and calls into question the degree to which any consumer or business users of Google should trust the firm’s dedication to any specific services going forward.

The originally announced shutdown date was for August. Then suddenly it was advanced to April (we now know from their new help page post that the official death date is 2 April 2019, though the process of completely deleting everyone from existence may take some months).

The key reasons for the shutdown originally stated by Google were API “security problems” that were obviously blown out of proportion — Google isn’t even mentioning those in their new announcements. Surprise, surprise:

“Given the challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets our consumer users’ expectations, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+. We’re committed to focusing on our enterprise efforts, and will be launching new features purpose-built for businesses.”

Translation: Hey, you’re not paying us anything, bug off!

And as I had anticipated, Google is doing NOTHING to help G+ users stay in touch with each other after the shutdown. In other words, it’s up to you to figure out some way to do it, boys and girls! Now go play on the freeway! Get lost! We just don’t care about you!

Since there’s nothing in Google’s new announcement that contradicts my analysis of this situation in my earlier related posts, I will herewith simply include for reference some of my recent posts related to this topic, for your possible perusal as you see fit.

I’ll note first my post announcing my own private forum that I’ve been forced to create — to try provide a safe home for many of my G+ friends who are being unceremoniously crushed by Google’s betrayal of their trust. Given my very limited resources, creating a new forum at this time was not in my plans, but Google’s shabby treatment of G+ users forced my hand. No matter what else happens in my life, I promise never to treat users of my forum with disrespect and contempt as Google has:

A New Invite-Only Forum for Victims of Google’s Google+ Purge
https://lauren.vortex.com/2019/01/05/a-new-invite-only-forum-for-victims-of-googles-google-purge

And here are some of my related posts regarding the Google+ shutdown fiasco, its impacts on users, and related topics:

Google’s G+ User Trust Betrayal Gets Worse and Worse
https://lauren.vortex.com/2019/01/29/googles-g-user-trust-betrayal-gets-worse-and-worse

An Important Message from “Google” about Google+
https://lauren.vortex.com/2019/01/22/an-important-message-from-google-about-google

Boot to the Head: When You Know that Google Just Doesn’t Care Anymore
https://lauren.vortex.com/2019/01/14/boot-to-the-head-when-you-know-that-google-just-doesnt-care-anymore

Why Google Is Terrified of Its Users
https://lauren.vortex.com/2019/01/06/why-google-is-terrified-of-its-users

Why I No Longer Recommend Google for Many Serious Business Applications
https://lauren.vortex.com/2018/12/20/why-i-no-longer-recommend-google-for-many-serious-business-applications

Can We Trust Google?
https://lauren.vortex.com/2018/12/10/can-we-trust-google

The Death of Google
https://lauren.vortex.com/2018/10/08/the-death-of-google

As Google’s continuing decimation of user trust accelerates, you can count on me having more to say about these situations as we move forward. Take care everyone. Stay strong.

Be seeing you.

–Lauren–

Google’s G+ User Trust Betrayal Gets Worse and Worse

Views: 14243

When I recently posted a parody “Message from Google” regarding the upcoming shutdown of consumer Google+, I did not anticipate the wellspring of reactions from Google users, including those who were not specifically Google+ users.

An Important Message from “Google” about Google+ !
https://lauren.vortex.com/2019/01/22/an-important-message-from-google-about-google

(Google Docs Version: https://lauren.vortex.com/google-plus)

I had anticipated many folks saying that the posting was funny but in key respects depressingly true — which they did — but I did not expect my inbox to be flooded with consumer and business users telling me that they were abandoning Google services or not moving operations to Google, due to Google’s shabby treatment of so many users, and I did not realize that I was going to become the focal point for desperate, loyal G+ users asking me questions that Google has been refusing to answer.

In retrospect I shouldn’t have been surprised. To this day, Google has as far as I know not emailed ordinary G+ users about what’s going on, has no informational banners up about the impending shutdown, and (believe it or not!) is still soliciting for new users to join G+ and spend their time following other users and getting to know a service that Google is about to mercilessly destroy!

It’s remarkable. Unfathomable. Disgraceful.

And the questions. G+ users are sending me their questions:

What happens to all of the external web pages and posts that link to public G+ posts? Google taking down those G+ posts will break vast numbers of non-Google pages around the web.

What happens to sites that have deeply embedded G+ APIs for displaying “Plus” counts, follower boxes, G+ site login integrations, and more? What happens to Google Contacts data integrated from G+?

What is the ultimate fate of the actual G+ posts and related data? Do they all suddenly vanish from public view, from the control of their authors? Will they continue to be used internally by Google for ad system, machine learning, or for other purposes?

The list goes on and on.

Meanwhile, Google is hardly saying anything at all. It’s obvious that they’re treating consumer G+ — and all of its loyal users — as inconvenient pariahs, tossing us all into their dumpster as quickly and unceremoniously as possible.

My inbox is full of users both angry and sad, who loved Google but are now feeling like they’ve been pushed out of a car and directly into the path of steamrollers.

I’ve always tried to help with Google-related problems when I could. But I really don’t know what to say to these jilted users abandoned so callously by Google, because frankly I feel the same way about how Google is mistreating us, and Google has not been forthcoming with explanations, answers, or even believable excuses.

It’s obvious that Google just doesn’t care. And perhaps that’s the saddest part of all.

–Lauren–

Paid “Ad-Free” YouTube Premium Is Now Showing Ads

Views: 4642

UPDATE (March 16, 2019): The ads discussed below as appearing on the Roku YouTube app (even when subscribed to YouTube Premium) have now vanished for me — at least for the moment. I have no word as to whether this is a temporary or more long-term change, whether this was a test that has now terminated, or any other additional information. But I’m definitely glad to see those annoying boxes gone, especially the one that was overlaid on the playing videos themselves.

– – –

I pay for YouTube Premium because — among other things — I don’t want to see ads on videos.

But at least through the popular YouTube Roku app, YouTube is now continuously displaying BUY SEASON ads for some video program clips (complete with purchase price) in a blue box on the video control YouTube Roku app “watch pages” — and even worse, for a period of time (around 10 seconds) as a corner ad box overlay on the running videos themselves. The blue box ad is also present whenever you return to the watch page (e.g., by pausing the video), and the overlay ad appears for the same interval every time you begin running the video again. The overlay ad in particular is extremely annoying.

These ads are also present as a box on the regular web-based YouTube watch pages for these clips — where they are less obtrusive but still are ads on an ostensibly ad-free service.

YouTube Premium is promoted as a paid, ad-free service. The presence of these ads on Premium accounts (especially when overlaid on top of running videos — whether limited to Roku devices or ultimately deployed through other display devices as well) is not acceptable.

–Lauren–

An Important Message from “Google” about Google+ !

Views: 1639

(Google Doc version: https://lauren.vortex.com/google-plus)

Google – “You can count on us!”

An important announcement about Google+

Dear Google+ users,

We have some bad news for you. We hope you’re sitting down. If you’re driving, please pull over safely before reading the remainder of this message.

We know that many of you have built major parts of your lives around Google+, beginning back in 2011. Over the years since, we have encouraged you to share your experiences and photos, to build Communities and Collections. We know that large numbers of you have spent hours every day on G+, and have built up networks of friends with whom you communicate every day on G+.

And we know that in our rush to maximize G+ participation and engagement, we made some pretty poor decisions, like that period where we integrated YouTube comments and G+ posts, requiring YouTube commenters to create G+ accounts — managing to upset both communities in the process. But you know the motto — move fast and break things!

Now we just want to get out from under Google+. And you’re going to be the collateral damage. Please understand that it’s nothing personal. It’s just business.

So we’re shutting down G+. We’ll be shutting it down this coming August, uh April, uh as soon as we can locate the Google+ SRE in charge. We’ve been trying to page them for months but they’re not answering. We’re pretty sure that there’s a G+ control dashboard in our systems somewhere — when we find it we’ll pull the switch and you’ll all be history.

We could yank your chains and claim that killing G+ is all about poor engagement and API problems and whatnot, but we know you’d see through that, and frankly we just don’t want you around anymore. You’re more trouble than you’re worth to a firm that is pivoting ever more toward serving businesses who actually pay us with actual money. Of course, many businesses now claim that they’ve lost faith in us due to our behavior killing services and mistreating users on the consumer side, but we’ll throw them some usage credits and they’ll come around. You can always buy user trust!

The ad business just isn’t what it used to be. We need new users in new places! Governments are breathing down our necks, ad blockers are reducing ad impressions and conversions, and a bunch of would be do-gooders are making a fuss about our plans to set up a censored search engine in China. You know how many Chinese are in China? More than you can count on your fingers and toes, believe us!

And speaking of business, we’ll be continuing G+ over on our enterprise/business products, at least until it becomes inconvenient for us to keep doing so. And before you ask, no, you can’t pay for continued access to consumer G+ or bundle it with Google One, and you can’t have a pony or anything like that. Get this through your heads. You’re not our target users or target demographics. We just don’t care about you.

Now, after we’ve said all that, we hope that you won’t get too upset if we ask for your help in killing off G+ with a minimum of public attention from bloggers and the media.

Since we routinely provide the means for you to download your data from Google, you can download your G+ posts before we drive a stake through the heart of the G+ data center clusters. We don’t know what the hell you’re going to do with that data, since you’re going to lose contact with all your followers and friends you’ve built up over the years on G+, but did you really expect us to bother providing a tool to help you stay in contact with them after G+ is tossed into the dumpster? We recommend that you just forget about those people, like we’re forgetting about you. It’s easy with practice.

Oh, here’s another thing. You might expect that with the shutdown of G+ so close, we wouldn’t still be soliciting for new G+ users, and you might think that we’d have “butter bar” banners up warning users of the shutdown and providing continuing updates. You might expect us to email G+ users about what’s going on.

But, c’mon, you know us better than that. Remember, we just don’t care, so there are no banners, no continuing informational updates, and — get this! — we’re still soliciting for new G+ users to sign up, without so much as giving them a clue that they’re signing up for a service that is “dead man walking” already! The poor ignorant slobs! Pretty funny, huh? And the only users we’ve emailed about the G+ shutdown are at sites using our G+ APIs, which we’re going to start dismantling in late January. It’s going to be quite a show, because that’s going to break vast numbers of websites that made the mistake of deeply embedding G+ APIs into their systems. Hey, to quote “Otter” from “Animal House” — “You f*cked up! You trusted us!”

So it’s up to you all to spread the word about what’s going on, because we’ve got better things to do than dealing with G+ losers. You’re so yesterday!

OK, ’nuff said! We’ve already spent more time on this note than we should have, and talking to you guys isn’t advancing any of our careers. Be glad that we’re posting this in a nice dark font that you can actually read — we could have used “Material Design” and then sat here chuckling, knowing that so many of you would be squinting and getting migraine headaches from trying to read this.

But we’re not cruel. We just don’t care about you. There’s a big difference! Please keep that in mind.

Thanks for being the guinea pigs in our social media experiment that was Google+. Now back to your cages!

Best,

Google, Inc.

 – – –

Lauren Weinstein / lauren.vortex.com / 22 January 2019 / https://plus.google.com/+LaurenWeinstein / https://twitter.com/laurenweinstein