Google Plus or Minus?

I joined the Google+ universe back in July 2011 soon after its launch, when I was completely fed up with Facebook and their constant policy changes. At the time, there was all this buzz about how Google+ was the harbinger of Facebook’s impending decline, and would take over as the social network everyone would migrate to. Well, we all know how that turned out.

I moved platforms mainly because of privacy concerns, and thought there might be some respite with Google. So much for that. Looked like Google+ was an even bigger cause for concern than Facebook. In no time, they managed to automatically integrate Google+ with your entire Google account.

It was incredibly annoying when I couldn’t send Picasa albums anymore without it being linked to my Google+ account.  Why, what was the need? It was such a bad idea that I actually stopped using Picasa web albums altogether after they made this change. All in all, I stopped using Google+ completely because of how intertwined it was with your account information. For anyone deeply entrenched in the Gmail world (like me), it is especially frustrating that they force you to combine your email accounts with your social network. I believe the user should have the choice to integrate or separate their identities, and Google does not give you an option in this case. And this is especially frustrating for me because I have two Gmail accounts: one personal and one professional. That was the main reason I hoped it would function independently. Honestly, the only thing I use it for now is Google Hangout; very nifty for loud, rambunctious family e-reunions.

After leaving in a great big puff of exasperated smoke, I was forced to re-visit it thanks to this class 🙂 It’s got some useful ways of following groups, discussions and posts. Maybe it’s time to dust off the cobwebs and use it to it’s full potential because its also a lot more robust now. I just began to follow TED (an amazing resource for  inspiring/innovative/pathbreaking talks), Brainpickings (curation at its best on a variety of topics related to writing/creative arts/science) and
for the heck of it, Adobe Photoshop, because I’m currently knee-deep in trying to learn CS5.

I got to say if I do begin to use Google+ again, it will probably be halfhearted. I’d be happier using some other aggregating system to keep track of things I’m interested in, that is not so deeply integrated in the Google universe. They follow us enough, without this additional gateway. Ironically, one of the main reasons for its popularity is the fact that it works well with other Google products.

Like it or not though, the growth of Google+ has been tremendous and its definitely got a huge fan base; just minus little old me.

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