July 6th, 2011
Last year, I wrote Some advice for Google about Buzz, and unfortunately Google did not take my advice, and Buzz failed (not saying if they had taken my advice that Buzz would have succeeded, but it might have at least stood a chance). The good thing is they did take some of my advice for Buzz and apply it to Google Plus, by allowing people to start slowly (you just need a Google account, as far as I can tell, not a Gmail address), reducing noise-to-signal ratio (with circles streams), and making privacy settings easy.
But Google Plus is not yet in the clear. I have only one piece of advice for Google at this point for Google Plus: let people sign up already!!!
When the news media first started talking about Google Plus, I signed up for an invite and never got it. Then a friend of mine, who is the social networking master, offered invites on Facebook, and I jumped on it right away. I was able then to invite several other friends before Google clamped down because of “insane demand.”
Look, Google… don’t let this chance pass you by. Right now, Google Plus is getting unanimously glowing reviews in both the tech press and the mainstream press. Everybody loves Google Plus, but Google Plus sucks if no one is using it. I seriously have 12 friends on it, and only about three of them update regularly—doesn’t make for a site I want to come back to often.
So if you really are trying to roll this out carefully, instead of just opening the floodgates and then clamping down on all invites, give each Google Plus user an allotment of two invites per week (invites that actually work). That will be a slow rollout and will play on people’s already existing anticipation.
Be smart, Google. You finally have a good product. If you play your cards right, Google Plus will be a Gmail, Maps, Android, Chrome or Docs (instead of a Buzz, Video Player, or Answers).