Some advice for Google about Plus

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).


How to “invite” someone to Google Plus

Note: This procedure has worked for me on 30 June, 2011 and 1 July, 2011. Things are very much in flux at Google with this beta release product, so these instructions may not work later, or there may later be better ways to actually invite people.

Google likes to release new stuff as beta testing and start by inviting just a few people. I think Gmail was in beta for four years or something. Right now, Google Plus is in beta, and it doesn’t really make sense that Google is being stingy with the invites. After all, what’s the point of a social networking site if “no one” is using it? So here is how I’ve invited people.

Step 1

Click on Share in the top-right corner and write something (anything). Below that, paste in the email address of the person you’re trying to invite. Confirm it, and it’ll turn blue. Then click the green Share button.

Step 2

The person who got the “invite” will see an email saying you’ve shared something. That person should click View or comment on so-and-so’s post.

Step 3

This will open up a link in the web browser, and then the person can click on Join Google+.

Step 4

Then the last step is to click Sign In and sign in with a Google account.

That’s it. Please don’t post in the comments begging me to invite you. Beg your friends to read this tutorial instead.


You may get this message saying Google has temporarily exceeded its capacity. If so, just try again later.