I’ve given Google+ a fair crack of the whip. I wrote a post shortly before my Flickr sub came up for renewal about my decision to give Google a try. I bought extra storage space, signed up for Google+ and began sharing my photos there. But I shan’t any more. I’ve come to the end of the road with G+. At some stage before my $20 sub with Google comes to an end, I’ll delete off all my photos and just go for the $5 pack which gives me the 20 gigs of space – it’s useful for my Androidy stuff.
Why? Where to begin. They’re a silo. Picasa isn’t up to scratch. Picasaweb is ugly and lacks essential features. Google+ was prettier. Then, in a very Googlish way, they updated it. And uglified it. And why on earth do they keep two interfaces (Picasa and Google+) for your photos, with separate functions that force you to switch between them to do different tasks.
The photos sure do upload real quick through the web interface. Really, really quick. Suspiciously quick. I went into Picasaweb today to see if my suspicions were right. They were. It appears that when uploading directly through Google+, your photos are automatically reduced in size. I can’t even begin to describe what a massive fail that is.
Shrink and degrade photos by default?! No program should ever, ever do that. Especially one that is uploading to a paid for service. Maybe I’ve made a mistake, but I can’t see where. And I can’t believe I’d ever have changed the size setting to anything other than maximum resolution. The whole purpose of my using Google is as a back up.
Other photo sites are massively superior to Picasa/Google+. I had a few reservations about the beautiful looking 500px. They lacked an affordable paid plan, no Android app and no ability to create sets. They recently introduced a very affordable ($20) price plan, a fantastic mobile app and the ability to create sets. I love 500px – it’s my portfolio for my better shots. When I have $20 spare, I’ll be signing up. I absolutely love Instagram too. I should be easy to find on there by my username, garydenness. And Flickr, already heads and shoulders above the rest, is at last reinvigorating it’s offering.
I gave Google seven good months to win me over. The result? They’ve reinforced every negative opinion I had of them. There’s a few good products in the Google family. Reader. Chrome. And, of course, Search. Android is ok, in that it has a great App store. Although I’d switch to Windows Phone next time round if they have a more mature eco system. Pretty much everything else they do sucks. Not as in mediocre or sub standard, but as in defective or destructive. Google is the new Microsoft. And, ironically, Microsoft is becoming the new Google.
As for Google+ as a social netwok. Complete random strangers continue to add me at a huge pace. I have more than 2000 followers. I have little to no interest in them, nor do I much care what most of those (outside of the 54 who I’ve added back) think of my content. Quality, not quantity, is king for the average user.
Facebook has Google+ beaten hands down. Facebook is a social network. Google+ is confused. Google knows it too. They keep releasing fantastic figures. Tens of millions of users. And they go on to say what fantastic engagement with Google+ they’re getting. They are actually referring to users who have signed on to Google+ and then use other Google products. In other words, even if I never check into Google+ again for the rest of my life, Google will still count me as an active Google+ user every time I check Gmail, use Reader or search for something. Just a little misleading or a lie?