back to article Page won't show his ring to prove Google+ 'engagement'

Mountain View is still struggling to explain exactly how many of the people who have at least signed in once to its social network are actually sticking around and sharing posts with other users. The company saw its shares tank yesterday, after its financial results surprisingly underperformed Wall Street expectations. Google …


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  1. Andrew Norton

    First step to improve engagement

    Would be to have a way to automatically add content.

    When I have to always manually go and add content then often I forget, facebook and twitter get the content automatically, and within 15 minutes of the site getting it, which means the page followers get the stuff soon, so they can discuss it.

    That's why the Facebook page has 13337 fans, and the G+ page has... 163.

    Google's push to try and make it have 'personal' content means that they want people to create stuff just for them, and who has time for that, when it's such a small audience? A typical auto-post on facebook shows that between 80-110 people are 'talking about' each of the auto-posted entries. So I think it's Google's mindset that's the issue.

    1. dotdavid
      Thumb Up


      I'd come to Google+ to respond to people commenting on my posts (like they used to do with Reader shared items... happy days) but there's too much noise-to-signal on Google+ for me to visit more than once or twice a week at the moment.

      That said I'm one of those weirdos who quite liked Buzz, so perhaps not typical!

  2. Bunker_Monkey

    Thats hilarious

    I have just deleted mine!

    So thats actually 90,000,999 now!

    1. Spearchucker Jones

      I can't even be bothered to do THAT

      Created my account a few months ago. Didn't know what to do next. Never signed in again since.

      1. pear


        I now even avoid using gmail as it looks so bad and now just read it via a folder in my hotmail.

  3. petur

    use case

    I'm currently just using this to follow a bunch of things, like I do with rss. It's not because I don't share anything that I'm not an active user...

  4. Jas 1

    The main problem with G+...

    is that everyone I know is on Facebook. :(

    I personally prefer G+, but only 4 people I know are on G+.

    The kids seem stuck with whatsapp and facebook even though in my eyes google+ is much more pleasant to use.

    If google could find a way to get my friends to switch, i'd be happier.

    1. Andy Fletcher

      Same here but...

      ...that's not really how it works now is it? The basic premise has to be that the users encourage new users. It's not really a "social network" if the recruitment is done by the company that owns it.

      I'm trying since I closed my FB account, but it's hard as hell to convince even tech types who have a G account already to use it. And yes, I feel slightly dirty doing marketing for Google but my dislike of Facebook overcomes that.

      1. grantmasterflash

        You're talking to the wrong tech types. There's millions of tech people on G+. Look around a bit.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Quality Vs Quantity

      I find the QUALITY of conversation and features on G+ are vastly superior to that of FB, which is basically full of university fucktards and companies trying to sell to university fucktards.

      The media will never grasp this and will only look and fascinate over numbers.

      1. grantmasterflash

        Can I upvote that about a million times? I have more interesting conversations on G+ each day than I do on FB every month. That isn't an exaggeration either. Maybe that isn't what FBers want though. There have been a few Facebookers wander over to G+ and look around before saying "I don't understand all of those big words" before leaving.

    3. grantmasterflash

      I hope the Facebookers don't go to Google+ to be honest. Facebook was a pretty cool place to be until MySpacers went there and ruined it. Most of the tech community is on Google+ and have all but abandoned Facebook. This means there's so many deep interesting conversations going on all day that I can't keep up. FB may have more posts but they're all "OMG have u seen this!!!".

      So please, I know Google wants everyone on G+ but those of us there already don't. Tell the clones "this is the the social network you're looking for".

  5. Martyn 1

    Re: Spearchucker Jones

    Yep, me too!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Signed up, it looked crap, not been on there since.

  7. Craigness

    Have a cow, man!

    How many people on Facebook have shared nothing more than farmville animals in the last week? Google released the stats it did because those are the ones which are important - people using Google products.

    I don't bother with G+ much but when I do it's normally the What's Hot section, which is more engaging than anything on Facebook or Twitter.

  8. jai

    is it much better now then?

    i signed up in the summer, logged in once, really didn't see the point of yet-another-social-network to interact with when everyone i know is on facebook, and all the interesting information comes from Twitter.

    i guess perhaps i'm auto logged in when i hit the google homepage on my laptop? but i don't use any + functions.

    and i suspect that's the exact reason why they don't give more detail on their stats. because it would be "over 91 million sign-ups, but only a dozen people actually use it they way we wish they all would"

  9. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    I'm on both G+ and Facebook

    I don't really like either. But family stuff happens on Facebook, and there are cute photos of nieces and nephews to look at, so I log on every few weeks.

    Meanwhile the tumble weed continues to blow across the empty plains of G+. Even the regular FB gamers and posters that are on both don't bother. The only activity on my G+ page is all the people who share the same last name as me who've gone round collecting their namesakes in their 'I'm a sad bastard' circle...

    In this way Facebook is better. No-one can be my 'friend', unless there's mutual agreement. But with G+, people can list me in their circle whether I like it or not, with no option to block.

    The above may lead people to conclude that the 'social' part of social-networking is my problem. Perhaps us grumpy buggers need some sort of anti-social-network? Could this be a role for the new Register forums?

    1. grantmasterflash

      Taking at least one second to understand something before posting would be a great first step. Just because someone is paying attention to your PUBLIC posts doesn't mean they are in your group. Those same people could be reading your comment here. Does that make you feel uncomfortable?

      If you circle someone then they can see posts to that circle ie. private posts. ONLY people in that circle can see them, same as FB. The difference in FB is that all of your friends and usually their friends too can see what you're posting, commenting on and liking making it difficult to ever know how public your data is. Now with FB defaulting to public posts it's even moreso.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        I only somewhat agree with you

        From memory, doesn't G+ default all posts to both public and searchable on Google? Admittedly that's easy to change. I've had to change privacy settings in FB so often, I've no clue what it defaults to nowadays. Facebook at least wins partially here, in that it's a closed world, so stuff doesn't turn up in normal internet searching.

        I'm fully aware that I can use circles to control where my posts go. And I agree, that's a superior facet of G+. Much easier to control than fiddling around with settings on Facebook.

        However, G+ does shove people in my face, and on my pages, that I have no interest in. The sad name collectors, for example. There may be a way to block them, I've not used it enough to find out. I seem to remember it stuck their postings on my screen as well. Surely the point about a social network is that the relationship should be mutual, or not show up at all.

        If a celeb chooses to have followers, then they should see as much of that as they want, and it should be an active choice. As an ordinary user, I wanted to use it to connect to my friends, and forget about the rest. That seems like it should be sensible default behaviour. Using it as a 'broadcast' platform should be a decision, not a default - otherwise I think sharing should be mutual.

        Also, none of this changes the tumble weed. I'm no guide to what works, I don't really like social networking. But none of my regular FB posting friends seem to like it either, which isn't a good sign.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @I ain't Spartacus

      You're thinking twitter and facebook - G+ is neither! You have the option to control what people can see about you, regardless whether they follow you or not. Which is more live-like than either twitter or facebook.

      But some people either don't get the concept or are too lazy to set their profile, or both.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My mother told me she signed up

    because "Google told her to". She didn't even know what it was and never used it since. She's not on Facebook either.

    Wonder how many of those 90 million have just signed up like my mother, simply because Google makes it increasingly hard not to.

    Maybe they think all these dormant users will eventually come to use their service, but if they're anything like my mother I seriously doubt it.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll gladly show Larry my ring

    he can kiss it if he likes

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All a bit too Invasive for my liking

    Personally, I think for me, Google have reached critical mass in terms of the information they hold on me. I was prepared to go so far and no further.

    I still use search but that's about the limit. I have a GMail account that just collects my spam from various casual logons but use iCloud for my personal mail (and yes, before someone points out that Steve may well be harvesting my data from beyond the grave, my point is that Apple, like Google only get some of my data and likewise for Facebook).

    So, Larry, even if I'm already signed up, I won't be signing up!

  13. CaptainHook

    Googles problem is that GMail is too important to a lot of people.

    I don't use facebook much, but when I do tend to lark about on it and not really worry about the consequences too much because it's just facebook. I view it as a walled garden that I don't care about.

    GMail is used as my 'sensible' communications channel, I don't want to risk either

    1) Google taking offense at something and banning the account along with the email address

    2) Any possibility that stuff from G+ is visible by contacts in GMail, even if only by accident

    Googles attempts at making G+ harder to ignore reinforces my believe that combining sensible and fun portals is just a bad idea.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge


      This is exactly why I deleted my G+ account.

      I have a weird name, and when the shit started with "we delete people when we think they're using a fake name" then I got in there and deleted my account posthaste.

      Failbook, for all it's issues, can't screw over my main email account.

      1. El Presidente

        Main email account ?

        Gmail (then Googlemail - then back to Gmail after the legal issues) was only ever properly useful as a throwaway email service on account that it wasn't @Hotmail or @Yahoo.

        Google+ = 0 ± a Feck ;)

    2. grantmasterflash

      Create a second gmail account and a G+ account associated with that. Was that so hard? *sigh*

  14. El Presidente

    I was mithered to login to Google+ by Google.

    Logged in solely to munge all the "data" google thinks it's collecting on "me" and note for myself how crap and pointless it is before declining to provide any content for it ... then logging out.

  15. nexsphil

    just stop being fucking inept

    Google Wave - a directionless shopping cart of *every single conceivable* "web 2.0" function, presented as a..... as a....... what? a wiki or something?

    Google Buzz - cretinous attempt to compete with Facebook despite having no USP whatsoever, except the very transient (and transparently bogus) privacy edge.

    I'm not going to sit here and type every fucking stupid failure into this box, and nobody wants to read it. So Google - stop thinking up ways 'leverage your gravity in existing markets' and fucking think for yourselves.

  16. Jonas Taylor

    It started well but...

    Google+ is fine as a social network but it's not definitively better than Facebook, nor does it have the userbase. My favourite feature is the Google+ Android app which has an option to automatically uploads all the photos I take on my phone to a private online group, which I can then quickly sort and share with friends - it saves me a lot of time and effort. However, nobody on my friends list posts regularly and neither do I; they're going to have to do a lot to save it stagnating. People initially made a handful of posts but now that has completely stopped. It's no good having 90m+ users if most of them don't even use it much.

    If Google+ is to stand any chance of catching up with Facebook then it needs to add compelling features and a more distinctive interface - currently it's incredibly bland. I signed up simply because of curiosity. But then again, I did the same with Facebook and didn't use it much at all when I first signed up - it took years for me to actually find it compelling. Google needs to play this for the long-term but considering how quickly they shuttered Buzz and Wave I'm really not sure whether they'll give it a decent chance.

    1. grantmasterflash

      If you're waiting for someone to come find you so they can post directly to you have fun with that. It's social NETWORKING. Search for someone you've heard of and circle them. Or even better search for topic you're interested in and circle people who make great posts and/or great comments. Or you could even add any of the millions of public circles out there and you'll have so many interesting posts you won't be able to keep up. There really are a lot of people on it but you can't complain that nobody is asking you to go hang out with them when you're couped up in your apartment.

  17. RISC OS

    I'm one of the users

    ..I joined looked at it for 5 minutes and never signed back in a again. I bet they still include me in that list of 90 million users!

    I don't want to have personalised search results, or find that when I sign in to youtube that I'm signed in to google to. I also don't want to have to have a gmail account. Yahoo kicks arse and looks much better than googlemail.

    Am I the only one who finds that there is nothing really social about social networks?

  18. Samuel Penn
    Thumb Up

    I actually like it...

    Never used Facebook, and got annoyed with Twitter, but I have been using G+ since it was launched (quite a few people in our company got into it early on). There's a large number of science people on there who post some quite interesting articles (rather than the text speak one liners you seem to get on Twitter). There's also some astronomers on there making good use of the hangouts - hooking up telescopes to a video feed and having online discussions about what they're looking at for example. We've also used the hangouts to do multi-way video conferencing at work.

    It doesn't tend to get used so much for communicating with friends (I use email for that), but is more a way of sharing interesting stuff with complete strangers who are interested in the same sort of stuff. In my experience, it's got a good signal to noise ratio (much better than Twitter, which always seemed to be full of posts about what someone was having for lunch) and a decent amount of content. I guess it depends on what you're interested in and who you follow.

    1. Putonghua73

      Re: I actually like it

      I agree, even though tumbleweed is blowing across my account and my circle of friends because they all use FB.

      It's strength - it isn't FB - is also it's weakness. FB is sharing content with friends and family, commenting on inane posts and despite what Zuckerberg would like us have to believe, an easy, unintrusive way to keep in touch with people. Oh. And those who want to play Farmville (or the latest game).

      G+ paradigm is sharing content to build communities beyond one's own i.e. our own immediate friends and family.

      Both are two completely different paradigms. FWIW I prefer the ascetic feel of G+, and I like the concept of circles to segregate content to specific audiences (my Chinese audience may not share my affection for Riko Tachibana - weirdos!). However, I'm really looking for a place more like FB before the changes i.e. somewhere to stay in touch with people, comment on holiday snaps, without FB slurping and re- posting my content or deciding on my behalf how I would like to view content.

      The problem with G+ is that it is a solution looking for a problem that has been solved by tech that has been around for decades in one form or another: bulletin board / forum. Travel? Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forum or TripnAdvisor. For my Chinese, there is a forum. All these dowdy forms of tech already have communitites, with regular posters, sub-communities / sections, etc.

      G+ task is simply bigger than trying to exist alongside FB. It has to convince people that it is a better medium to share content / build communities than the humble forum.

      If we take El Reg as an example, the site reports on news with an IT angle and has various sections - each with their own community ( does anyone use 'sub-cultures' anymore? Or did usage die out with BBS?), commenting on the article (such as I am doing now).

      In this context, G+ is offering us a solution where the vast majority do not see a problem [need]. *

      * I think G+ would be a good communication tool for internal - and external - company communication.

  19. Al Jones

    Anyone used the multi-user video chats?

    That's the only thing in g+ that might make me sign in, but even that hasn't been sufficiently compelling for me to try it out yet.

    1. Samuel Penn
      Thumb Up

      Re: Anyone used the multi-user video chats?

      We've used it for team meetings where it worked very well, and 'Hangouts with Extras' option allows you to share your screen. Unlike our 'official' company meeting software, it worked on Linux and people's tablets.

      People like Fraser Cain organise astronomy hangouts, with someone hooking their webcam up to the Hangout, and a group of astronomers can get together and discuss the view live.

    2. grantmasterflash

      You mean Hangouts? Hangouts are extremely addictive so be careful. You'll find yourself losing 20lbs and growing a beard before you realize you haven't moved in three days because of Hangouts.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks like Google will have many more signups

    Since they now appear to require all new accounts to sign up for Google+

  21. DAN*tastik

    Are +users as illiterate?

    I am creating a basic javascript tool for my site that doesn't allow users to enter posts containing horrors such as " could of ", " you was ", " hisself ", "theirselves" and so on. Yes, I am anal.

    I hadn't logged on to Facebook for a long long time, but then realised it a mine for all the strings I want to filter out.

    If +users can't spell to save their lives either, I could consider joining because it could be useful for my project :)

    1. DAN*tastik

      I meant "It is a mine".

      Thank you.

  22. Ian Johnston Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Just had a look

    I've just logged onto G+ for the first time in months (apparently it's that wee "+firstname" button, top left). What's the point supposed to be? There is absolutely nothing there except the names of a couple of people who I presume are G+ users in my Gmail address book and, well, that's it. I can't see anything to do and I can't see any way of finding anything to do. Oh, I can create a "hangout", apparently, if I want to sound like a loser half my age from Seattle. Which I don't.

    Let's face it. Google have blown this.

    Google+. MySpace without the popularity or content.

  23. Geoffrey Swenson

    I don't get the posters that think nothing is happening on Google+ because I spend a lot of time there. I have a few dozen people in my circle that share common interests in technology and/or politics.

    The one thing that distinguishes Google+ from facebook is that you can find actual posts by searching. This was how I found the core people that led to others, in a process that is still continuing.

    I make at least 20 comments a day and about a post a day. Some of the people I'm following post regularly with things that deeply interest me.

    1. grantmasterflash

      Finally someone who has actually used G+!. I'm amazed that there's a community of people so ignorant of the only 3rd generation social networking site out. They go there thinking that their mothers and nephews are there then sit and wait for someone to show up. Then they leave not even understanding what it was they were looking at. It's amazing.

      It's like deciding they want to go out and have fun so instead of looking in the paper to see what's happening they just go stand on the streetcorner and wait for something to come along and entertain them. When that doesn't happen they declare all the clubs lame. It's weird.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        If that's true, isn't it Google's fault?

        If G+ isn't supposed to be a social network and facebook killer, why does it look like one? If it's supposed to be a repository of interesting people to follow - well isn't that what the internet already is? Perhaps they ought to have made that clearer.

        It's not what I was looking for. As a reluctant FB user, I'd like FB without the creepiness or the spam. My family haven't moved across, so I'm not going to get that. I could go looking on there for interesting stuff, but I can't really be bothered.

        No problem if you're happy with it. But it wouldn't surprise me if Google shut the whole thing down if it fails as a FB killer, even if it succeeds in fulfilling your needs.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I also just deleted mine, and did my best to opt out of adsense in every way possible.

    All empires crumble eventually, FB and Google are no exception.

    Btw Kelly, it's not that interesting that Zuck claimed 4 billion things are shared everyday on FB. Especially when 3.5 billion of them are "lol", .25 billion are new parents putting up pictures of their sprog and the other .25 are people posting links to cats playing the piano on youtube.

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