What should be the strategy of Google for Google+? Feb’13
This strategy is presented with Facebook in mind.
Facebook’s key advantage is the User Interface (apart from Users), both on web and mobile. By User Interface, I don’t mean to say good looking or bad looking. In fact, like many people, I agree G+ is better looking than facebook. However, there are some key elements where Google has got it seriously wrong despite what people keep claiming.
Let’s start with where Google got it absolutely right - Google Chrome. (See the image below)
In the world of Toolbars, Bookmarks, navigation bars, Chrome liberated valuable space for the websites.
But, then Google got greedy and it took even more of it back. See below:
These two bars hover over all Google properties serving little to no purpose (giving a false sense of integration of Google products). I see it as not being any different from the days of Internet explorer, toolbars, bookmarks, all for the “rare” convenience.
And with laptops being more prominent than desktops, this is what we see of G+ in the most popular screen resolution: 1366 x 768
All unnecessary, useless clutter. All important useful data (the whole purpose of a Social Network) available in a small window. Now, compare that with Facebook:
There is clutter, but all important info is at the center. Fonts “lucida grande size 11px”, I believe play a very important part to allow smaller yet readable fonts, allowing more content to appear at once. Google uses mighty “Arial size 13px”. Huge margins and huge fonts show very little in already cramped real estate.
And the way Facebook has implemented its new search bar, it competes with omnibox for search attention. A better solution than Google’s in your face search box.
I believe Google missed a very big opportunity with Mobile. It could have launched Google+ as a mobile only feature and made it fantastic from day 1. It would have caught Facebook unawares and would have killed Facebook by now. Facebook apps on iOS and Android were crap for a lot of time, but alas it is too late for Google+ however beautiful the current G+ app is.
So the following should be the strategy of Google for G+:
- Remove the black bar entirely. No compromise. If I am doing G+, I don’t suddenly want to go to “News”. Even if I want, I am just an omnibar away. (It adds confusion in Google search as well, there that toolbar is duplicated just above search results.)
- Remove all the clutter from the User Interface. Make information available at the center. Remove unnecessary margins.
- Make things smaller so that more can fit in smaller area: Smaller Fonts, Videos, Thumbnails. etc.
- Take a leaf from Chrome and recent iOS apps like Google Maps.
- Even current YouTube redesign is along these lines. (Though it could still be better)
- Maybe pare down some features. It tries to do too many things. Focus on things that work: Hangouts and status updates
- Android has the market share. Now, make use of it to provide an incomparable experience on Mobile.