There’s been plenty written in the past few weeks about the supposed death of Google+. However, if we treat the winding-down of the social network as a refocusing on the limited things it’s good at, there may be a reason to watch what’s happening.
I know that for most of us, Google+ just makes us roll our eyes and weep over the bafflement we’ve been caused when trying to set up business pages for our companies, and the problems we’ve encountered when we find we’ve got several of the damned things.
But these pages aren’t Google+. They’re Google’s business page services (or ‘Places’, ‘Local’, ‘My Business’, etc). Google+ was the incomprehensible method of managing all of these, as well as the provider of Google+ pages which everybody got but nobody wanted. And several other things too. All this is now on the way out, although that won’t help the biggest problem many of us have, which is how to access the many conflicting business page accounts we appear to own, in order to change them.
What Google is now going to do, I think, will be to focus Google+ as being a social network based on shared interests. Now, you may be thinking: “but there’s already a blue widgets discussion group on Facebook or LinkedIn”, but groups like this are not necessarily very well implemented there. There’s room do do it better, perhaps even as well as CompuServe was doing it in 1995. I’m not sure that Google+ will be the one to do it, given Google’s track record, but keep an eye open.