Friday, January 17, 2014

Dear Google.

I'm not a software developer, not a coder, I don't even know HTML despite many years of swearing I'd learn it (some day, some day), but I am an avid software consumer, and a designer, and I feel I have some advice to give to you. Yes, I've going to give advice to one of the most successful and powerful software companies in the world.

Here it is.

Make google+ useful WITHOUT the social component, and then the social component will evolve on it's own, with the added benefit of it STILL being useful for people who don't give a damn about facebook OR google+ or the various other social networking sites.

Here's some ideas of how.

Make it replace iGoogle. I loved iGoogle, and was saddened to see it go. I had my e-mail, my weather, my news, my xkcd comic, and several other useful apps all in one place. I could have used it better if it were better designed, or I'd given it more thought, but it did what I needed and there's nothing out there that I like quite as much, especially because they aren't native to google, so my g-mail's a bit kludgy on them. So how about this.

Make my Google+ homepage work like that. Have apps that I can add, things like the much missed Google reader, which have the added advantage of linking right into the Google+ pages of the blogs, zines, and publications which are publishing the content, maybe even make THEIR Google+ profiles flexible enough and user friendly enough that they could easily use Google+ as their primary, or at least close secondary, online distribution venue. How much would you love that? In addition to all the feeds (using tags to tailor them to my interest, in addition to circles to allow me to include or exclude people and organization from different feeds) have apps like weather, taking it straight from your beautiful and useful weather search result app thing, games (Words with friends?) movie times, in other words, all the things you already had in iGoogle. Boom, people suddenly like seeing their social media homepage, and want to set it as their browser homepage, because it's not just a random feed of whatever their 400+ friends happen to have said recently. It could be sorted into categories, filtered, and mixed with decidedly non-social media but even more decidedly useful "apps".

Allow for an increased connection between Blogger and Google+. Currently it's just an option to link your blog to your Google+ account. If you could allow people to merge their blog with their google+, then go ahead and add an extra option of posting a status OR a blog post (or even a blog post with an accompanying status) then limiting the number of characters in a status update, that would be great. Rather than having overly long status updates, it would just automatically make it a blog post, which people could treat differently among the people/organizations they follow.

This is somewhat unrelated to Google+ but would be absolutely wonderful. Allow people to switch google services between accounts. It used to be that people had Gmail, and that was it. Well now they might well have Gmail, YouTube, GooglePlay, Google+, Blogger, and who knows how many other services on ONE ACCOUNT. That is so many places for there to be access, and since access to e-mail is pretty much an all access pass to someones ENTIRE LIFE these days, that's kind of scary/dangerous/annoying. For instance, someone might have a googleplay account they'd like to let their boyfriend access, just as a for instance, but not really give him their Gmail password because that's just kind of intrusive. Well, tough titty you say to the completely hypothetical girlfriend, because that googleplay account is inexorably linked to the Gmail account you set up ages ago and can't possibly abandon because it's your only contact for many people and would be a gigantic hassle. If however they could create a new Google account, one which didn't have any (important) Gmail attached they could use it for all their non essential google services while safeguarding their hyper important personal Gmail account which gives access to, as I said, practically their entire life. Awesome right. And I know you're all about having it all linked up for purposes of getting as much information as possible about every individual but frankly, that's creepy and it's why people are starting to turn on you. Fun bonus, people could create an account JUST FOR YOUTUBE, have it be named whatever they want, and not have their comments turn up with their Google+ page, thus responding in part to the many complaints your recent change to YouTube commenting garnered.

Just a few thoughts, go ahead and contact me if you want me to hash them out more for you, because I really do still like you, and want to see you succeed. My hourly rates for advice are extremely reasonable, and you're extremely rich, so that shouldn't be a deterrent.

With love

No comments: