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Google Plus: The top 10 missing features

Original article

By Jason Hiner | July 19, 2011, 2:00am PDT

There’s a lot to like about Google+ and it has the potential to make a major impact on the future of the Internet. After just two weeks in closed beta, it already has 10 million users.Still, it’s far from perfect. I’ve put together my list of the top 10things Google needs to fix or add in Google+. Take a look at the listand then jump into the discussion and argue with me by adding the fixesthat you think deserve more attention in Google+.

1. Let us mute someone from the Stream

On Google+ it is a lot easier to find friends and people to followthan any social network that has been built so far. And, with Circles,you can divided them into groups and then easily jump between thevarious streams of your Circles. However, there is also the big“Stream,” which aggregates all of the people you have in Circles andthis is the default view you see on Google+. The one feature missinghere is the ability to mute a person from the Stream (while still beingable to see their updates in their Circle). You can mute individualposts from the Stream, but you can’t currently mute a person. This isbadly needed so that you can stay connected to interesting people butnot have the overly chatty people monopolize your Stream.

2. Show list of my +1 items from Google+

The +1 button allows you to gives the thumbs up to really goodGoogle+ posts and updates. However, this should also work like a list offavorites or bookmarks. Right now, there’s no way to see a list of thethings where I have clicked +1. If I go to my profile there is a +1 tab,but that’s the list of external items (from web sites or Google searchresults) where I’ve clicked +1. The items from Google+ itself need to beadded to this list.

3. Fix the share and re-share issue

One of the stickiest issues Google needs to figure out is the Sharefunctionality. If you’re familiar with Twitter, this is like a Retweet(RT). However, when you share a post on Google+, it removes all of thecomments and +1s, allows you to add your own comments above the post,and then your followers can add their own plusses and comments. That canbe pretty cool, except when a bunch of the people you follow all shareand re-share the same post. With the approach Google has taken tosharing, there may not be an easy answer, but something will need to bedone to sort this out, at least for stuff that gets shared more than 2-3times in your stream.

4. Let us sort the stream by raw timeline

By default, the big Stream (and the Circle streams as well) aresorted by relevance and popularity, based on the number of +1 votes andshares, so that the most interesting stuff rises to the top of theStream. However, Google should also give us the option to sort thestream based solely on timestamp, so that we can see the stuff frompeople who post interesting things but don’t have as many followers tobuoy their posts.

5. Allow comments to be threaded

This is an issue of intense debate, but I think Google should allowthreaded commenting on Google+ so that people can comment on and respondto comments, and not just the original post. That would make thethreads a lot easier to follow when they get a lot of comments. And,comments on comments could be collapsed by default and users couldsimply click a plus sign to expand and view them. However, the threadingwould only need to go three layers deep to allow a response and acounterpoint.

6. Add more functionality to mobile

It’simpressive that Google had its Android app for Google+ ready todownload the moment that it launched the “Field Trial” of the newservice, and shortly thereafter itsubmitted an iPhone/iPad app to Apple for approval in the App Store. Even better, the Android app for Google+is veyr well done. However, it’s not perfect and it could make themobile Google+ experience a lot better by adding key functionality —e.g. the ability to +1 a comment, the ability to join a hangout, theability to easily flip between the big stream and circle streams, etc.While they’re at it, Google should add more core functionality to itsHTML app as well. That would be a great way to drive more participationand get a jump on Facebook, which still doesn’t have a great mobileexperience.

7. Open it up to Google Apps users

In order to get into the Google+ beta you need a Gmail address (or a Google Account).It does not currently work for the Google Apps domains, which arebusiness accounts where the company is using a corporate version ofGmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and other Google web apps. Googlehas stated thatGoogle+ pages for businesses and brands are coming soon.Hopefully, Google+ for Google Apps users won’t be far behind. Sincesome people may end up having separate Google+ accounts for personal(Gmail) and business (Google Apps) use, Google should also consideroptions for letting those users log in to both accounts from differenttabs in the Chrome web browser.

8. Integrate private messaging

One of the biggest things Google+ is missing compared to rivalsFacebook and Twitter is the ability to send a private message to amutual contact. Sure, there are a few workarounds and hacks that let youdo it, but Google needs to make this part of the product’s primaryfunctionality. It also wouldn’t hurt to integrate GoogleTalk (instantmessaging) as well.

UPDATE: Google has added a “Send an email” button inGoogle+ profiles. So, you can now send an email to anyone with aGoogle+ profile (by default), even if they don’t have you in one oftheir circles. This is different than private messaging, which I stillthink would be useful.

9. Set up verified accounts

Since there are already celebrities showing up on Google+ — and a lotof people who are impersonating celebrities — Google needs to set upsomething similar to Twitter’s Verified Accounts.Just do a search for “Mark Zuckerberg” or “Lady Gaga” on Google+ andtake a look at how many accounts there are. There are also plenty ofsneaky imposters, like the person who pretended to be Apple’s Jony Ive(the account has been deleted).

10. Show list of interactions with each user

Another useful feature that Google should add is the ability to go toa user’s profile page and see all of that person’s interactions withyou — their +1s and comments on your posts, as well as your +1s andcomments on their posts. This would help figure out if you should add aperson to your Circles, and if so, which Circles you should put them inor add them to.

 When you go to Google+, you can find my profile here.


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