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    • Years ago, I suggested that Google should rename their Google+ platform after one or another of the big changes they did, like the addition of Collections or the subsequent redesign. My reasoning at the time was that just mentioning the platform's name to someone would lead to yawns, eyes rolling and cheap jokes about the "ghost town" G+ supposedly was - even if the platform itself was (or, in hindsight, could have been) very useful.

      The alternative name I suggested was "Google Streams", based on the fact that they had a VP of Photos and Streams overseeing that group of products at the time. Some of the people I discussed this idea with supported it, while others thought that it would just be a way of admitting defeat while not changing anything.

      Now, half a year after they announced that Google+ would shut down for consumers but stay alive for business users - and just one week(!) after this shutdown actually happened - they announced that they would rename the platform to "Google Currents", a synonym of "Streams":

      I award myself 100 cookie points for that... :D

      Other than that, this revamped version looks as if they had a checklist of everything that was suggested for the consumer version of Google+ over time, only that they decided to implement all of it for someone else instead of their consumer users:
      > bringing back trending topics/hashtags
      > being able to "star" important conversations for a later re-visit
      > bringing back circles and merging them with a simplified Collections feature (here in the form of different "streams" for different groups of people or topics?)
      > being able to sort the main stream and probably all other streams in different ways (the screenshot shows "by relevance", I assume that another option is "chronologically"
      > a one-column stream and generally speaking a layout that looks more like earlier iterations of Google+ than the latest one

      Regarding the last bit, to all Material Design enthusiasts reading this: what do you think about this all-white, no cards, no shadows redesign of the interface?

      Also, I wonder how long it will now take them to add functionality to their now intra-business platform that allows posts between different businesses, and later between businesses and their (consumer account) customers. In the long term, I can see them backpedal somewhat on their shutdown decision, although they probably won't ever admit that and go back to calling Currents a social platform.

    • Interesting. It looks like a competitor to Slack, no? Two things stand out to me:

      1. When Google really gets behind something for the long haul, they build mind-blowing products with astonishing market share: search, maps, gmail, YouTube, Chrome, their ads products...

      Maybe the key to their success is to ruthlessly kill anything that isn't going to get a billion users and near monopoly. Listening to This Week in Tech on a run the other day, one of the panelists said Google kills a product every 9 days on average. I don't remember where that claim comes from but this is interesting:

      There's a whole different mindset when you get to Google's scale compared to being an entrepreneur. To us entrepreneurs, a million or 10 million customers may be nirvana and we will do anything to achieve it, including working insane hours. At Google's scale, 10 million customers is a shrug and a shutdown.

      For example, Yahoo wanted to get rid of Flickr but my family was thrilled to have it and is doing everything it can to love it back to life.

      2. Speaking of love, the love comes through with Slack and all their wonderful writing. You end up loving the product and the people who created it. The page you linked on Currents didn't feel like the old "I'm feeling lucky" days of Google clever writing, or Slack. Was it just me?

    • Interesting. It looks like a competitor to Slack, no?

      I haven't used Slack so I don't have any first-hand experience, but some people claim that Google's new Hangout Chats is something like a competitor to Slack, and that this new Currents is more akin to Facebook's Workplace app.

      Generally speaking, though, all of them are supposed to be mostly online productivity tools for business teams. In Google's case, I really have to wonder if it would really have been so bad to keep some "consumer" users (or those paying for something like Google One: aboard by keeping communication between users in different teams, or between those and individuals, enabled.

      As just one example, I'm using Firebase, Google's "backend as a service" solution, for some of the stuff I build. The Firebase team was one of the few still posting to Google+ until the very end. They have an active Twitter account (@Firebase), and they are using the very outdated Google Groups platform for some of their communication with developers. They are also on Slack and listening to certain keywords on Stack Overflow...

      Now, I imagine that they might be using Currents as their internal communication tool. If their Firebase brand account owned a "Firebase developers" community on Currents that people outside their domain could join to ask related questions, and that perhaps had mailing list functionality, that would replace most of the need for a Google Groups list. If they had a public channel that others could subscribe to, that would replace some of the need for Twitter - and so on.

      Heck, if they don't want to compete in the purely "consumer/free social" space anymore, they could probably even integrate the Social Media Management solution they likely have for in-house use into Currents, and then have all businesses post by schedule to Twitter from their G Suite account, while also publishing their posts on Currents (and perhaps also Posts on Google: at the same time.

      All of that wouldn't help end users looking for a place to share their memes or landscape photos - but I think it would still make Currents appear more viable in the long term, because people would have an incentive to create an account even while they are not part of a business team (freelancers and hobbyists of all sorts), and then might make a case for Currents when they become part of a team.

      I can safely say that, if they offered the above, I would definitely pay for Google One and probably even more than that.

      2. Speaking of love, the love comes through with Slack and all their wonderful writing. You end up loving the product and the people who created it. The page you linked on Currents didn't feel like the old "I'm feeling lucky" days of Google clever writing, or Slack. Was it just me?

      You're right about the tone of this blog post - although it might have to do with the fact that they are specifically not addressing end users ("consumers") but paying customers of their G Suite solution. Do you have an example of Slack's writing?