Why I left Google+

But it's getting harder to grin and bear it. I've been a happy Google customer product for a long time, because Google tools used to enhance the Internet. But as Google ships "the Google part" of its new Google+ identity, it's breaking the Web it once helped build.

I dumped my Google+ account today. I'm hoping it won't pose problems for my other Google services (Blogger, Youtube, Gmail, etc.).

The last straw was what happened after I created a small album of Christmas photos on the service. The pictures went up, and were posted in an odd order (maybe the order I uploaded them?) which I couldn't find a way to edit. But then, other pictures appeared on my Google+ profile.

I should explain that Google, which runs Google+, also runs a photo-hosting service called Picasa. I have pictures in Picasa, because each time I put pictures in a blog post, like this one, Google hosts those pictures on Picasa. These pictures are semi-public, visible to anyone with the link - something needed for them to appear on Blogger - but not really accessible for browsing.

This morning, after my Christmas album went up on Google+, all these other albums appeared as well. Some showed up as private, visible only to me. Some surprised me by being set as "public", visible to anyone on the web. Many were semi-private. But there they all were. I struggled for awhile trying to figure out who could see what. I tried to learn how - and if - I could adjust my Google+ photo privacy settings without breaking the link between Picasa and Blogger. Failing at that, I tried to find some way to hide or turn off my Google+ photo tab altogether... and then I got fed up.

I don't want to have to do this. I don't want to worry. Not for the likes of Google+, anyway.

There isn't much reason for me to be on Google+. It isn't bringing anymore traffic to my blog, and doesn't aid in blogging.  (Itself, it is a poor blogging tool: I'd rather use Blogger.) My friends and family share on Facebook, so it doesn't help with that sort of keeping in touch. The Facebook-like Google+ newsfeed is clumsy and hard to scale - it doesn't compare to how Twitter uses brief text-posts to keep me up-to-date with my community and local news outlets.

By the way, one of the nicest things about Facebook - which seriously doesn't have that many nice things - is its ability to show you what your page or profile looks like to someone else. Show me what my profile looks like to my mom, or my boss, or a complete stranger, you can say, and it will. That's a great feature for controlling who sees what.

Google+ didn't offer that, or much else of value. What it was offering was yet another opportunity for some sort of privacy error or web-gaffe. Share once, share forever is a bad plan. Google+ is just too clumsy, big and powerful.

I'm just hoping I've made it out with my email, blog and Youtube accounts intact.


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