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Google +, the new social networking platform from the search giant [See: Google +: The Long Awaited Social Network], launched late last month. Whilst the general mood has been positive, with many people desperate to get an exclusive invite for the Beta version, some users have been experiencing some problems.
Google have had some glitches in the system, and over the weekend they inadvertently sent ‘spam’ to some of their users. This can be quite damaging for the company’s new platform, but will it affect user’s opinions?
The ‘spam’ that was sent over the weekend involves the notification e-mails that are sent when users add you to their ‘circles’ or comments on a post. Unfortunately the same notifications were e-mailed over and over again, causing frustration to some of its users.
One of the main reasons Google + is by invitation only is for Google to get up to speed with the technical side of an evolving social network. When networks expand they need extra hands on deck to make sure everything works correctly, and for Google this spamming glitch signifies they were caught off guard, whilst also justifying the need for a controlled Beta test.
Another way of looking at the way Google have placed a limit on the number of users for their new social network is from a marketing perspective. Exclusivity harbours a desire to have something you don’t have. So have the number of people who gained access to Google+ surprised the big wigs at Google HQ? Well it looks that way; and according to one analyst, Paul Allen, Google+ already has 4.5 million users, possibly more.
Nevertheless, this is something that could have been avoided; but whilst Google may have been a bit embarrassed, their users didn’t seem to mind, sparing Google’s blushes. User’s opinions on the whole were pretty forgiving; “no worries”, “not a problem”, “you’re doing an awesome job” were just some of the comments on Vic Gundotra’s (Google SVP) blog post apologising for the inconvenience.
However there have been some other issues for the social network amongst its users, in terms of what it’s lacking. For example, the biggest problem is the absence of account verification; so you can’t tell if it’s the official account for your favourite film star, pop star or sports star, something that has huge implications as the network grows.
On the whole Google + has been well received, however as people spend more time experimenting and playing, it’s inevitable that more criticism will surface. Whilst users have been forgiving this time, it may not be the same story if this continues. We shall watch this space.