Google+: What the critics are saying

Building a new social network isn't easy. Google+ is rating a variety of criticisms across the Internet.

Whether Google says so or not, Google+ is a direct shot at Facebook, a social networking project that attempts, from the ground up, to let users control who sees what. But building a new social network in the Facebook era isn't easy--even for Google--so it's not surprising that experts and critics are at once excited and skeptical.

If you have no idea what Google+ is, check out PCWorld's hands-on impressions and list of notable features. Otherwise, here's a rundown of what people are saying so far about Google+:

Feeling the Love

Here at PCWorld, Megan Geuss and Mark Sullivan were impressed with the service. "Google wants "Google+" to rival its number one arch nemesis--Facebook, and by the looks of things the search giant may have a fighting chance," they wrote, but wondered whether Google can succeed at pulling people away from Facebook.

The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones came to a similar conclusion:

"As for me, I've enjoyed the couple of hours I've spent on this new network--but I'm not convinced I will be spending a lot more time there until I can be sure of finding the same stream of news, gossip, fun and trivia that I now experience on Facebook and Twitter," he wrote.

TechCrunch's MG Siegler likes Google+ enough to keep using it:

"Overall, I'm impressed by Google+ after day one," he wrote. "Of course, like many, I also had fairly low expectations of anything Google tried to do in the social sphere after Wave and Buzz. Still, I used Google+ for hours and kept coming back. And I have a desire to come back tomorrow. That's never a bad thing."

Siegler noted that many aspects of Google+ still need work. The Circles concept, in which users drop their contacts into big categories like "Friends" and "Family," makes sense, but it's not always clear who sees what, especially when random people start commenting on something you've shared with a friend, he said.

Over at GigaOM, Om Malik doesn't see a threat to Facebook in Google+, but says it could be a danger to other messaging and communication services. The "Hangout" video chat feature in Google+, which supports up to 10 users, he said, could be devastating to Skype. "I personally think Skype Video can easily be brought to its knees by Google Plus' Hangout," he wrote. "And even if Google+ fails, Google could easily make Hangout part of the Google office offering."

Not Feeling the Love

For starters, Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land doesn't like the name:

"Google+? Google+! I can't even question or exclaim about the bad name without it looking bad in writing," he writes. "Seriously, I'm cursing whoever made the final decision to go with Google+ as a name. Wasn't the Google +1 sharing service bad enough?"

Meanwhile, user interface designer UXBoy noticed how similar to Facebook the Google+ interface looks. He placed them side-by-side, so you can judge for yourself.

Dave Winer of Scripting News isn't pulling punches. In a blog post titled "Google Yawn," he dismisses Google+ as the product of a "huge scared angry corporation," "designed to meet the needs of the corporation that created it."

"The thing that makes Facebook great is that it incubated in the market with real users," Winer wrote. "It was made by real users. It was formed by actual use. One day at a time, one feature at a time, in public, every home run visible, and every mis-step."

Over at ZDNet, Andrew Nusca warns against the whole idea of reading social network reviews in the first place (ahem), noting that these same experts praised Google Buzz as a game-changer and a practical tool--shortly before the status update service faded into obscurity.

"So when it comes out, give it a shot. Decide for yourself. Then ask yourself why you'd need to read a review about a social networking service in the first place," he writes.

Follow Jared on Facebook and Twitter for even more tech news and commentary.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesGooglesocial networkssocial mediainternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?