Software products often fail for various reasons — lack of resources, poor planning, a weak branding strategy, and the list goes on. What contributes to loss most significantly is the failure to fulfil the users’ needs and wants, which in case of Google+ led to a complete shutdown. Launched on June 28, 2011, Google+ offered a way for people to post their photos and status updates on individual feeds. While the concept itself sparked considerable interest in the world community, the product’s ambitions did not lead to success for a few important reasons.
The concept of circles
Because people often think of their social life as circles or groups of best and less close friends, Google+ tried to follow the same approach. While the concept itself was excellent, the execution failed. It was confusing to figure out the entire process of putting people into circles and getting them out of there, as well as that of sharing images and posts. Ironically, despite the fact that Google is known for its innovative solutions and tech-savvy professionals, the tech aspect of Google+ contributed significantly to its failure.
The use of ranking
Google+ decided to use a rank-based presentation which meant content that was supposedly more interesting or important appeared at the top. The big caveat is that the algorithm determine what the noteworthy content was, not the user. Moreover, you could infinitely scroll through the feed which made it extremely hard to find specific photos or posts. Google+ wasn’t exactly user-friendly which in part faciliated its downfall.
Scaling up non-organically
At first, Google+ was meant to grow organically. There were a lot of users who quickly became popular on the platform due to their vibrant and valuable content. The number users was increasing at a solid pace. However, Google+ decided to bring Google users onboard which turned the entire scaling-up strategy into a mess. Each Google user was automatically “enrolled” into the Google+ world, leading to an endless number of accounts that weren’t active and yet still had to be managed by the company. Taking care of such accounts ended up being harder than expected, eventually resulting in fiasco.
Ignoring the feedback
It was revealed that the executive team hardly considered the employees’ feedback that often focused on the features that were lacking on not performing well enough. While customer feedback is hugely important, it’s also crucial to consider what each person on the team has got to bring to the table because collaboration and constant improvement are the main ingredients of a recipe for success, especially in case of a tech product. There are many reasons why tech startups fail. They might not have the proper management or lack the understanding of what customers need and want. Google+ taught the entire world community a big lesson on why it’s important to listen to feedback of your employees, focus on usability of your product, and grow slowly but surely.