Five of the Worst Inconsistencies in Google+ and the New Hangouts App

Image Credit Google
Call me OCD (I like to call it CDO, in alphabetical order, the way it should be.), but when it comes to a company like Google, I expect the UI across its products to be consistent and intuitive.

Now, don’t get me wrong, some of the Google products are seriously fantastic in terms of UI. Huge fan of Google Maps, Calendar isn’t bad, and Gmail is a tremendous step up from what was around before it.

However, two of Google’s latest and most important products, Google+ and the “unified” messaging service, Hangouts, are full of weird inconsistencies that I just don’t get. It’s as if, the people who designed them had never used a mobile app or social platform before.

Here are five examples (among others):

5 Posting a Link from Mobile

I literally took a few minutes to decide which of the other weird issues I have with Google+ I would include as the last item on this list. Since I post endless links to my posts and other people’s on Google+, I had to mention that the process of sharing a link on Google+ from mobile, is so very 2002. I have the title and link copied to my clipboard and I want to open the Google+ app, paste it, add my caption, delete the URL after it extracts the image and description, then share it. No can do. I need to close the compose window, click Link, paste the URL, tap on the title it extracts, go back to the Compose window, and continue to write my post. Why can’t Google+ just extract the metadata from the link directly in the Compose window the way Facebook does? If this was too technical, open the iOS app and try to share a link, you will see what I mean instantly.

4 OK, Enough. Where is the API?

Once again, Google is working on this but seriously; Google+ is a platform, right? As in, people are supposed to develop on top of it. So for the love of God, Google, give developers an API so I can access it using 3rd party apps. Help me help you.

3 Isn’t a Social Network Supposed to Support Sharing?

I know for a fact that the Google+ team is working on this issue because they told me so, but how is it that the iOS Google+ app does not allow me to copy the URL of a specific post on Google+ and email or tweet it? All I want is a link. Can’t be done. Yet. You tap on the word “Public” by the post and it pops up a message saying that the post is public. Really? You tap the timestamp but that is not a link to anything. So I try to find the post on the web in mobile Safari, but once again, dead end. Is sharing a post from a social network too much to ask?

2 Unified? What Exactly Does it Unify?

I am going to cut Google some slack here but the whole messaging aspect of the Google portfolio confuses me to no end. Gtalk is great. Then there is the messaging section of the Google+ app. What is that? Where do I find those conversations on the web? Well, Google knew of this inconsistency and so they released Hangouts, the all in one Google messaging app. Except, when I open that app or look at my list on the web that appear in the Hangouts section of Google+, that is a totally different list of people than the list that appears in the GTalk part of Gmail. What gives, Google? Again, I assume these kinks will be worked out, I just hope it happens fast.

1 The Notifications Can Drive a Person Nuts

Many of the points here might be viewed as me nitpicking but when it comes to a good UI, it is the little things that matter. The notifications in general across Google, and specifically the ones in the new Hangouts app, as well as the Google+ app (iOS) are super annoying. Someone new circles me so I see a notification, I tap that notification and what do I see? The name of the person? Nope, the name of the last twenty people who circled me. But I already got a notification for each one of them. Why, Google, Why? I download the new Hangouts app and all of a sudden, I am getting emails (emails?) with all the people who “hung out” (sent me a message on what was once known as Gtalk) with me that day. Did I subscribe to those emails? Nope. How do I unscubscribe? Good luck finding that option in your Google+ settings.
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