In a fireside chat held by Google+ engineers, users expressed dissatisfaction with the way the platform forces users to juggle multiple accounts but praised the Hangouts feature.
The accounts issue points to a significant glitch in how Google forces users to link a single Google+ account to a single login, usually from email. As the popularity of Gmail has grown, especially for work accounts, the requirement forces users to have multiple profiles on Google+.
Google staffers, speaking at the company’s developer conference, I/O, acknowledged that the experience using Google+ with multiple accounts was “not good.” On average, the staff said, they had 2.2 accounts apiece.
Users and developers in the audience presented a number of concrete complaints, for which the engineers seemed to have no answer.
“I’m a startup addict so I have multiple accounts. I get people following me in Google+ where I don’t post. My issue is that I can’t consolidate these accounts or send a message that says, hey I’m not active on this account,” said one commenter.
The multiple accounts made his search results less rather than more clear, the user said. The search giant aggressively promotes improved search results as a reason for brands and authors to use Google+.
David Glazer, Google+’s engineering director, suggested a work-around rather than a solution, telling the startup addict to put text in his profile photos that tell users to find him on other Google+ profiles.
Such an approach would not be reflected in search results.
Another commenter complained that he had difficulty adding people to his circles in his Google+ accounts. If he is logged in using one Google ID and comes across a user he’d like to add to his circles in a Google+ account linked to another ID, he had found no good way to do it. Even copying and pasting the user profile’s URL, he was re-directed to his own Google+ homepage, he said.
Glazer asked the room how many users had been burned by this issue in the last week, and nearly everyone in the room indicated they had.
But users offered glowing reviews of Hangouts. Several said Hangouts had transformed the way they did business.
The staff indicated that they, too, relied on the service. Google hosts 20,000 hangouts a day for its own internal purposes, Glazer said. Google broke Hangouts out from Google+ as a free-standing app yesterday.
While Hangouts now continues to work within Google+, Google will slowly stop maintaining it as a feature within the Google+ mobile apps, the panel said.