Why Google+ is Not the Facebook Killer it Wanted to Be

I just had to block someone else from my Google+ stream.  I think I’ve blocked more than a dozen people in the short few months I’ve been using the service, and I don’t think I have much more than that in my circles all total.

If Google+ was Facebook, this particular person would not have ever ended up in any of my friend’s lists or been allowed to post on my wall or share his political and religious views with me.  If Google+ was Facebook, I’d have gotten a request to allow this person onto my Google+ stream, and I could have chosen to say no.  But Google+ doesn’t give me that option.  Anyone at all can follow me and put me in any circle they’ve created, without asking, without my permission.

This is probably my biggest complaint overall with Google+.  I feel I have a distinct lack of control over who gets to post on my stream, and the only recourse I have is to block them.  I can’t even just kick them out of my stream.  I have to go to the extreme of blocking them completely.  If I’d have just been asked first, I could have decided on a “yes” or “no” to their request to add me without having to have suffered through a dozen or more anti-semitic posts on my stream first.

One of the things I like about Facebook is the ability to keep my wall clean and neat, to only allow a certain type of person to have access to what I say and what I see about them (which in my case is strictly limited to people I’ve actually met in person or have some sort of more-than-passing-acquaintance with).  I am not as likely to see an offensive posting or link since these are people I know and have some connection with.

In the case of Google +, I feel I have no control at all.  I don’t even know how this guy found me, or why he thought I wanted to see what he had to say about people of the Jewish faith.  I have no idea who he is.  Why the heck would Google+ think it was okay for someone like this to have the ability to shove themselves into my online life without any kind of how-do-you-do?

In fact, there is no way (that I’ve found) to keep the random person from just adding you to one of their circles so that you see their posts, however rude and childish.  I have no choice in the matter at all.

Google+ will have its adherents, and it will be popular in its own way, but it will never replace Facebook for me, at least in its current form.  Give me some choice, give me some control about who puts me in their circles, and I might just change my mind.  But for now?  Google+ will remain a fringe product that I use sparingly and only often enough to block more weirdoes from my stream.