Google+ is supposed to be different from Facebook because it gives you more control over what you share with whom.
But the company is totally overthinking it, offering options that only geeks (and people with lots of free time to manage their social networks) will use.
Today for instance, it added a new “Ignore” feature.
When somebody adds you to one of their Circles, you now have the option to Ignore them. That means you’ll never see anything they post, but they will still be able to comment on your posts and see what you post.
That’s different from Blocking them, which basically eliminates all interaction.
But Google already solved this problem by giving users separate news feeds. The main “Stream” shows posts from people you have followed — like Twitter (you can also subdivide it into particular cirlces, so you see only posts from Friends, for instance).
The “Incoming” feed shows posts from everybody you’re connected with — including people who are following you, but you’re not following.
So to ignore people you don’t know and don’t want to know, all you have to do is ignore the Incoming feed. Which is probably what 99% of Google+ users do anyway. (Does anybody really want to see a bunch of random stuff from people you don’t know and never followed?)
There’s another scenario that the Ignore button addresses. Say somebody follows you, but you don’t follow them. Every time they mention you, that mention still shows up in your main news Stream. Ignoring them gets rid of those mentions.
Is that really so annoying? Can’t people just…ignore them?
(Better yet, couldn’t Google have made the default behaviour different so that stuff wouldn’t show up in your main Stream unless you asked for it?)
Having all these different options may seem like a great idea to Google engineers who love to optimise everything, including their interactions with other humans. But for mainstream users, it all seems terribly confusing.
And you can’t just ignore the Ignore option — it’s right there in front of your face every time somebody adds you. See for yourself: