Google wants to be your first and last destination on the Internet. The company wants to do this under a common brand, common theme, and common style. AOL did this. No one has gotten the one-stop-shop Internet portal right since AOL. Google tried with Google Plus. It’s still trying. Google is failing. The only people who use Google Plus are famous photographers, tech celebrities, and their fans.
The mutated AOL portal model behind Google Plus is doomed to failure in 2014 and beyond. The web doomed AOL by showing us that different people with different ideas working with compatible technologies tend to provide a better experience. This is why everything logs in with Facebook or Twitter. This is why almost every site has sharing widgets. This is why I can send email from my Android tablet and read it on my Kubuntu laptop.
This is why Google became a joke, like Microsoft in the 2000s. An acquisition by Google is as good as a death sentence. Blogger hasn’t seen an update since 2005. YouTube is an awful mess. Gmail is still decent, but Microsoft’s Outlook is promising.
Facebook didn’t meddle in Instagram. Amazon didn’t meddle in IMDB or Goodreads. Microsoft got a little grabby with Skype, but it’s showing restraint. Yahoo added sponsored posts to Tumblr, but didn’t make any fundamental changes. I can’t say the same for a single service acquired by Google. They either die or are grafted on to the lumbering Google Plus monster.