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[Updated] Brutally Honest – Spaces is Google+ renamed

Posted in News

Hurray! Google Spaces shuts down this 17th of April, 2017, exactly 11 months after this article was written. Read more.

Google Spaces Shutting Down
Google Spaces Shutting Down

Let’s be brutally honest. Let’s put our personal attachments to Google aside. Let’s call a spade a spade. How about we call Google Spaces Google Plus? How about we introduce Google Plus in a new shell, call it Spaces, then kill Google+ in a few months time? Can we? Why, even Helpouts, if you remember, and a ton others!

UPDATE: How ironic! A Space (right term to use?) has been opened (right term to use?) for this article, on Google Spaces, for everyone living in space. Let’s go join the ‘Spacial’ flight, perhaps it’ll take us somewhere Google+’ish.

I am not here to tell you what you know. I am here to tell you what you don’t know. And what you don’t know is that Google Spaces is the new Google Plus, if not a subset of the latter. I have been using Google+ for a long time now. All the iterations that happened and continue to happen, I am a first-hand witness.

Google Spaces. Smells too much of Google+. Can't you feel the scent?
Google Spaces. Smells too much of Google+. Can’t you feel the scent?

Yesterday, I heard a new product from Google – Spaces. Really? What is it? I hopped onto the official website, and every bullet point there ringed a bell in my head. A bell that did not just ‘sound’ like Google+, but was that of Google+. All I kept asking myself is, Isn’t this Google +? I can hardly see any clear lines between Spaces and +. In fact, how can there be clean lines between two things, if, in reality, there aren’t two things, but one?

Is Spaces an after-April prank from Google?

Google doesn’t seem to know what it wants anymore. They’re big, they have the resources, but the details they readily lack is advancing a product to the stage where it survives and thrives. Can they? I doubt they’ve developed that skill yet, as long as they keep serving bread pieces from the same single parent loaf of bread baked in the same oven, oven made by the same brand.

Please, only ONE

Facebook, is a prime example of what I wanna chip in here for a moment. I don’t like Facebook. I don’t use it for what others use it for. I am strictly on Facebook so that I can get my API keys for OAuth and whatnot, but nothing related to chatting, befriending and ‘friending’ etc.

Facebook has stuck to what it started. Remains at what and how it started. Some major additions and probably deviations here and there. Facebook could have split up some of the features it has today into newer products. Instead, they’ve ensured they build a conglomerate (so to speak) products into one. Call it a one-stop-shop!

That makes sense. Yeah, a one-stop-shop always makes sense. Everyone wins. Storekeeper wins. Customers win. I enter one shop, I get all I want. I’m out. I’m done. The store owner could have split the shops into 50 separate little shops, but why if all their products can be in one, professionally and nicely arranged?

Year of Convergence?

My point? Google is wasting their time and, most importantly, our time. I thought 2016 was a year for Google to also consider the ‘convergence’ approach. Microsoft is going ‘convergence’ (somebody makes a 2016 movie on that word). Same as Ubuntu, although it’s taken Canonical more than 4 years to even proof with a tangible product what they really mean by that.

A case in point is this. I see 7 Google Products, Google says they have 14. This is just a part of their entire collection of products, though.

I see 7 Google Products. Google sees 14. Am I blind?
I see 7 Google Products. Google sees 14. Am I blind?

Am I blind? Why do I see 7? Did my Maths teacher die when I was in Grade 1? For all the questions, the answer is a simple and a firm big no! I have categorized the above list of products into what they actually are. Drive, Docs, Slides, Drawings, Forms, and Sheets are simply a single product. Why? Because they all belong in the realm of documents and forms. Google+ and Hangouts, and the new baby, Spaces, also a single product. Why isn’t Hangouts a part of Google+, so we have Google+, which I use to chat with my friends?

How? Instead of clicking on Sheets, Docs or Drive separately, I have ONE icon. I click on that, my journey to wherever I want to go or wish to do begins. As simple as that. Remember, Facebook! One. One product. Conglomerate, but One. How many links? One! How many apps? One? How many downloads do I have to make? One! How many apps do I update? One!

Question: Then these products will take forever to load (on PC) or download (on smartphones)? No they won’t. Just like I don’t download Sheets, Slides or use them all the time, I won’t use the sub-parts of the ONE app or product from Google or enable them.

This ONE approach might sound brutally unrealistic, but maybe going that extreme helps to paint the picture well. And it is thinking out of the box that “Eureka” happened.

Let’s go to Space, Shall we?

Back to the Spaces app. I am very well sure the Spaces app will be cancelled in less than 5 years time. 5 years? Maybe I’m too generous. You think? People laid down similar deadlines for Google+. Google Plus still exist. Millions use it daily. Duh… So you think Spaces will survive? I say no. Yes? No. Yes? A big No. Why? Google+ from day one, was a solid breed. It wasn’t synthetic. It was authentic. See the rhyme? Google plus, was built for what it was built for and has stood closely to these values many of us have come to love. What values do we see with Spaces at the moment?

What happened to Helpouts? A poorly executed idea is no way going to survive. Spaces are one of them. Helpouts was one of such species. Just because you do have the resources and ability at your disposal doesn’t make a product survive. A product that is likely to stand the test of time is one people love to use. Will I love to use Spaces?

Products survival go beyond just getting me to love it, especially when a company is running two products doing the same thing concurrently. No preaching intended, but Jesus Christ of the Bible said recorded: “You cannot serve two masters”. You cannot have Spaces, which technically is Google plus, running and supporting them all equally. They’re the same. Unless, a big, Unless you’re planning on killing Google+.

Spaces won’t survive. If it will, then Google + must die. Google+ won’t die? Then Spaces must be squashed. No, they’ll all live? No, they can’t. You can’t be in two or more of your life timelines. You’re either in your past or future or now. You can’t be at both places. That’s what the time continuum explains. Am I right with the time continuum thing? I just love the word, ‘continuum’!

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So, spaces might be the future of Google+. Google+ is now, so Spaces, you don’t exist. Google+ dies, Spaces, you’re welcome. Until that, let’s see what is really happening, according to the official Spaces website:

All the features Spaces promises to add to our lives are already available and well-tested in Google+. Sharing, Collections, Communities, Comments, etc. These are but a few of the many amazing features of Google+.

So who exactly at Google pushed forward for Spaces? Of course, a few might be fooled by the new Spaces interface, but many don’t, including me. Spaces isn’t just reinventing the wheel. Spaces is the wheel. And wheel has always been Google+. So in a way, Spaces is Google+, and Google+ is the wheel.

Google Spaces is just Google+ rebranded, slapped with new packaging, and delivered via a different channel. But the bottom line is the same. Don’t be tricked.

Perhaps bigger companies get the feeling not doing anything means they’re not being innovative or lack the edge. In fact, doing something worthwhile can be considered innovative. However, bringing out a product that’s already a product isn’t innovation either. So, it makes way more sense to stick with what works, improve it, then keep making substantial or little but useful iterations to what you’ve got. No need to roll out an old-new product, just because you want something to show at a conference (i/o, I’m looking at you). What’s the point?

Google should be ashamed of themselves, for wasting their time, their devs time (I’ll be happy if I’m a dev there, ‘because doing new things means learning new things, otherwise, duh), and for thinking their users can’t distinguish between a mushroom cluster and a forest.

So, my verdict?

There’s only one direction involved here. Either Google kills G+ for Spaces to survive, or Spaces is sacrificed for Google+ to keep thriving. In either case, one will die. Whichever dies is none of my business, but how foolish it’ll be on the part of Google, to pull the plug on Google+, just to promote a fledgling Spaces. And they should never make the mistake that, by killing Google+, we’re gonna jump trains and join Spaces. That ain’t happening to me, never.

So, long live, either Google+ or Spaces, not both.

UPDATE: At this point, Spaces is way too early for me to cast any failure spell on the platform. Time will tell. At least, 2 years is enough for the platform to evolve. Thou shalt know! In 2 years time. I might be wrong, big time. Maybe I have a point. Who knows. Until then, let’s enjoy what we’ve got, called, Google SpacesPlus!

Fingers crossed!

UPDATE: So it is Google Spaces which eventually lost the battle to Google+.