Still using Google+? Going, going, gone

Still using Google+? Going, going, gone

Google+ logo

Are you still using Google+? Hopefully you received the note about it’s pending demise.  Google is putting an end to their social media experiment on April 2nd.  G+ has limped along for years, never really taking off with the public. Forbes magazine ran an article back in 2015 titled Five Reasons Why Google+ Died. It’s taken another 4 years for Alphabet to bury the corpse. 

Google Plus, the company’s social network, is like a ghost town. Want to see your old roommate’s baby or post your vacation status? Chances are, you’ll use Facebook instead. Feb 14 2014 The Plus in Google Plus? It’s Mostly for Google by Claire Cain Miller behind a NYT paywall article. 

The New York Times was right. People may have signed up for an account, but they weren’t visiting it on a regular basis, like they do Instagram or Facebook – people just didn’t take to the platform. I played around with Google+ for a bit but quickly gave up because it was just too messy to work with. I didn’t enjoy posting or looking for new material. And quite frankly it was more bother than it was worth. I saw very little return for my effort. 

So what does this mean?

1 – If you have a lot of photos on your G+ page, think about  moving them to a safe place because they will be deleted after April 2. Google will allow you to download & save your content  prior to the close date – see this article for help Download your Google+ data.

NOTE:  photos stored on Google Photos will not be affected. This is a separate entity.

2 – Using Google+ to sign in will no longer be an option after April. Any + sign-in button will become non functional. Google will be replacing the feature with a basic Google sign-in option. 

3 – Comments will vanish. Sorry folks, but any comments you left while signed in with your Google+ account will simply go away. This is already happening on Blogger sites, so if you are a Blogger user and start seeing comments disappearing, this is the likely culprit. 

If you missed the email notification, visit the Google page Shutting down Google+ for consumer (personal) accounts on April 2, 2019

** Evidently some people think Gmail accounts will be closed. This only affects Google+, the social media platform. It will not touch Gmail, Google drive, Blogger, or Google Photos. 

Google’s staggeringly ill thought out April’s Fool prank

Google’s staggeringly ill thought out April’s Fool prank

I’m not a fan of April Fool’s. I find the entire concept contrived and tired. Very rarely are the jokes amusing and they often seem to be built around the concept of embarrassing people.

Someone in the Google Empire thought it would be a brilliant idea to put a fake Send button onto Gmail accounts. People who tapped it, sent off a joke gif called Minion mic drop instead. So potentially, that important client or crabby assed boss received an animated gif instead of your report. Ha ha, right? There are reports a person losing their job, job interview acknowledgements not delivered and some contracts jeopardised. I believe this has happened.  I’ve dealt with pain in the ass employers who fired people with little provocation. I’ve also dealt with employees so harried, they may not have noticed anything different on their screen and would have tapped the button without hesitation. You don’t expect a corporation like Google to screw around with something as essential as a Send button.

Google pulled the button and issued a statement today saying a bug in the system went awry causing the problems.

Google apology for badly thought out prank

I disagree. A bug may very well have been an issue, but the real flaw lays with the people who authorised the prank. I think Google forgot how many people use their email for business and this type of email hijacking would never be appreciated. Prank the main page or the search engine, but don’t tamper with email – never ever prank a person’s email program.

According to Google, users were warned about the pending prank by way of a message when the user logged on.  The big problem with this is not everyone reads the endless stream of crap messages that float by their email.  Users may very well have dismissed the message, intending to read it when they had time.

The other irksome thing about this is the claim people could use the “undo send” feature. Again, um .. no… that’s not a solution. The sender has to be aware their email was hijacked and it’s time limited. By the time most were aware of the issue, it was too late.

Next year Google, leave essential services alone.

End of the line for the much loved Picasa

End of the line for the much loved Picasa

logo picasa Google announced February 12, 2016 that it will be killing Picasa, the much loved, user friendly photo management program.  It’s being retired sometime this spring, in favour of Google Photos, their online offering. You can download an app to auto upload your photos to Google Photos but you still have to edit on line. It’s all fine storing on the web, but if you have a largish image, it’s a major pain in the ass editing via your browser. After March 15, 2016, Google will no longer be supporting or updating the program and will no longer offer it for download.

Picasa was brilliant in it’s simplicity.  It allowed for some great edits right on the computer with no need to upload anything. I find the newer Google Photos editing a bit clumsy and irksome. It lacks the depth of tools Picasa has and the great ability to create slide shows and share them with none Google users.  It does have a button to create animation, which creates a poor man’s slideshow with no way to package and send it. You can share it, by giving access to the album, but you can’t pop it on a usb drive and take it with you.

What got under my skin the quickest is the irritating infinite scrolling design. This is a popular trend in web design I wish would die a grisly death. I loath having to scroll scroll scroll to find something, then scroll scroll scroll to go back to where I was. Worse still? When I scroll half way down my albums, a glitch pops me back to the top when I hit a large file. I discovered if I grab the slide bar on the side and quickly move to the album below the large image, I can scroll up to the photo I wanted to look at.  Not very useful.

You can switch to Collections or Albums, which by-passes infinite scroll, but it’s not much better. Everything is  crammed together on the screen, with no borders to distinguish where a image begins and ends. It’s not visually appealing or easy to view.

The roll outs for Google Photos will occure over the coming months.  Hopefully, the underwhelming edit tools will improve. On the positive side, if you were a Picasa Web Album user, you can continue to use it. Google isn’t going to pull the plug on it.  So all that hard work editing them and cataloguing them won’t go to waste.  You can also continue using Picasa if you have it installed (or downloaded prior to March 16).

If you don’t like the idea of loading all your photos up to a cloud server, and more importantly, don’t want to pay for extra space, you have options. Most modern operating systems have a decent built in photo editor.  Mac’s iPhoto and Windows 10 Photos both do an excellent job. As stated earlier, you can use Picasa as well, it won’t suddenly cease operating.  Or you can download any of the numerous free apps out there, including one of the best Fotor for editing.

iPhoto is also an excellent program for sorting photos into albums, something Win 10 recently added.  After poking Photos Album features with a big stick for awhile, I’m surprised by how much I like it.  It’s easy to sort, move and find similar photos using the built in features.

So if you aren’t keen on storing your life on a cloud server, there are alternatives.

Check out:

One of my go to apps when I’m in a hurry – Fotor http://www.fotor.com/ app for iPhone, Android, Windows and Mac.

If you are looking for something with a bit more umph than the built in tools,  look at Adobe Photoshop Elements. Not free, but worth the money.  https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop-elements/tutorials.html