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Google+ Drops Ripples Feature; Is It Another Sign Of Doom?
Shutting down post-level analytics could be an indication of further dismantling of Google+ or it could be a sign that it's simplifying the experience.
Google+ has shut down Ripples, cutting off access to its cool though likely little-used consumer analytics feature. Google announced the move Wednesday in a post from its Google+ account:
Starting today, the Ripples feature in Google+ is no longer available. Page owners can continue to get post performance analytics through the Google+ Insights tool, located in the My Business dashboard. Thanks for your support as we continue to make Google+ a simpler, more streamlined experience for all.
At the time it was seen as a visual way for people to track the reach of their posts and see the accounts that had the biggest impact in spreading posts on the network. But Ripples was of limited use for marketers because it was available only on the post level and when Google+ finally rolled out Insights for pages as part of a Google My Business update last June, the feature probably became expendable, despite its popularity among some avid Google+ users. Like one who commented on the Google+ post about the change:
I use Ripples and I don’t even own a “Page” … it’s been very useful for me as I can track down those who’ve shared my post and least give them a +1 as way of saying thanks for resharing, or at least see if an interesting discussion came up from the reshare….. Tough loss on my end
Some might see this news as another sign that Google is de-emphasizing its social network. And the Bloomberg report this week that the Google plans to decouple Photos from Google+ could further support that narrative, which has become the conventional wisdom among tech journalists since Google+’s founding father Vic Gundotra left the company last year.
But there are also signs of that Google hasn’t given up on Google+ as it nears its fourth birthday next month. It kicked off the month by sending its first tweet from the Google Plus Twitter account. And it has stayed active there, a smart marketing tactic for a network that hadn’t been defending itself publicly lately. More importantly, Google+ also launched its first new product feature in many months: Collections, which gives users a way to organize posts by topic and publishers and brands a way topic-based feeds that fans can follow.
So it might be more that Google+ is merely adjusting its focus rather than planning a dismantling. That’s the opinion of Mark Traphagen of Stone Temple Consulting, who wrote in a Google+ post that the key phrase in Wednesday’s announcement is that Google intends “make Google+ a simpler, more streamlined service for all.”
“It seems they got the message that Google+ seemed far too geeky for the average user,” Traphagen wrote.