They say if you love something, you should set it free. Google never got the message, it appears, as the search giant has launched a massive redesign to its social network and digital tumbleweed factory Google+.
Google announced the overhaul to its social platform back in November, but has just started rolling out the renovated version of Google+ to all users. It's expected to show up over the next few days when users sign into the platform—assuming that there are people who do such a thing.
It's likely been so long since you logged into your Google+ account that you won't even remember what the old version of it looked like. But if you're especially fond of that old skin, you can still toggle back to it—at least for the time being.
The new and theoretically improved version of Google+ places new emphasis on Communities and Collections. Communities, which launched back in 2012, are essentially groups that are built around a specific topic. Meanwhile, Collections is a sort of Pinterest knock off that organizes a user's posts about particular subjects.
According to Google, the redesign has given new life to the platform. Google product manager Danielle Buckley wrote in a post on Google+ that the company has seen twice as many Collections followed per day and 1.6 million daily new Community joins since the soft launch in November.
That's good news for Google, perhaps, but it's likely not enough to make the social network a place where people willingly spend their time.
According to a Google+ user identified as Edward Moribus, only 0.3 percent of all Google+ profiles—or just 6.6 million users–had publicly posted on Google+ in January 2015. He also found that of the over two billion Google+ profiles in existence, just nine percent of users had shared any publicly-posted content at all.
Google+ isn't the only social network struggling to get its users to post; Facebook reportedly has seen a considerable drop off in user generated content being shared on the platform this year. But Facebook at least knows what it is; Google has stripped Google+ of most of its identity.
At one point, users were required to create a Google+ account to leave comments on YouTube in Google's short-lived attempt to civilize the comment section. Then it dropped that idea. The best part of Google+, the one thing that kept users coming back, was its Photos feature, which Google eventually spun off into its own standalone app.
Now Google+ is a weird mashup of Facebook Groups and Pinterest, which is definitely a thing. Is it a good thing? Who knows! You'll have to login to find out.