Google+ got a redesign two months ago. It’s nice, I have no major complaints about the new look (except for the huge whitespace beneath the aside portrait/info, but that’s more aestetic than usability).
However, I do have a major complaint about the fundamental functionality. The problem with G+ is that you can’t fine-tune the signal:noise ratio enough.
In a nutshell, Facebook is a network of people I know first IRL, so getting pictures of their dinner last night or latest cat’s antics and other useless stuff I can sort of live with, it goes with the territory.
But G+ is more like Twitter with longer posts - I follow a a lot of people I don’t know IRL, but only because of a shared interest, and I’m only interested in their posts on that interest, not the other noise.
Whereas pointless posts on Twitter are only 140 characters, don’t take up much screen real estate, and are easy to skim and/or skip, that’s less the case with G+. I really want a way in G+ to filter out posts by those people that don’t have anything to do with the shared interest.
For example, if I create a “Functional Programming” circle and subscribe to a bunch of Haskell, Ocaml, ML, Lisp, and Scheme programmers that I don’t know IRL, I’m really not interested in their vacation photos and whatnot. But currently there’s no way to filter their vacation photo posts from their posts on functional programming.
An effective 90% solution would be to simply add hash tag filtering to circles, so I can instruct my Functional Programming circle to only accept posts with #functional, #functionalprogramming, #haskell, #ocaml, #ml, #lisp, #scheme, and block anything else without at least one of those hash tags in it.
Not quite perfect, and G+’ers would have to develop the habbit of using hashtags more than they currently do, but it’s functional and flexible enough and provides the tools necessary for the community to solve this problem themselves.
This is my biggest G+ pain point, and while I have nothing negative to say about this redesign, as long as it doesn’t solve this one problem, it will do nothing to get me using G+ more.