This Is Just Getting Sad, Larry: Google's Latest Effort to Prop Up Google+

By Sarah Lacy , written on February 20, 2012

From The News Desk

Google continues to scorch everything it once considered sacred in the name of propping up the most successful social media site that no one I know actually uses. (Yes, other than you, Scoble.)

Danny Sullivan wrote a great piece yesterday about Google now pimping out Google+ on its famously spartan home page. Sullivan explains why this is such a departure for Google. Sure, teasers for other Google services have crept into the homepage over the years as Google has desperately sought to diversify a revenue stream too dependent on paid search  matured.

But those teasers all took you away from the home page. This is the first thing that has allowed you to transact within the homepage like search. And it's not just on the search page, Google+ is all up in your Google related business. Even in your Gmail.

Sullivan is pretty negative on the move, calling it "intrusive" and a huge departure for Google. The widget on the search page doesn't bother me nearly as much as Google mucking with my search results. But the intrusion into Gmail is concerning. That feels like my space. It worries me what other things Google might do to my Gmail to prop up lame products. It's probably the first thing that's made me consider leaving Gmail. Not enough that I actually will, to be honest. But we're getting close.

Google clearly doesn't care what I think, but it should pay attention to Sullivan. He's probably the savviest blogger on Google and one who tends to cut the search giant some slack.

But Google won't. Page doesn't care. He is Bill-Gates-like hell bent on Google having a horse in the social race, about six years too late to the party. He will use the brute force of all Google properties that are successful to prop up this well-designed social network that captured early adopters' attention for a few months before going the way of FriendFeed. It's not you, Google+, it's us. We simply don't need another social network, no matter how great your circles are or how badly Larry Page wants to have one. 

And outsiders-- even those who are generally pro-Google like Sullivan and John Battelle-- will just continue to wince on the sidelines as Page kills the credibility of one of the best technology companies in history.

People used to always joke that Eric Schmidt was merely the "adult supervision" who wasn't responsible for much of Google's success. But now that he's gone and Page is in charge, it's becoming apparent how important that adult supervision was.