For your front page, you should make the top blue bar and the side bars fixed so that just the newsfeed is scrollable. This would make it so much easier for people to navigate home, because it is really annoying to have to scroll back up again after spending a good five minutes on perusing the content of my newsfeed.
This would not only be convenient from a usability standpoint, but also turn out to be more useful for you because once you scroll down, the reader isn’t exposed to any ads, and that is probably not a good thing for you.
I also think that the “friends list” function should be an additional drop-down menu at the top of the feed instead of the bottom left so that I can easily read feeds from different lists and post things to different lists. In fact, if you could make it so that the list can be swiped back and forth between different lists (like Tweetdeck) that would be super super awesome.
Dear Google Plus,
You’re doing a really good job with your circles function, but the feed is just too information-heavy. I would really like a condensed version for laptop/desktop because scrolling is a pain in the butt (which is not so much of an issue on tablets). Currently, when I log into Google Plus, I only see one update from Ed Chi that includes a status update, video, and reply that is taking up the entire page. As much as I think that guy is cool, I don’t want him hogging up my entire front page because he is not the only reason I’m using Google Plus. Unlike Tumblr or Pinterest, seeing the breadth of content from different people is more important than seeing the detailed content. Look at the front page of the New York Times. In one beautiful split-second, you have a sense of what’s going on around the world. That’s what I want from the front page of my social network site.
Both you and Facebook are now a major source of social information, but yet you are delivering us information in the most ineffective, linear way, like a very old-fashioned blog.
Okay, you don’t have as many active users as Facebook, but you do have Chrome, and having a browser is such an advantage to you. There are times when you’re doing something and want to share that as a update, but then you have to go to the Google plus site. Why not put a small window in the dashboard that lets you post a status update without having to go to the G+ site? (Kind of like the “tasks” function you have in Gmail). Or why not have a “share it” link that you can put in your Chrome bookmark, kind of like what Pinterest’s “Pin it” or Mendeley’s “Import”? Okay, maybe you already have that function, but if you do, it’s awfull hard to figure that out. Once Facebook creates a “FB it” or “Like it” java script button for browser bookmarks, it won’t be as cool to be the second one who does that.