Circles were once the darling of G+ and to some of us they still are!
The uses you can put Google+ circles to are many and varied. That in itself makes them great, but also a bit confusing for anyone other than the most dedicated G+ fans.
Probably the best bit about circles is that it puts the privacy of your posts and your Google+ profile into your hands. You can fine tune your privacy settings in a way that no other network has yet managed to replicate.
Originally shared by Andreas Bartels
In this case, a throwback to where Google+ in my opinion went wrong.
If you have a look at most other videos and other material that Google+ published about Circles (I’ve collected some of them here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJ2oli9EvqS76HiqyX_hASkOLxefZlcfu), you will find that most of them talk about Circles as a good way to model the real-life relation you have with other people for use on this platform.
For example, you would have a “Family” circle to share private holiday photos with, a “Friends” circle to talk about the last party where you got incredibly drunk, or a “Co-Worker” circle to share serious, business-related stuff. In every case, the connection is one that exists outside of Google+, and the reason you’re attempting to model this connection on Google+ is simply privacy.
Contrast this with this video:
> “Circles help me control what I read”
> “Many of you have created great circles around topics that interest you”
> “We let you take the circles you created, and share them with others […] to connect them with interesting […] content”
These statements do not talk about G+ circles as privacy-related features, but about something completely different: interests and topics.
I’d say that this additional use-case for circles isn’t just different from, but actually incompatible with, the original use-case: You can’t put people who talk about a dozen different things into a “topic circle”, and expect that circle to work. You really can’t share your own posts about a topic to that “topic circle”, and expect people to see it – because, likely, they are not following back, and you just posted to some non-public space by restricting your audience to a specific circle. You probably don’t want to share a circle with others if you created it for privacy reasons, either…
In my opinion, it’s this confusing use of one feature as a suggested solution for several, mutually exclusive, problems early on that made Google+ (too) complicated to use for everyone but a selected few.
Many people complain that Circles have been put on the back burner with the changes of the last few years – but they are still there, and have actually been supplemented with other features:
Circles – for privacy-related audience restrictions where necessary
Collections – to post to an audience that is interested in your content
Topics – to see content just about a certain interest
I believe that’s really a big #PlusPoint, although there’s obviously still much work to do…