Dear Google, now that you’ve gotten rid of Vic Gundotra and you’re disassembling his empire, here are my suggestions for how to reverse some of the damage he caused:
No more nymwars because of his real names policy. By all means collect people’s real names, but let them decide how their names are displayed publicly. You know, like they do socially in the real world.
Turn Google Local back into a search engine and local directory, like it was before you decided to try and use it to promote Google+ and everyone stopped using it.
On that note, stop requiring full names on restaurant reviews, and I’ll start reviewing restaurants again.
Also, stop requiring full names on Android app reviews, and I’ll start reviewing all the Android apps I use.
Add support for Atom feeds in and out of Google+. Even if you don’t support a full API, Atom in and out should be the bare minimum for any site that wants to be part of the social web. A lot of people are still bitter about Reader, and recommitting to web feeds and openness would send the right message.
Add a proper API for posting.
Bring back Google Latitude, separate from Google+ and not requiring everyone to have a Google+ account, to give me a reason to report my location to you.
Rebrand the “social stream and discussion” piece of Google+, and stop trying to force people to use it. Just let it stand or fall on its own merits.
Disconnect it from YouTube. Sure, keep the unified accounts, but I see no reason to force both sets of discussion threads into one place.
In future, I’d suggest not letting ex-Microsoft people decide strategy. Strong-arming customers worked well for Microsoft over the last two decades, but it won’t work for Google, and it’s starting to not work for Microsoft.