Google is getting rid of the “incoming” feature of Google+, which provides a stream of updates from people who have added you to their Circles, which you haven’t added back. Some have questioned the existence of the feature from the beginning, and Google is now acknowledging that it is not needed.
Google+ Engineering Director Dave Besbris explained Google’s reasons for getting rid of the feature in a Google+ post.
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“The ‘Incoming’ stream was a part of Google+ from the very start and it served an important purpose at the time to help people discover others on Google+,” said Besbris. “Since then however we’ve added a suggested user list, What’s Hot, the ability to share circles and in-product search with saved searches. We’ve also greatly improved our friend suggestion algorithms. These changes all served the same purpose that incoming originally did: connecting people.”
Of course, Google is using its search results to connect people on Google+ as well, a move that has sparked a great deal of controversy.
“Based on your feedback and our user research, we learned that the ‘Incoming’ stream was a very confusing part of Google+,” said Besbris. “Not surprisingly, this feedback was reflected in very low usage of the “Incoming” stream compared to the rest of Google+, so we decided to remove it and simplify things.”
“I’ve also heard that some of you were using the ‘Incoming’ stream to find people who added you to their circles so you can add them back,” he added. “The full list of those people is still always available in the people editor under ‘people who have added you -> not yet in circles’.”
So, will people miss the feature? Judging from the comments on Besbris’ post, it looks like some will.
For example, Chris Kunzler says, “I’m going to miss the feature. Another feature I’d love is the ability to see the incoming stream of a suggested circle.”
Interestingly enough, Besbris responded to theat post, saying, “Great feedback, I’ll pass that on.”
A future feature perhaps?
I’m still seeing the incoming feature when I use the Google+ app on my Android device, but I’m guessing it will be gone with the next update.