When Google announced some updates to Google+ during its I/O keynote this week, perhaps apart from the new iPad compatible tablet version, the most talked about new feature was the Facebook-like invitations called “Events.” While Google calendar integration in the Events feature was supposed to be a big selling point, Google unfortunately did not provide users with control over which invites were added to their calendars. The issue led to massive amounts of spam in the form of notifications and calendar entries—most notably for Google+ users with large followings. Robert Scoble outlined the problem in a Google+ post:
Hey, +Vic Gundotra the way you rolled out the new Google+ events feature was — by far — the worst social launch ever… Not only did it spam the crap out of my notifications and my Google+ events page but it added events — hundreds of them — onto my calendar…My calendar is MINE. Not yours. You should NEVER put anything on it that I don’t approve of… I have turned down every event and they are still on my calendar so now I have to delete them one-by-one… By the way, I’ve been asking for noise controls since day one and you guys simply aren’t getting it. Amazingly bad service here folks.
As noted by Scoble, another avid Google+ user, Will Wheaton, highlighted the issue and received a response from Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra:
+Vic Gundotra says “We are doing exactly what you requested. We should have contemplated and anticipated how people would abuse this and how painful this could be for celebrities with large followings.
We have pushed a number of fixes yesterday (some were bug fixes that showed up at scale). Expect more fixes today. Sorry for the trouble Will.”
The issue is obviously something that will affect users with large followings more than others. Until Google fixes the issue, it is possible to turn off “Show event’s you’ve declined” in your calendar settings, as well as “Automatically add invitations to my calendar.” The fix is not ideal, but it might make your notifications bearable until Google implements better controls for Event notifications.
- Google+ has 250M users, dedicated tablet version rolls out today (9to5google.com)