So... It looks like G+ is going away. :/
From the post:
Finding 1: There are significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ product that meets consumers’ expectations.
Action 1: We are shutting down Google+ for consumers.
To give people a full opportunity to transition, we will implement this wind-down over a 10-month period, slated for completion by the end of next August.
I have to admit, I'm disappointed to hear this. The closest alternative to G+ I've seen is Facebook. I've set up and deleted 3 accounts there over the years and none have lasted more than a few months. The quality of the trolls and level of irrational users willing to engage in topics they clearly have an opinion on, and little else, is more than I'm willing to put up with. There won't be a 4th account created once G+ goes away.
I've often been surprised to hear people that clearly don't use G+ talking about how no-one uses it. Every time I hear this I think to myself that they're clearly not using it right. I've found the level of traffic to be manageable, the quality of the posts to be engaging and, most importantly, the users in the comments, for the most part, aren't arseholes. You get the occasional idiot, but they're the exception rather than the norm.
I think I'm going to spend the next 10 months looking for the alternative that takes the G+ idea, makes it distributed and makes it Open Source. There's a number good FOSS projects that could do this with a small addition to their systems.
Almost any blogging or CMS platform. Thinks that go a little beyond just blogging, like Known. The addition of a module/plugin/extension that manages the subscriptions (following) and presentation of content would fill in most of what's needed. This really is sounding like blogging with RSS again. Managing the commenting with distributed accounts, interacting with a person's post regardless of where it appears... these would be a few of the extra bits to push the experience over the wall from it being just another rss reader and more of the social community I like here on G+.
Alternatively, if anyone hears of an effort to petition Google to not shut G+ down I would get behind that too. :)