I don't recall exactly, but I think GMail was in BETA for a few years before Google decided it was done. I expect Google+ will be in BETA for a while to come. As it is, what we have is something between Twitter and Facebook. Something that is pretty. That is integrated with GMail and Picasa. Something that is eventually going to influence Google's search results, so you'd better get your SEO cap on over to G+ and figure it out. BUT, there is a real problem with Google+ that everybody is talking about.
We need to filter the Stream in Google+.
At the moment everything is in the Stream. Here are my Circles so far:
Currently you can listen to all or one of the Circles at any given time. I suspect that one of the first things Google is going to do is allow us to toggle Circles in and out of our stream. The User Interface element is there. Just make the circles radio buttons and either IN or OUT of your stream. But that's not there yet.
Instead the flow of your Stream just continues without pause. (That's another feature we need, PAUSE THE STREAM) Sometimes you are entering a comment and the Stream keeps moving and your entry screen moves down the page, often out of the browser view. So V2 of Google+ needs Filters and Pauses.
But what Google+ really needed was to buy a client like Tweetdeck. (Purchased by Twitter a month before G+ was opened.) In Tweetdeck I can manage a real Stream of input from Thousands of users and map it to my columns of attention.
Perhaps the immediate answer is to create an RSS feed of the stream and then use Tweetdeck to filter that.
I'm sorry Twitter bought Tweetdeck before the launch of G+. Planning perhaps? Strategic block? Yes, I think so.
Here's the problem with APPS: With a tool like Tweetdeck we'd never need to go to the Circles/Google+ page, and that's where the value is for Google. That's what's happened to Twitter. No one goes to Twitter.com. 80% of Twitter's traffic is via APIs and 3rd party Apps. Twitter cannot serve you an AD if you're not on Twitter.com. (But I'm sure in-stream ADs are coming, because Twitter has yet to figure out how to make money on Tweets.)
So for now the value to Google is to get us into the their G-Universe and then sell us, track us, know us. With Google it's all going to be about integration. I'm not so convinced that's a great thing. Sometimes we need separation to keep things straight.
This presentation is available as a downloadable PPT file from Slideshare.net: Google's Stream is Unmanageable
A few additional posts that may be of interest: