I spent many, many years caring about and caring for LiveJournal. One of our biggest challenges was figuring out how the site should evolve. Its age almost guaranteed that we had some sizable portion of the userbase using any given feature, which made it harder to retire features; our extraordinary ability to botch major announcements made us even more scared to do it. And the new stuff we were shipping didn't generally have a cohesive vision behind it. If it did, we'd be able to establish momentum behind that vision, and a better way of talking about it.
That chapter of my life has been over for a while now. Fast forward a bit.
Google+ isn't a great social network -- not many of my friends are on it -- but it's a fantastic service. But it's what I wished LiveJournal would have become. It's streamlined, but powerful. Think about it for a moment. Streams are like the friends page; circles are custom friend groups; photos are like a Scrapbook that worked; communities are like communities; +1s are memories; and so on. But it also eliminates a lot of the additional bells and whistles (like custom mood themes) that I think distracted us from our mission of connecting people. I'm not even counting the types of things that work because of Google's muscle -- better search, suggested friends, calendar integration, hangouts, etc.
Now, there is one or two things that Google+ is missing. Arguably, threaded comments is one of them, but I think the most important thing is personalization: owning your URL, customizing your theme/style, and selecting userpics for different posts or comments. Google+ is very clearly owned by Google, and the layout isn't very friendly to use. With that exception, though, Google+ provides exactly the set of features I think LiveJournal should. No more, no less.
The sense of community that LiveJournal created is what made it our home on the web, and Google+ is the first service I've seen that has the raw features to do the same thing. Tumblr doesn't do it, Twitter doesn't do it, Facebook comes close but it's not really emphasizing the written word as much, Wordpress doesn't do it, Typepad doesn't do it. Making the site easier to use would helped keep LiveJournal relevant instead of being relegated to being the great-grandfather of social media.
It makes me sad that we couldn't -- and that LiveJournal still can't -- evolve the site fast enough to keep up with the world. But that's why I'm hopeful for Google+, because I think something needs to pick up where LiveJournal left off.