Google+ was started with two main goals: one, Google+ aspired to be both a ‘platform layer that unified Google’s sharing models’, and two, a product, stream or app in its own right. Photo: Bloomberg
Google+ was started with two main goals: one, Google+ aspired to be both a “platform layer that unified Google’s sharing models”, and two, a product, stream or app in its own right. While the goals were well-intentioned, the company did not anticipate the user experience that found the product confusing.
Some of the consequences of this shift in thinking have already been deployed. For example, Google Photos, a photo- and video-storage service launched earlier this year, lets users share without a Google+ profile. “Google Photos not only doesn’t require a Google+ account, but as much of the functionality as possible doesn’t even require an account at all,” explains Horowitz. Other things people often share on social networks, like their location, are being moved to other Google apps like the messaging and video-chat service Hangouts, according to the blog.
Going by the figures, Google+ never managed to catch up to competition. In late 2013, according to statistics reported by the company, Google+ had 300 million monthly active users (MAUs), although exactly how active these people were was always questionable. During the same period, Facebook had over one billion MAUs, which has crossed an unparalleled 1.4 billion MAUs now.
So what does this announcement mean for Google+ as a product? The company believes that relieved of the notion of integrating with every other product at Google, Google+ will now focus on connecting users around specific interests. Aspects of the product that don’t serve this agenda have been, or will be, retired. “In the coming months, a Google Account will be all you’ll need to share content, communicate with contacts, create a YouTube channel and more, all across Google,” the company said.
The company says that users will see these changes being rolled out in stages over several months. While they won’t happen overnight, they’re right for Google’s users—those who are on Google+ every single day, and those who aren’t.