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Report: Google+ to be Dialed Back, Fate Unknown, Hangouts Team Moving to Android

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The minute Vic Gundotra informed the world that he was leaving Google after eight years, the first thing most of us asked was, “What does this mean for his baby, Google+?” That question remains unanswered at this point, but a report out of TechCrunch gives off the impression that Google is viewing Google+ quite differently today than it did only a few months ago. Sources of TC would’t go as far as calling the social network “officially dead,” but did hint at its importance being drastically reduced. 

According to sources, Google+ is no longer being considered a product, but is instead looked at as a platform, which means that Google no longer wants to be in direct competition with Twitter and Facebook. That sort of seems odd given the amount of attention that Google has poured into G+ over the last couple of years, so as you can image, Google “vehemently” denied the idea. A spokesperson said that yesterday’s “news has no impact on our Google+ strategy – we have incredibly talent team that will continue to build great user experiences across Google+, Hangouts and Photos.”

TechCrunch is, of course, hearing the exact opposite, with things like the Hangouts team moving over to the Android team, with the Photos team likely right behind them. They are also hearing that between 1,000 and 1,200 employees from the G+ team are being shuffled around, many of which Google isn’t sure where to put.

Some of the reasons for these new moves could be because of the failed YouTube comment integration from Google+ or the forced requirement into other products that were not exactly received well.

I’m not sure what to make of the report, but whenever you see the leader of a major product unexpectedly depart a company completely, you have to wonder what has changed. Gundotra championed Google+ regularly and was likely one of the driving forces behind its continued growth. Why Google is seeing that as a negative (other than failed integrations) is beyond me.

Over the next few months or even year, I’d imagine this will all begin to take shape if true.

Google+ users, thoughts? Non-Google+ users, excited?

Via:  TechCrunch
  • Chad

    Good riddance to that ghost town waste of cyberspace!!

    • Arthur Dent

      Lol, such anger over a website.

  • MikeSaver

    google pluhhh

  • nosedive94

    The problem that Google+ has is that if you’re integrated into Facebook, there’s no incentive to become involved in Google+. Google tried to fix that by integrating it into everything, which only had the effect of making people feel forced. I like Google+, but its ship sailed as soon as people realized that their friends wouldn’t be joining them on it. For me, Google+ has become yet another news aggregation platform, nothing more. That said, I hate Facebook, and I wish people would migrate to Google+, but they won’t, even though they hate Facebook too. As the saying goes, better the devil you know… It’s time for Google to put this one out to pasture.

  • http://about.me/TVAmyWood amywood

    The whole LIVESTREAM announcement had me wondering what was up???

  • ChristianPasquariello

    Google+ is the only social networking site worth a darn.

  • TBolt

    G+ is so much more enjoyable (for me) than Facebook – I like the open discussions amongst people with similar interests. If G+ dies, I still won’t log in to Facebook for any extended period of time.

    • Hershel

      That was good, minus every one in that conversation who pops up as a “friend” suggestion.

  • morgan boyle

    As a photographer, i always loved Google+ but it never hit that critical mass to be a “social” network. i hope it remains what it is but i have given up on expecting it to over take facebook.

    • Hershel
      • Braden Abbott

        Flickr is not pre-installed on every Android device, and I am not automatically logged into Flickr when I sign into Chrome or a Chromebook so no, thanks though.

        • Hershel

          expect google plus isn’t designed for photos. flickr is, and anyone with a brain would know all you need to do is sign in once. my flickr account is always signed in

          people just need to start to learn how to use their computers and websites more. \

          google plus is for nerds in their mothers basements. END OF STORY.

          • Braden Abbott

            Apparently you missed the plethora of Photo and Video enhancements made to G+ over the last two years, they have enhanced Photos more than anything else, and you need to learn how cookies work…my point was you still have to sign in to Flickr the first time you use a browser, where G+ is signed in automatically with Chrome. I prefer to use first party software instead of a third party solution, especially if it’s the best option like G+ Photos is. Plus Flickr does not give me the option to protect my account with two factor authentication so letting them hold my photos and video is definitely not going to happen any time soon.

  • Timothy Anderson

    I think this would be premature. I think Google Plus is superior in many respects to the others. I think they should wait for FB to hang themselves with all of the things they do to piss people off. I think the problem is not technical. I think they failed to generate the buzz, fanfare, involve celebrities, and PR that was necessary for launching something like this. The President was on a G+ hangout, but the only people who heard about it was us. Don’t tell us about it, we already know. Tell everyone else. You have to spend money to make money.

    • Hershel

      They’ve been pissing people off for over six years and yet, people remained on the site.

    • Hershel

      also when people associate celebrities with social media, its sully twitter

  • NBM

    While I didn’t like the TC article, I did also get a Google Opinion Rewards just this morning asking me if I’d used G+ in the past week… and that’s all… whats that about?

  • paulkoan

    Please don’t regurgitate TC articles as actual news, theirs was the worst kind of reporting on the net, and you are tarring yourself with the same brush. The article has been universally panned

  • wmsco1

    Three big people are now gone. What’s going on? Has the platform peaked? Are we going chrome? I think Google needs to come clean and tell us what’s going on and what the future holds. Just my suspicion.

  • bacramer9

    I love G+. I think people on this site do too. Looking at the share counts as my supportive reference.

  • Trysta

    Ok I hope I don’t offend anyone but…

    YAAAAAAAY!!!

    Google+ has been my LEAST FAVORITE part of android since day 1 and it hasn’t gotten any better. Being forced to use it for reviewing apps, not being able to predict what is and isn’t public (I have people add me to their circles even though I don’t want that) and generally feeling very uneasy about how searchable I am on the web has prevented me from fully enjoying my android experience. I know not everyone feels that way and if you like Google+ that is great but no one should be forced to use social networking (I don’t like facebook or twitter either but avoiding involvement in these services is relatively simple).

    • NBM

      G+ is simply your Google account. Or perhaps the “you” part of your Google account is a better way of putting it. Yes you can do social things on it, but you could also not.
      It’s simply the infrastructure certain account-centric things run on, including comments/reviews of Google services and hosted content. Reviews and comments can be left without linking to G+’s social aspect. The G+ association (aka Google account) partly helps insure apps aren’t being unfairly boosted or lowered by accounts that haven’t actually downloaded such.

      • Trysta

        Simply no. I got my Google account back when it was incite only and for the.longest time my gmail account was my login to all that is Google (still basically is). If I wanted to review an app I could only do so if I’d installed the app via my Google account but there was no way for someone to Google my real name (I just used a username) and find that review. This is now currently impossible unless I am editing a review that I made BEFORE the G+ requirement was instated. I love having a single Google account that handles everything. I do NOT love having to be super careful about normal web activities that Google will notify anyone in my gmail contacts list about. Example: Google recently added a new section to the play store where you get recommendations for apps based on what your friends are using. I got so many recommendations from people I KNOW don’t actively participate in G+ and certainly weren’t aware that every app they’d downloaded was now public knowledge to me (without my searching for this info). I don’t want what I download from the play store to be known by everyone I have ever emailed. (I hope this didn’t come off as personal against you. I just feel very strongly about this)

        • NBM

          It doesn’t come off as personal to me.
          I’ve of course had my Google account longer than G+ has existed as well (I think many/most people have) but I think the number of users that wan’t or “need” to publicly AND privately comment on an app in the Google PlayStore is probably not that big. It adds to that whole accountability aspect and makes fake accounts a bit more inconvenient to make and manage.

          I’m not sure how the recommendations work but I know I can see reviews from encircled people. If I didn’t use G+, I don’t know how it would then work beyond showing suggested apps based on my own decisions. I am also pretty sure a Google Search isn’t going to show my PlayStore reviews all too quickly though, especially if they haven’t been reviewed AND +1ed with a [public]ly shared post. I at least tried to find my activity using some very specific (exact) searches without success… In addition to the fact that my name and superficial review among many thousands of reviews on just one of many many thousands of apps is not going to be very detrimental to my well being.

      • Hershel

        you missed @disqus_ZnZpRxONbM:disqus ‘s point

  • Alan Marchman

    I applaud the fact that as I’m typing this readers have shared this article more on G+ than Facebook and Twitter combined.

  • Synacks

    I’m all for it if it improves Android and Hangouts

  • gorkon

    TechCrunch is full of crap.

    Google+ is viable. I use it more everyday for one reason…not everyone IS on it.

  • http://idle0095.com/ IDLE0095

    I hope they keep hangouts. I use it every day.

  • Jeff Lamoureaux

    This is why Google can’t have nice things…

  • http://www.chrome-focus.com/ Aaron Hurt

    I actually like Hangouts. I think its an innovative product and quite enjoyable. As for G+, its fun, but I haven’t seen the adoption from friends and family that I’d like… and dang it’s everywhere in Google. Can be annoying.

  • TylerChappell

    I sadly don’t use G+ nearly as much as I use FB, but man do I completely prefer it bar none over FB when I do. FB just seems to have so much more trash, spam, nonsense, etc than G+.

    • Hershel

      They said the same when it was Facebook and MySpace….

      • NBM

        that’s an argument in favor of G+

        • Hershel

          till google plus gains more people…. then…. well you know….

          • NBM

            Then what? Google is not following Facebook’s model.

            G+ is yet another platform like Chrome and Search for the company to gather a lot of data from. As a mattter of fact, if you actively use Gmail, Chrome, YouTube, and search (mobile or other), then you might be shown things you find interesting in G+… just like using one of the other services might determine what you see before a Youtube video or a Gmail ad, etc.

            Facebook is less advanced: http://youtu.be/l9ZqXlHl65g
            and the follow up: http://youtu.be/oVfHeWTKjag

          • Hershel

            facebook didn’t really follow myspaces model eirther…

  • http://www.tarasmuz.ru/ Taras Lanchev

    Google, don’t you even dare closing G+! I have all my family photos there and I use it a lot for reading news and following various developers.

    • Hershel

      if an online back up is your only source to hold your personal family photos, and the service shuts down its your own damn falut.

  • Nick

    I LOVE Google+. I’m going to be devastated.

    …said no one ever

  • http://Google.com/+boojay boo Jay

    G+ isn’t going anywhere, it’s growing faster than Facebook and much more engaging. The YouTube-integration also wasn’t a fail. It wasn’t going to solve the troll comments problem, but it succeeded in promoting more civil conversations and comments. It’s cleaned up the sign-in process and comment sections of many websites, so I see it as mostly a win.

  • shooter50

    Great news. Next time maybe they can develop something a little more user friendly and not force it down our throats. I so wanted to like Google + as an alternative to Facebook, but everytime I opened it I asked myself why it had to suck so bad. Good riddance if they do decide to shut it down and if not, with Vic gone, maybe they can fix it.

    • shooter50

      and while I’m venting, Hangouts blows too. First thing I do when I get a new phone. Disable Google + and Hangouts. Both are bloat as far as I’m concerned.

      • John Davids

        Anything constructive to share? Like what about Google+ and Hangouts that has you distressed so greatly? Or are you just using the comment section of a blog/news site as your personal thought bathroom like 98% of the internet?

        • shooter50

          Like I said, Google + is not user friendly. Almost everyone I know would love a Facebook alternative, but refuse to use Google + after giving it a try. And Google trying to jam it down our throats like with youtube integration for example is really annoying. I clearly stated I was venting and I told you what I do with a phone that comes preloaded with this bloatware. What else do you need?

          • John Davids

            “Not user friendly” is not super constructive. What exactly about it? Takes more clicks to accomplish the same task as on FB? You don’t like the color palette? Too many buttons? Too complex? Too simple? What?

            Your second knock on the service is “everyone I know doesn’t like it” is actually a very valid one, considering the context that we are discussing social sharing mediums. However, I would posit that the vast majority of people who have “tried” G+ and do not like it simply do not like change. They try to do all the things they do in FB on G+ and immediately get frustrated because it is different, thus abandon it and go back to FB. An endless feedback loop which begs the question, how do you unseat the undisputed champion of social mediums? Any challenger is inherently at a massive disadvantage. Anyone that tries your new service will immediately realize that unless their entire (or majority) of their social circle migrates simultaneously to the new service, it is already dead to them because they have no one to share with.

            Still haven’t heard what your beef is with Hangouts yet.

          • Jeff Lamoureaux

            Is today “Make shooter50 your bitch day” and no one told me?

          • John Davids

            Heh, I dunno about all that. Just trying to have a productive conversation :-)

          • NBM

            they don’t use it because they can’t stalk all the people they know… because the people they know aren’t on it.
            That’s not really what G+ is though… I guess it could be, if users treated it the same. Facebook is a lot of people and or businesses, etc, putting up stuff about themselves and then other people looking at if (maybe with some sort of validation) and then the creator enjoying the attention in some way.

            For me, I started using G+ for photos (instead of Flickr, Instagram, etc), then to follow tech blogs and such (instead of Flipboard), which led me to join some communities (instead of Facebook), which finally led to posting content. Then when YouTube was integrated, I could keep track of yet more content/comments from sources I was more interested in, as well as my own discussions (when I want to). The Google based activity tries to tailor to a user while all the other services are more like one of those crappy sales bins where you have to dig around a bit to find the stuff you might like (Twitter, FB, IG, Vine).

            All this is on stock apps/services (for mobile) from one account that I already had. That’s pretty much the opposite of bloat.

  • Alan Paone

    Between the fact that they still don’t have an api and are clinging to the card UI that encourages users not to post, it’s hard to call Google+ dead, it’s not even born yet.

  • admmck

    Good! I hate Google+!! Being forced into a product/platform is horrible. If the product/platform is useful or desirable, then people will flock to it without being forced to do it!! That is how it should work! It’s simple! (I know Google only cares about ad revenue, but I won’t be forced into something that sucks). I’ve been with Google (Gmail) since I paid for a Gmail beta invite years ago, I’ve championed Google’s this and that and shouted their merits from the rooftops. My whole family is on Google now… But being forced into crap isn’t what Google used to be about! Google has good stuff, don’t get me wrong, but they don’t remember their own slogan, “Don’t be evil” anymore…