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?