Remember when Google launched Google+ and everyone migrated to the best new social network? Me neither. Google is finally changing their strategy and giving up on Google+ as a social networking platform.
Google+ was meant to be an interactive social network in competition with Facebook, but it never quite took off after its dismal September 2011 launch. Despite initial stats projecting massive growth in the user population, since a Google+ profile was enforced if you wanted to use Google applications like YouTube, Google Drive, and Gmail, most of these de facto users were disinclined to be an active participant of the social network. Its dual purpose as an interest-based social networking site and a way to integrate Google apps with a central account just wasn’t the user experience most people were looking for.
On Monday, Google announced the shift in direction with Google+. Google will no longer require Google+ integration to use the other products and apps; all that will be required from now on is a Google account. How does this affect your use of various Google apps?
Users won’t be forced connect their Google+ and YouTube profiles, which was a common gripe. Before, users had to log into Google+ in order to post YouTube comments, which would then appear on the Google+ profile. Your Google account will not be publicly searchable, unlike your Google+ profile. So you will be able to link and access all your apps through a Google account without being forced to create a public profile.
Locations will migrate to the Hangouts app and photo features will be moved into the new Google Photos app, both separate from Google+ (Google+ Photos will be shut down August 1). A new feature called Google+ Collections will also be added to help users organize posts by the topics they care about. You will have the option to maintain your current Google+ profile, but Google is also going to make managing and removing them easier for end users.
Google VP of Streams, Photos, and Sharing, Bradley Horowitz, posted on the Google blog with high hopes, saying, “We think changes like these will lead to a more focused, more useful, more engaging Google+.”
So, with the changes being made to Google+, do you find yourself more apt to use it? Or, are you eager to get rid of your profile now that Google apps can be accessed without it? The updates are set to roll out in waves over the next few months, so stay tuned to see what the future holds.
The Next Web