Google Inc seems to be shifting its focus away from Google+, the struggling social network that failed to reach the search engine’s goal of becoming the next Facebook Inc . New reports suggest the company is disbanding much of the connection between Google+ and many of Google’s online products.
Google Waning Away From Google+
The tech titan announced Monday in a blog post that users will no longer need to have a Google+ account in order to share content, create a YouTube account, post a comment on a video, communicate with contacts or do anything else on the website.
Moving forward, users who have linked their Google+ profiles to YouTube can employ the option of removing their Google+ profiles from the service soon. Beginning today, YouTube comments won’t show up on your Google+ profile, and nothing posted on Google+ will be disclosed on YouTube.
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 wrote in a blog post. “YouTube will be one of the first products to make this change.”
In the fall of 2013, Google had connected YouTube to Google+. This move prompted users to activate Google+ for their Google account. Users would then post their real names in the comments, which was meant to curb spam and flame wars while improving the quality of comments.
To say it didn’t work would be an understatement. Instead, it generated the ire of the public.
YouTube confirmed it would release further updates in the future to improve comments.
When we launched Google+, we set out to help people discover, share and connect across Google like they do in real life,” the company added. “While we got certain things right, we made a few choices that, in hindsight, we’ve needed to rethink. So over the next few months, we’re going to be making some important changes.”
Google did warn, however, not to delete your Google+ account now because then you’ll erase you YouTube channel. You will have to be patient over the coming weeks.
The Successes (and Failures) of Google+
If you thought Google+ would face an untimely demise then you would be mistaken. Bradley Horowitz, Google VP of Streams, Photos and Sharing, confirmed that it is honing in on a “more focused Google+ experience.”
What this means is that Google+ maintains a large number of subscribers who are avid users. In the near future, Google will offer new features in the Google+ universe, and move non-essential features into current products.
In May, Google released Google+ Collections, a product to share videos, links and images on various category boards. In the same month, Google brought in Google Photos and merged an array of elements of Google+ Photos into the new app. In the coming months, Google will introduce location sharing into Hangouts.
Despite the level of enthusiasm that Google has enjoyed these past few weeks, Google+ hasn’t been able to reach the same level of Facebook or Twitter Inc . And the data suggest Google+ isn’t very popular.
At the present time, there are more than two billion Google+ profiles. However, just between four and six million users have made public posts. Although Google claims to maintain about 300 million active users, just 22 percent of users visit the website monthly.
Industry insiders have regularly referred to Google+ as “the walking dead” over the past year.
Why did Google+ fail? Some say it’s because Google, known for its ingenuity and creativity, failed to offer something really new. There are many social networks out there. Others say it misguidedly attempted to take over Facebook, a well-establish social media machine. Finally, and perhaps the most important, Google refrained from listening to its customers and instead just listened to staffers.
Even with revolving door of executives and the disappointing numbers, Google is not conceding defeat. The general public may have, but Google will not call Plus a failure, and it likely never will. Now its attention is refocused on Gmail, Google Glass and the Cloud.