It seems Google have finally got the message. Presumably it was posted on Facebook or Twitter, so someone actually saw it. Everyone hates Google+, and if TechCrunch are right, it seems Google have decided to finally take action.
Rather than take Google+ out to the shed and humanely put it out of it’s misery with a simple bullet between the eyes though, the company have instead apparently decided that the loathed social network is no longer a “product” but a “platform”.
What this essentially means is that the successful bits from Google+ – such as Hangouts – can be spun off and operated separately, but perhaps be powered by Google+ (so you can add friends easily) – but with future developments at the company no longer being forced to include some sort of Google+ integration.
Similarly, I’d speculate that whilst we might see an end to the “newsfeed”-like Plus homepage, profiles will remain as a central node for all of your data and interactions – not to mention being able to offer a consistent identify across Google products (from YouTube to Maps) is genuinely useful. But at least we’ll no longer be encouraged to share things on to a social network that nobody uses.
Unsurprisingly, with this news came the announcement that the man behind Google+, Vic Gundotra, was leaving the company.
Finally, one other interesting nugget to come out of the TechCrunch article was something I’d long suspected: that Google+ integration into YouTube and Gmail was used to artificially inflate the number of “active” G+ users – with a YouTube comment counting that user as a G+ user for that month’s figures, because they had posted a comment on a video. It’d be interesting to see what the real number of active users is – and whether they could all fit into a the back of a taxi, like I suspect.
So what’s next for Google? Here’s hoping they see sense and bring back the sorely missed Google Reader.
By James O'Malley | April 25th, 2014