When Google launched Google+ four years ago, they were seeking to create a monolithic social network that would rival both Facebook and Twitter. It was designed to be the social layer running through all of Google’s other products, which would bring them all together.
Fast-forward to today and Google’s ambitions to make Google+ a real competitor to Facebook and Twitter competitor are all but finished.
On Monday, Brad Horowitz, the guy who took charge of Google+ earlier this year, said that people will no longer need a Google+ account to engage with users on other Google products going forward.
Horowitz wrote: “We want to formally retire the notion that a Google+ membership is required for anything at Google… other than using Google+ itself.”
So you’ll no longer need a Google+ account to comment on a Youtube video, for example, which had always been a bone of contention for many users when it was introduced.
It seems that Google+ is going to become a lone wolf and have some of its historical components retired, according to Horowitz. It will focus on connecting users around specific interests they love and concentrate on Streams, Photos and Sharing.
The Google Photos service, which was launched earlier this year, does not require users to have a Google+ account and this is what we should expect more of going forward. Horowitz believes that this approach puts the emphasis back on the user “without compromise or agenda” and is “the right thing for users and the feedback and usage has been extremely validating.”
Whether Google+ emerges as a sharing behemoth to rival the likes of Instagram and Pinterest remains to be seen. But businesses with lots of visual content would be prudent to keep a close eye on it.
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