The death of Google Plus?
Washington - Eulogies for Google+, the company’s latest attempt at a social network, have become so commonplace that they qualify as a cliché.
But the recent news that signing up for Gmail no longer requires the creation of a Google+ account is another sign that Google is starting to give up on a social network once considered by some to be key to the company’s future.
Google+ faced significant user backlash, especially from the YouTube community, which protested against the forced integration of its comment system into the social network.
Google has been adamant that Google+ is a success, citing engagement figures that some outside observers consider suspect as the service appears as a digital ghost town to many users.
Vic Gundotra, the father of the service, left Google after eight years in April. Afterwards, TechCrunch reported that employees working on the project were now working on the text and video chat component Hangouts moving to the Android team. Since then, the company has given the service very little attention.
In August, Bloomberg reported the company planned to separate Google+’s photo sharing capabilities from the social network – allowing those who aren’t Google+ clients to use the service. Then Google dropped an authorship feature that tied writers’ Google+ profiles to the content they produced.
But even if Google+ withers on the vine – as did previous Google social attempts, such as Wave and Buzz – it has created a unifying login that spans the company’s own services but also serves as an online identity service beyond Google’s walled garden of offerings.
This unifier helps Google better understand how its users interact with services and the Web – and how better to monetise data about those users.
Even if the social component of Google+ fails, it will give the company more detailed profiles of users to charge a higher premium for ever-more targeted advertisements. – Washington Post