You can kiss your little-used Google+ account goodbye once and for all as the Internet giant today confirmed the disentangling of its failed social network from YouTube, Gmail and other services.
And in the future, there’ll even be an option to remove your public Google+ profile from your underlying Google Account, a tell-tale sign that the management has admitted defeat in the battle for supremacy in the social arena.
Bradley Horowitz, Google’s Vice President of Sharing, said “it doesn’t make sense for your Google+ profile to be your identity in all the other Google products you use.”
The executive went on to say that even though Google “got certain things right”, it’s become painfully obvious that a few choices the firm’s made needed rethinking.
By decoupling Google+ from the rest of Google services, your Google Account will no longer be associated with your public profile on Google+. In turn, any information in your Google Account will stay private and won’t be searchable on the web, like it used to be in the past.
“Your underlying Google Account won’t be searchable or followable, unlike public Google+ profiles,” the post acknowledges. “And for people who already created Google+ profiles but don’t plan to use Google+ itself, we’ll offer better options for managing and removing those public profiles.”
If you have Gmail, you already have a Google Account. A Google Account allows you to use a number of Google services and features, like instant messaging, sharing, browsing YouTube and more.
YouTube will be one of the first products to make this change.
In the coming weeks, YouTubers will be allowed to create new channels, upload and post comments without needing to have a Google+ account, said the YouTube team on their blog. And as of today, the comments you make on YouTube will now appear only on YouTube, not also on Google+.
YouTube fans will be able to remove their Google+ profile from their YouTube account in the coming months. Just don’t do it now or you’ll delete your YouTube channel.
Another Google+ feature on the chopping block: location sharing.
Going forward, location sharing will be added to Hangouts and other Google apps and services that don’t have it yet. Again, these changes will be rolling out over the next few months.
The executive went on to explain in a follow-up post on Google+ that Google+ isn’t really going away, it’s just going to be reshuffled around the company’s new Streams, Photos and Sharing initiatives.
“We’re going to continue focusing Google+ on helping users connect around the interest they love, and retire it as the mechanism by which people share and engage within other Google products,” he said.
“We want to formally retire the notion that a Google+ membership is required for anything at Google… other than using Google+ itself.”
Soon after co-founder Larry Page took the reins as CEO back in April 201, he ordered all product teams to make adding Google+ social features a priority.
The strategy paid off in short term as Google+ was picking up steam. On the flip side, most of the growth wasn’t organic, it was the result of Google’s forced approach. For instance, you needed a Google+ account to create a new account on YouTube, and even post comment on videos.
Just recently, Google pledged to separate Google+ Photos from the main Google+ service. Keeping true to the promise, the company released a standalone Google Photos mobile app for iOS and Android platforms.
Google Photos includes unlimited cloud-based storage as long as your images are not more than sixteen megapixels. The app downscales photos found in a user’s device library before uploading them to the service, resulting in fast syncing.
Once in the cloud, photos are analyzed and automatically tagged by people and objects in them, making them fun and easy to search.
As for the main Google+ mobile app, despite interesting feature additions such as polls, photo filters, digital travelogues and full-resolution photo and video backup, to mention but a few, it’s failed to impress iOS fans.
And Google got the message as it neglected development of new features. For instance, the iOS app has received its last feature-focused update way back in December of 2014.
Are you a Google+ user?
Is it a good idea on Google’s part to decouple Google+ from the rest of its services like Hangouts, YouTube and more, do you think?