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Is It the Beginning of the End for Google+?


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The Internet’s biggest search engine first announced its very own social networking platform back in 2011. Only four years after, Google+ seems to be making its way to the Graveyard… or maybe not.

Google is slowly withdrawing G+ integration with its other products, and experts have been speculating that this will eventually lead to the product being killed entirely. However, Bradley Horowitz (VP) has said that the decision will only allow Google to improve its core social network.

The search giant’s attempt to evolve in a social world

Until the official release of Project Google+, or Emerald Sea as it was known internally, Google had been extremely secretive about its new product. The objective was to add a social layer to all of Google’s products, the culmination of which would be one massive social network. The reason the search giant moved towards social was because it realized that’s where the rest of the world was headed, that’s where all the data was going to be, and it needed to keep up.

Everybody had been watching in anticipation, waiting to see how Google would take on Facebook. But in due course of time, G+ attracted more annoyance than admiration. The launch of Google+ brought with it a revamp of the navigation bar, with the intent of allowing users to access the entire Googliverse with a single identity. But Google’s forced implementation of the use of a single account for all its products was not received well.

Google minuses Plus from its products

In 2013, Google made it mandatory for YouTube users to log in with their G+ accounts before they could comment on any video. The move was highly criticized for it forced non-G+ users to now create an account on the social networking platform to make full use of an unrelated product – YouTube. Google was probably hoping to increase G+ registrations, but the decision didn’t go down very well with YouTube users.

Finally picking up on this sense of disapproval, Google announced this Monday, that users will no longer require a G+ account to log in to YouTube, or any other Google product. This move follows several others that imply the isolation of G+ from other Google products. Earlier in March this year, the company announced that it was going break G+ into two distinct parts – Streams and Photos. All these decisions have been indicative of the fact that Google has stopped trying to be a “better-Facebook”.

A social world without Google+ – maybe, maybe not

Despite all the efforts of the G+ team, the network never really caught on quite as much, or as quickly as its competitors like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. Why? – While some people are of the opinion that Google was trying too hard to be like Facebook, others say the product’s entry was just too late. Anything G+ offered would be pitched in comparison with Facebook, constantly leaving the former in the shadows. Another plausible reason why G+ never really took off could be because it was launched at a time when the world was extremely skeptical about online security, particularly after news about the NSA leaks.

Going by Horowitz’s word on the product’s future, and the recent addition of Google+ Collections, may be Google isn’t ready to give up just yet. The objective, as it appears to be, is to make Google+ a place for users from across the world to connect with each other based on their interests. How that will be done remains to be seen.

Image Source: By Google [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons