Google +, or Google’s obscure social network designed to compete with the tremendously popular Facebook, has been lying on its deathbed for quite some time. But as of Monday, Bradley Horowitz, vice president of Google Photos and Streams, stated that the company was planning on transferring Google+ features to other products and services.
Google Photos ditched the requirement of a Google+ account in March, but other Google-owned services may soon follow the trend, including YouTube, Mr. Horowitz added.
And if this is true, Google+ may soon become a thing of the past. Nevertheless, Mr. Horowitz seemed optimistic and said that the changes are designed to help the company provide a “more focused, more useful, more engaging Google+.”
But stripping away basic features from Google+ may look like the unpopular social media network reached its final days. In 2011, when it was rolled out, Google+ was hailed as a “Facebook killer,” but as years went by very few people decided to use it, and as an Internet joke puts it, many of them were Google employees.
According to Google+ team, the service currently has 300 million active users on a monthly basis. By comparison, Facebook currently has 1.44 billion and counting. So, removing the Google+ requirement from YouTube, which is still more popular than Facebook when it comes to video streaming and sharing, may look like the last nail in the coffin for Google+.
On the other hand, why Google+ failed to fulfill its promises remains largely a mystery. After all, it does have some features that can make it more appealing than Facebook. For instance, friends and family members can be kept separate within “Circles,” while on Facebook, you need to dig deep into your account’s settings to create a custom list.
Moreover, there are no aggressive ads on Google+ and the interface is more groomed than what we get on Facebook. Also, you can invite multiple friends to attend a video call in Google Hangouts, while on Facebook you are stuck with its outdated video chat.
So, Google+ never had a functionality issue. The problem was its lack of popularity since just about everybody was on Facebook. Surprisingly, in the past three years, the American Customer Satisfaction Index revealed that Google’s social network users reported higher levels of satisfaction with the service than Facebook users did.
Yet, Facebook users are less likely to leave the platform any time soon and migrate to Google+ because “everyone else is on it.” So, the only way of preventing Google+ from sinking was to silently promote it through more popular services such as YouTube and Google Photos. But just now Google does the exact opposite.
Image Source: Fast Company