Google VP Bradley Horowitz says ending the requirement to use Google+ to engage with other Google products will allow the company to make a “slew of improvements” to the core social network.
No, Google+ isn’t dead. It’s just killing off its most annoying feature.
That would be the requirement for people to use their Google+ profile to engage with people on other Google products, the so-called social layer that was meant to tie together user experience in the full Google universe. That strategy proved extremely unpopular, especially with YouTube comments, and the company has been slowly but surely backing away from it.
Earlier today, Google officially announced an end to the policy. “We’re going to continue focusing Google+ on helping users connect around the interest they love,” Google VP of streams, photos and sharing Bradley Horowitz wrote in a Google+ post, “and retire it as the mechanism by which people share and engage within other Google products.”
Horowitz pointed to Google Photos, separated from Google+ in May, as an example of a successful application of the revamped strategy. Not only do people no longer need Google+ profiles to use the popular photo management application, they don’t need Google accounts to access some features.
“It was important to me that when we launched Google Photos, we stressed [that] the product implements sharing by any means a user prefers… without compromise or agenda,” he wrote. “This is the right thing for users and the feedback and usage has been extremely validating.”
As for Google+, Horowitz wrote, the change will allow the company to focus on the social connections within the network.
What does this mean for Google+ the product? Relieved of the notion of integrating with every other product at Google, Google+ can now focus on doing what it’s already doing quite well: helping millions of users around the world connect around the interest they love. Aspects of the product that don’t serve this agenda have been, or will be, retired. But you’ll also see a slew of improvements that make this use case shine (like the recent launch of Collections — https://plus.google.com/collections/featured).
Google+ Collections, introduced in May, was the network’s first major new feature in many months. Similar to Pinterest boards, Collections enable people and brands to create topic-based groups of posts. That, in turn, gives followers the ability to receive updates about the types of content that most interest them.