Is this the start of a slow end for Google+? Yes! No! Maybe! Who knows? The company now no longer requires users to be signed into Google+ to be able to make comments on a number of its other “products” (e.g. YouTube). Bradley Horowitz, Google’s VP of streams, photos, and sharing (‽), wrote a blog about it all, saying when they set up Google+ “we made a few choices that, in hindsight, we’ve needed to rethink”. He played up the fact that Google+ will now be more focused but they have also had to bend to user demands.
“People have told us that accessing all of their Google stuff with one account makes life a whole lot easier,” he writes. “But we’ve also heard that it doesn’t make sense for your Google+ profile to be your identity in all the other Google products you use.” Users are not completely unshackled from Google, however, as they will still need a Google Account, but he was keen to reassure users that this will not be public in the same way Google+ is. “As always, your underlying Google Account won’t be searchable or followable, unlike public Google+ profiles,” he says. “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.” Was the interlinking with Google+ proving to be a barrier to user engagement? Given that YouTube has over 1bn regular users, the company is clearly keen to grow that further and to boost dwell time (and, hence, ad revenue potential). There will, if we are being honest, not too many who will shed a tear at this Google+/YouTube “conscious uncoupling”.