Google Plus has been an underground social network, for lack of any other good definition. Those that wanted longer prose, better images and actual conversations used it constantly. With some changes being made I think the idea of Google Plus as a network is doomed.
It has been just over three years since Google dreamed big and went for a merger of services to hopefully mash together their seemingly endless supply of new applications and products. There was then the fight for the best Google Plus profile URL in case Google did win the network wars. Everyone has learned that no one is really winning the network wars. Facebook is flat, Twitter is flat, Instagram still has some growth but no real way to monetize without being totally Facebook and SnapChat is just growing along with no real plan.
According to Wired magazine (and now ReadWrite), some changes inside of Google and some sources they use say that the name Google Plus will not disappear anytime soon but what makes it a cohesive product may be stripped down.
Sources confirm that Google has no immediate plans to ditch the name “Google+,” but what that name represents is about to dramatically change. It appears Photos and Streams will cease to be simply features of Google+, and will become two distinct products under Horowitz’s watch.
The change comes on the heels of Google SVP Sundar Pichai telling Forbes that “I think increasingly you’ll see us focus on communications, photos and the Google+ Stream as three important areas, rather than being thought of as one area.”
So right there we see that Google agrees that streams are hard to get users to buy into. They can never be perfect. But the photo abilities in Google Plus has been outstanding and many people like it over Flickr and definitely Facebook. How many of you use which photo service? I am trying hard to stick with one platform but it seems your data gets scattered no matter what you do.
I have written about Google Plus a few times over the years as well as the demise of some Google services (I sigh heavily over Google Reader still). What are your thoughts? Could Google Plus have made it as a platform? Are the subset of apps stronger on their own that as a single product offering?