Google is to begin killing off the use of Google+ identities in all of its products, starting with YouTube. Could this be the beginning of the end for the Google+ social network?
Google said that the change will be happening in the coming months.
Hints that this might be happening occurred in recent months when Google removed Google+ profiles from its home page. The company has already stripped Google+ from Gmail, Search, the navigation bar, Photos and Hangouts.
But now the social network’s presence will be disappearing from all products.
In a blog post, Bradley Horowitz, vice president of streams, photos, and sharing, said the search giant got it wrong with Google+.
“When we launched Google+, we set out to help people discover, share and connect across Google like they do in real life. While we got certain things right, we made a few choices that, in hindsight, we’ve needed to rethink. So over the next few months, we’re going to be making some important changes,” Horowitz said.
No one identity to rule them all
“People have told us that accessing all of their Google stuff with one account makes life a whole lot easier,” Horowitz continued.
“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.”
He said that in the coming months a Google account will be all users need for logging into YouTube and other products.
“As always, your underlying Google Account won’t be searchable or followable, unlike public Google+ profiles. 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.”
YouTube said that as a result of the changes, comments made on YouTube will stay only on YouTube.
It has also added a new ranking system that reduces the visibility of junk comments and says that as a result the rate of dislikes on comments has dropped by more than 35pc on YouTube.
Creators will also retain the new moderation options like reviewing comments before they are posted, blocking certain words or auto-approving comments from certain fans.
It warned users not to delete their YouTube profile just yet, however, as this would result in the deletion of their YouTube channel.
“In the coming weeks, YouTube will no longer require a Google+ profile when you want to upload, comment, or create a channel. If you’re happy with everything as it is now, then just keep on keepin’ on. If you want to remove your Google+ profile, you’ll be able to do this in the coming months, but do not do it now or you’ll delete your YouTube channel (no bueno).”
The future of Google+
Google+ was launched in 2011 as a social network to take on Facebook and Twitter. There is no doubt about it that the social network has a beautiful interface and has spawned a number of standout Google products like Hangouts and Photos.
As of 2013, Google+ is understood to have amassed 540m active users — still far behind the more than 1bn that Facebook had amassed at that stage but well ahead of Twitter, which currently has 300m users.
Google+ will, however, live on as a social network and appears to be a sandbox for new features.
Google+ gave the world Hangouts and the Google Photos app, which have since become popular apps in their own right. Google will be putting location-sharing features into Hangouts and other apps.
Google will add new features to Google+ such as Google+ Collections where users can share posts organised by the topics they care most about.
Google+ image via Shutterstock