Google knows Search, but it’s still figuring out social. And marketers continue to get to play along and figure the rules as they go. The death march for Google+ hasn’t officially begun but it seems to continue to inch closer.
The Internet goliath recently announced a Google+ split.
“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,” Google’s SVP of Products, Sundar Pichai, stated to Forbes last week.
In a post on Google+ yesterday, Bradley Horowitz, an existing Google VP of Product, announced that he’d taken over responsibilities for the Google Photos and Google Streams product lines. Horowitz also confirmed that Google Hangouts would remain but as a separate entity.
Google+ has long been the butt of social media networking jokes, often being referred to as a “ghost town,” devoid of any real audience or user base. Google has tied Google+ into many of its other product offerings in attempts to build audience on the network, but users still reject the network as a place to spend their time. This is, in part, because so much is wrapped up with the Google+ brand. It has likely been a little too much for the layman to digest. Google has seen the need to simplify.
Photos and social communications are important, and Google knows that. So it’s reorganizing around those areas with hopes to create more distinct and noticeable advantages around these product offerings for its users. Streams, which is Google+’s Facebook-esque service for posting and commenting, will now get more attention as a standalone network. Similarly, making Google Photos a standalone product should help elevate its profile and advantages to the brand’s audience.
Just because the platform is splitting up does not mean it’s going away, not yet at least. Whether it’s photos or streams, Google will continue to be a social tool for brands and users. But to what extent and for what purpose? That remains to be seen.