A little more than four years ago, Google unveiled Google+, an awkwardly named social network that Google hoped would become a serious rival to Facebook. It goes without saying that didn’t happen even though Google annoyingly tried to push the platform onto anyone who used any of its services. Google has spent the last several months chopping up Google+’s most useful pieces and making them separate services as it moves away from making Google+ the central hub for all Google-related activity. And on Monday, the company announced its most drastic step for breaking up Google+ year.
Google now says that in the coming months, you’ll only need to create a Google account to do things such as creating a YouTube channel, communicating with contacts and other key functionalities. In the past you’d have to have a Google+ account before doing these things but now Google has decided that Google+ is completely unnecessary to the entire process.
“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,” Google explains on its official blog. “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.”
It’s worth reflecting a bit on just why Google+ bombed so hard in the first place. Business Insider has a lengthy report that explains how Google basically created the service in reaction to the rise of Facebook without considering whether it really brought anything compelling to the table for end users.
For our part, the biggest issue with Google’s social network is that it just wasn’t social enough — the layout of the site wasn’t as inviting or friendly as Facebook’s traditional layout has been and we still haven’t seen any indication that Google really gets how the social web works. This tweet from Tom Coates back in 2011, for our money, absolutely nailed it:
Fundamentally, Google is a utility. No one wants to hang out at their power company.
— Tom Coates (@tomcoates) June 28, 2011