It looks like Google is deciding to take a step back in its takeover of the internet by removing the Google+ stranglehold that has taken over its services.
Bradley Horowitz, who along with Vic Gundotra led the Google+ project, said that users will no longer need a Google+ account to get the full extent of it’s other services, most notably YouTube. Currently people who want to make a new account on Google’s services needed to make a Google+ account in order to comment and be a part of the online community. Soon any Google email or account will suffice. For now they recommend you keep your current Google+ account until the changes are made.
Google has received plenty of backlash from this restriction since most people didn’t want to make an another unnecessary account. YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim is among those who spoke out against Google’s move to restrict YouTube to non-Google+ users.
Google+ was launched four years ago, and the plan was to absorb all the ways people use current social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram onto one single platform. But the way Google+ tried to break into the social media game was not trendy, it was rude. Rather than slowly build a loyal core of users and expand its grip by offering incentives to connect your accounts on one platform, they bullied people into making accounts that mostly never go to use. I myself made a Google+ account to access YouTube properly, but that’s the only use I’ve ever gotten from it.
Although the number of Google+ accounts was huge, about 300 million active users a month according to Gundotra in 2013, the amount of activity is skeptical. Most were probably situations like mine where I use it in order to continue using YouTube the way I could before. In comparison, Facebook has about 1.4 billion active monthly users, and those accounts are probably getting more traffic than the Google+ ones.
Google+ was never able to capture the online world the way Facebook or Twitter have. Facebook has been able to appeal to all ages, and users have established profiles from which they shape their online identity. The work to restart and rebuild an online profile proved to be to big a burden for most people to be bothered with. Even though if we all switched and grew with Google+ it would probably offer an upgraded user-friendly experience, most of use are too immersed in our current social media accounts to do so.
Although Google’s first dip in the social media pool didn’t turn out so well, knowing Google they will come back with something better. Extensive research and testing is what they do best, so I’m excited to see how they’ll bounce back.