Google will consider Google+ a platform rather than a product, TechCrunch reports, citing “multiple sources.”
This means that it will no longer exist as a social network aimed at competing with Facebook, but it still might be integrated into Google’s existing products.
The company has allegedly been shifting the teams that used to be at “the core” of Google+ and is moving more talent toward the Android team.
Google had 1,000 to 1,200 employees working on Google+. (Facebook has 6,818 employees.)
According to TechCrunch, here’s how the shakeup will play out:
- The Google Hangouts team will be moving to the Android team
- The Photo teams are also likely to move to the Android team
- The rest of the employees are likely to take on mobile projects, such as working on widgets that would employ Google+ as a platform rather than a product. However, Google is still undecided on the matter.
All of these Google+ changes surfaced after Vic Gundotra, who led Google+, announced that he was leaving Google.
A Google representative has denied to TechCrunch that any changes within the company’s Google+ strategy will change, saying that Gundotra’s exit has “no impact” on its plans for Google+.
Google is also reportedly scrapping mandatory Google+ integration with its other products. That doesn’t mean it will completely go away, but the integration might be scaled back.
Gundotra reportedly clashed with others inside the company, particularly around this idea of “forced” Google+ integrations into products like YouTube and Gmail.
The changes aren’t particularly surprising, given Google+ is a standalone social media site didn’t reach the level of popularity like Facebook. According to The Wall Street Journal, Google+ had about 7 million daily active users two years ago. By “active” the WSJ means those who read posts on the social network, not those who click Google+ notifications while using Google’s other services. It’s possible it’s grown since then, but considering that Google+ is being broken up, it seems unlikely that it had massive growth.