Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Google Minus

Must be a rough day to be working at Google. Bradley Horowitz, VP of “Streams, Photos, and Sharing”:

People have told us that accessing all of their Google stuff with one account makes life a whole lot easier. 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.

So in the coming months, a Google Account will be all you’ll need to share content, communicate with contacts, create a YouTube channel and more, all across Google. YouTube will be one of the first products to make this change, and you can learn more on their blog. 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.

Much as Horowitz spins this as “focusing” Google+, the reality is that Google is slowly peeling away any dependence on it. Take a look at how it’s being “focused”:

Google+ is quickly becoming a place where people engage around their shared interests, with the content and people who inspire them. In line with that focus, we’re continuing to add new features like Google+ Collections, where you can share and enjoy posts organized by the topics you care about.

So they added a Pinterest clone. Is that useful? Were people asking for that?

At the same time, we’ll also move some features that aren’t essential to an interest-based social experience out of Google+. For example, many elements of Google+ Photos have been moved into the new Google Photos app, and we’re well underway putting location sharing into Hangouts and other apps, where it really belongs. We think changes like these will lead to a more focused, more useful, more engaging Google+.

All of the stuff that actually boosted Google+’s active user numbers — YouTube comments, photo sharing, and so on — is being removed from Google+. What’s it left with? A discussion board nobody really uses? Does that sound good for the future health of Google+?

Update: To clarify: I love Pinterest a lot; I think it’s one of the best things to come out of Silicon Valley in a long time. I question the application of its concept in the context of Google+.