Is Google Giving Up on G+?

Despite the rumors and internal shuffling, Google+ is likely to remain core to the future of Google.

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Several recent announcements have cast doubts on the future of Google+. Google’s social czar and head of G+ Vic Gundotra announced that he was stepping down on the 24th, and now there are reports that Google may be moving over 1,000 of its G+ staff onto other projects within the company. Questions are circulating about its future, but how likely is it that Google will abandon their network?

Alex Ander, writer for GooglePlusDaily, isn’t so easily convinced. He points to official statements from Google employees that the service will remain an important part of Google’s pantheon. “In essence, it’s probably safe to say that these rumors are nothing but hot air. However, that doesn’t mean that the changing of the guard won’t lead to some dramatically new changes to Google+ in the long term,” Ander writes.

Yonatan Zunger, chief architect at Google+, said in a post, “I’m very glad to see that we’re maintaining core continuity, and that our new leader is someone I trust so deeply.” Zunger also said that the TechCrunch article declaring G+ “walking dead” was “BS” and promised that G+ wasn’t going anywhere.

Gundotra’s departure isn’t leaving a power vacuum. Google CEO Larry Page has chosen Google+ VP of engineering Dave Bresbris to fill the top slot. According to Recode, Bresbris has been at Google since 2008 after spending ten years at AOL.

Given the connection between the popularity of Android devices and G+ gaining market share as a provider of social logins, it doesn’t make sense that Google would just abandon the network. Besides, G+ isn’t a ghost town.

It’s not difficult to take the position that G+ is a failed network; since the beginning, it’s had an image problem. However, G+ has also been a core product for Google. It informs and enriches other services, and even if it floats to the background as a service that’s primarily infrastructure, G+ is still the new Google.