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Game Over? Is Google Getting Rid of Social Network Google+?

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Friday, Google’s  Senior Vice President Vic Gundotra announced that he would be leaving the company after eight years. The first obvious question is where does this leave Google+, Gundotra’s baby and primary project for the past several of those years.

What is being said by multiple sources is that Google+ will no longer be considered a product, but a platform — essentially ending its competition with other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

A Google representative has vehemently denied these claims. “Today’s news has no impact on our Google+ strategy — we have an incredibly talented team that will continue to build great user experiences across Google+, Hangouts and Photos.”

According to two sources, Google has apparently been reshuffling the teams that once formed the core of Google+, a group of between 1,000 and 1,200 employees. There’s a new building on campus, so speculation is that many of those people are being moved physically, as well — not necessarily due to Gundotra’s departure.

As part of these staff changes, the Google Hangouts team will be moving to the Android team, and it’s likely that the photos team will follow, these people said. Basically, talent will be shifting away from the Google+ kingdom and toward Android as a platform.

One big change for Google+ is that there will no longer be a policy of “required” Google+ integrations for Google products, something that has become de rigueur for most product updates.

One impetus of this was that the YouTube integration with Google+ did not go well, something that the public recognized through the comments blowback, but that was also seen inside the company as a rocky move.

That doesn’t mean that all G+ integrations will go away, though. Gmail will continue to have it, but there may be some scaling back that keeps the “sign-on” aspects without the heavy-handed pasting over of G+.

Read the full story at: techcrunch.com

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