By Eoin Harmon – bbmm.ie
The Vice President of Product Management at Google Plus, Bradley Horowitz, has declared that the social media website will be revamped and tailored for specific needs. While the moniker ‘Google+’ is unlikely to disappear, the Photos and Streams services will be split away and made standalone.
Google+ as a whole has been left trailing in the wake of Facebook, but it has become a dependable place for people to perform certain tasks. The G+ Photos section allows users to upload, share and edit photos with fellow users. The site is also well integrated with other software (including mobile), which allows for better functionality across the board.
The Google Plus Stream, as it is currently known, is the equivalent to a Facebook news feed. Any engaging activity that takes place among your circles can be found here. However, Horowitz is not responsible for overseeing the Google+ Hangouts features.
Arguably the most valued and used G+ programme, Hangouts allow for up to ten people to enter a video call on any device and set it to be private or viewable to the public on YouTube. Skype is the main competitor to Hangouts as Facebook does not tap into this market as effectively.
Speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday, Sundar Pichai confirmed the continued availability of Hangouts. He said “For us Google+ was always two big things: one was building a stream, the second was a social layer, a common layer of identity…but the second goal was in some ways an even more important goal for us. I think we’re at a stage where use cases like photos and communications are big standalone use cases so we’re going to think of this as a stream first, and then photos and communications as big new areas.”
If the Google+ name does indeed survive, it could still be a tough sell to bring a much needed influx of users onto the service. Some people are unwilling to participate as many of their closest friends might not have G+. Others may still bear a grudge since November 2013 after the massively contentious move to force YouTube account holders to accept a generated G+ account in order to comment.
For satisfied members of Google Plus, however, this move should be helpful to them as they can just concentrate on what the site does very well.