• http://www.photographybyjrae.com J. Rae

    this is very interesting – and scary. I’ve spent a lot of time on Google+, and though I’m not known for being a G+ yay-sayer, it would be a shame to see it go. I like the way it is now – being able to share a photo with a post together. Lol. I’ve learned how to get engagement like that. And I’d hate to have to re-learn all over again.

  • http://omgubuntu.co.uk/ Joey-Elijah Sneddon

    Fantastic and insightful article, Danny! Plenty food for thought and opportunities if they do decide to ‘re-unbundle the big red +’…

  • http://www.waspkilluk.co.uk/ Simon Berenyi

    Google+ is among the best placed social media channels for SEO on the basis that Google can map historic and track new interactions along with any authority. Google wont kill Google+, they will remaster it.

    “IF” people tire of social media in its current form, which is not out of the question, they will look for a more agile replacement and Google+ could evolve into such a creature.

    We all hear people talking about context, and the next social evolution will be played out to a more technically sophisticated public, excited by products that are smarter and in tune with who they need and not just what they need. It sounds like dating!

    Imagine the opportunities!

  • Lamaur Cheetum

    If Google + sells their websites to another company they are going to be slower than an old computer. Then the new pages that are going to compete with Google + are not going to mind the internet being so easy and less competive it also reveils who?? ……finish later

  • BEGreen777

    I like being able to send both my photos and videos from my phone to a safe haven in case my phone is lost or destroyed. I also keep my magazine links on G+. So it would be a pretty godawful day if Googs boots the +. Thanks.

  • AbbyZFresh

    i hope so. Hopefully Google finally kills it and returns YouTube back to normal.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    For the record, Google’s deal with Twitter did NOT kill the value of links coming from Twitter. The Google-Twitter deal powered “Real Time Search”, but Twitter links that Google found through natural Web crawl continued to help Websites — until Twitter itself began changing how its links worked. Twitter links are now essentially invisible to Google’s link graph.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    “Hopefully Google finally kills it and returns YouTube back to normal.”

    We have a saying in the software industry: “No improvement will be reverted to improve user experience for that would prove that no further improvements are needed.”

    Or, something like that.

  • AbbyZFresh

    I’ll simply stop using Google services if that they believe there are no further improvements if they don’t remove G+ off of YT and kill it. Nobody but tech nerds(i love tech but i see poorly executed software when i see it) and anti-Facebook enthusiasts use that crappy site. Time to Google+ to rest already.

  • Sharon Oakley

    What about Local?!?! The transition from Places to the +Local dashboard with social features has been and continues to be a major issue for SMBs. Undoing that wouldn’t be pretty, MapMaker as it is cannot absorb it, and the old places is finally(?) gone.

  • Lucas Brendel

    I think what has hurt it is the lack of a write API.

  • http://jameswilliams.be/blog James Williams

    I’m constantly amused that so-called thought leaders whose public engagement have been absent from Google+ since Jan 2012 are sounding a death knell.

  • http://jameswilliams.be/blog James Williams

    I think that’s only hurt the ability for people to dump dupe content there like I see so many do with Twitter -> Facebook. Many don’t ever interact with comments on their Twitter spam pushed to FB.

  • http://alienmindtrick.blogspot.com/ FreeRangeRadical

    I’ve gone through several Google genocidal phases, including iGoogle which I still miss.

    If they kill G+, I’ll find other services and platforms to use. At some point, they’ve got to get their feces consolidated and stop killing off perfectly fine products.

    I also got the survey a couple days ago asking about them killing off G+, so I know first hand that it must be in consideration.

    I hate Facebook with a purple passion, but I’ll dump Google wholesale and go back to FB.

    Enough’s enough!

  • clibou

    Zuck unbundling big blue. Page unbundling G+. Vic was not onboard?

  • Ilia Draznin

    “it could allow Google to better fight on the new social battlefield, that of single-purpose social apps”

    This is where I stopped reading (okay, not really) because that is an old-fashioned idea. Case in point:

    “Indeed, the real worry for Facebook has been people leaving it for
    single-purpose social apps, like Instagram or WhatsApp — which also
    explains Facebook’s purchasing of those.”

    See, in case you weren’t aware, Facebook’s idea of social is still firmly rooted in the past decade. No wonder they completely misunderstand where the web is moving.
    Which is towards integrated and unified experiences. Of course there will still be some single-purpose apps and websites, but more and more integration is happening. Less and less do we open one app for video calls, another for a phone call and another for a message – no, if anything apps are bringing those together. Same for maps apps integrating reviews, location photos and the ability to buy show tickets or reserve a table.

    Some are blind to the trend but I think Google for the most part realizes that that’s the future of the web. Hence the move for Google+ to become a platform, not just a website.

    “What we’re hearing from 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”

    Well TechCrunch got one thing right, Google+ won’t be competing with Facebook and Twitter, but not because they’ve given up, rather because they’re going to be playing on a whole new level – there won’t be any competition to speak off, at least not from the old guard.

  • bugclipper

    interesting to see that most shares of this article are on g+ :)

  • Bas van den Beld

    I think that you really have to look at things separately. There’s Google+ and there’s Google+. This sentence for me is essential in this discussion:

    “What we’re hearing from multiple sources is that Google+ will no longer be considered a product, but a platform”

    In my view the platform part og G+ has always been ‘leading’ behind the scenes and it was never a ‘real Facebook killer’. Eric Schmidt actually said it was an ‘identification tool’. The ‘product part’, G+ as a social network was/is first and foremost a tool to provide that: knowledge about people. Even if they would kill the social network part, behind the scenes Google+ would still be active, as the identification tool.

    It will be behind every product, behind every single purpose app, doing what it has always done: gather information.

    So ‘killing’ Google+ is relative I think.

  • dorkmo

    it’d be nice if you could add RSS feeds to the google+ news feed

  • Matt McGee

    That’s pretty common with any article we write about Google+, pro or con.

  • http://hashimwarren.com/ Hashim Warren

    ‘How would you feel is X didn’t exist anymore’ is a common marketing survey question

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    I didn’t say it killed the value of links. I said it killed any desire Google had for ever depending on a third-party for social data again, after having so wired up the service initially to a third-party. Which is what Google itself has said several times.

  • sweethart McFishtitts

    I heard that google+ is going to be scrapped. I dont think thats a good idea. Granted G+ has its problems,  a lot of problems. But I think G+ is primed to lay Facebook on its ear, with some tweaking of corse. I just wish I could speak or email someone about the ideas I have. G+ has everything going for it your people just need to put them in the right order and everything will fall right into place. All the pieces are there and mayby a couple new ideas I have will put G+ over the top. Please contact me I would love to help this take off. Not that you guys need my help but I would love to contribute with some “boots on the ground” info.  Thank you

  • seokungfu

    As long as it is standing we will expl…make use of it :D

  • Lauren

    I was so thrilled when G+ came out… then I realized it had no more respect for my privacy or freedom than FB does. So I was simply not interested. Then when G+ became mandatory for YouTube use, that just pissed me off, so I became anti-G+.

  • Saday Kumar

    Nothing will happen.. Google will again introduce a new social sharing platform and it will go on and on….. Only thing will happen is, we will get a new stuff, we will learn that and again these types of news will be published….

  • Michael Olsen

    Hopefully they won’t kill the G+ stream…after all orkut still exists. It is a strong second to Facebook, drives traffic and has great communities, especially in photo and tech.
    BTW the social aspect of YouTube was a disaster before the G+ integration.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hector.maciasayala Hector Macias Ayala

    That would only prove it was not an improvement, pridehurt!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/hector.maciasayala Hector Macias Ayala

    I’ve seen this profile somewhere.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    What is a social signal from Twitter? While I am sure we could propose several, the links would be one of those proposed signals. The links on Twitter used to have a measurable impact on search results. Many people remain convinced that Google looks at social signals. This confusion is, I believe, due in strong part to a misunderstanding among marketers about how and why Twitter was once so influential outside of Real Time Search.

    If Twitter were to open up its links to crawlers again I believe those links would start helping sites again. This has nothing to do with the firehose.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    Yes, it would prove there was no improvement but the point — as it was once explained to me when I was a rather young and naive and idealistic programmer — was that in software development you should only go forward, not backward.

    Of course, it’s a different situation for software that creates and modifies data structures (like the database used by a CMS). If you add fields and records types in version 2 then reverting to version 1 becomes impossible — your customers lose valuable data.

    On the Web where user interface design becomes an issue it’s not the users who will lose data so much as the publishers who will lose data collection points; I am sure they don’t want to revert because they want to save those data collection points, or at least the ones that prove themselves.

  • http://beyondmund.blogspot.com/ James Harris

    So much on G+ is hidden away, and remember part of the reason given by pundits for Google having its own social media site was that Facebook had so much information–hidden away from Google.

    If you understand search, then you know why Google will not kill G+.

    Hidden information is the secret to search and why Microsoft is so screwed. Facebook I guess doesn’t wish to go into it. (And yes I know about pagerank and using public info, but if that were all, why hasn’t Microsoft done better with Bing?)

    Actually I’m a bit disappointed by the article as it doesn’t look like Danny refreshed on why G+ was created in the first place to the point I made above.

    If Google kills off G+ or sidelines it, what does it have to counter vast amounts of info hidden behind Facebook’s walls?

    Or do you suppose Google would just give up?

    By having its own social media platform, which allows people to have the same type of privacy as on Facebook, and even better with vast rivers of info flowing in circles not public, Google can keep up with what kind of information is in that region.

    I think Danny should look in the mirror and ask himself, why oh why did he get things so wrong?

    Oh yeah the recent move to showing profile views is highly significant in my opinion as to what it allows now, how it shifts behavior on the platform, and what a difference it makes to very famous people, big media players and major corporations as well as for people like me. (Having that public display matters as yes people with pages have analytics.)

    Did you miss that too?

  • damiantrasler

    OH MY GOD! “Multiple anonymous sources”? Well, I’d certainly believe that over genuine press releases from Google. Excellent. My multiple un-anonymous sources say that G+ is a healthy social networking site that is going just fine, thank you.

    What do you think about the reachapocalypse on Facebook, where only the paying customers will be able to reach new customers, edging out the small business and independent users? Or is Facebook bashing not clickbait enough? That would be understandable, with G+ having more users who are actively engaged, rather than posting sandwich photos……

    So why the gleeful re-reporting of rumours?

  • http://www.tellagence.com/ Matt Hixson

    Nice article. Google+ is much less about social than a unifying identity. People are posting there so they don’t miss out but little is coming out of it. It has the potential to be very powerful as that single identity for what Google and vendors can do with it through the API.

  • http://www.seocorporation.net/ Vishal Vivek

    The way Google has been trying to force G+ through unified branding models has been pathetic. Some day back I was so much irritated with this G+ thing that I forced delete the inbuilt Google+ plus app from my nexus. I think it is going no where just like Google buzz.

  • http://raszl.com/ iraszl

    I don’t think Google will G+ because it was never meant to be a Facebook killer. It’s a way to generate valuable meta data about recent content. It’s a search engine enhancer to stay ahead of bing.

    I love Google+, my fav. social network.

  • Garvey

    + it should be merged with or somehow have the hangouts calling feature within it just like you can call somebody with Facebook do the same thing with google numbers that I use for business now.

    Also the product links when they + it as endorsement should weigh greater with search, much like any URL link would.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Why the mention of the rumors? Because when they come from multiple sources, and in the wake of a leadership change at Google, they’re noteworthy. Also noteworthy is Google’s denial, which was right up there in the lead.

    The article doesn’t say the rumors are true; it explores whether Google+ could be closed and what might happen, if so. Google has a history of closing many products people couldn’t believe would ever be closed, such as Google Reader. Exploring the Google+ case seemed worthwhile.

    What I think about the decline of organic engagement per post on Facebook is that there’s much more competition on Facebook to reach the massive audience there, and when you have more competition, any individual post is going to have less chance of reach. I also think Facebook still drives far, far more traffic to publishers than Facebook, sandwich photos or not.

    Clearly, you like Google+. Guess what — I do, too. But that doesn’t blind me to the idea that Google could potentially close it.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    I understand search pretty well. And I had an entire section outlining why Google started Google+ as a search effort and the challenges it faces if it were to abandon that. I guess I’d ask — did you just ignore that entire section?

    Go back and read it. Take care full note of how Google almost gleefully exclaims that it doesn’t use Google+ information in ranking unpersonalized results. Then ask yourself why it would do that, ignore that information, when as you say it is supposedly so important to counter the Facebook info.

  • http://beyondmund.blogspot.com/ James Harris

    Danny you note correctly that Google does not let you push up search results with Google+ but that’s not the same as not using Google+ data at all in search. I understand your SEO perspective on trying to get higher in search, but that’s not Google’s perspective which I’ll guess–I don’t work for them–is to deliver best search results to Google’s customers. So no, I did not ignore that section.

    Besides, there is a better explanation for recent shifts–more moves to mobile.

    Facebook had great recent earnings on mobile.

    Google+ is ok, but could be better on mobile with the desktop deprecated which may be the actual fight. Disagreement about creative focus within the Google+ team away from desktop to mobile, which also helps explain moves related to Android you mention–thanks for that reporting–which is, of course, the dominant mobile force.

    If Google is going to best leverage its own technological capabilities with regard to Google+ and mobile it makes sense you’d see moves between those divisions.

    The reality is that Google+ is doing ok for how long it has existed versus the decade plus that Facebook has been around. And yes things move fast in our day and age but it still usually takes at least 5 years to really gain momentum in general–which is a position I echo from Larry Page.

    Picking fights with Google+ now might be a really bad decision as your timing may be really, really bad and this article might be tossed back at you in a couple of years as showing you really just didn’t understand how mobile is pushing the dynamics.

    I say, look at mobile first when trying to figure out big moves by the big players and then start checking for other reasons.

    And thanks for your reply! It is enjoyable engaging on these issues. Great fun!

  • Olaf2

    Bring back none-G+ Youtube accounts and I will come back.

    But Google has been replaced by Bing last year for me after I terminated everything that was related to Google+

    In the Lord of the Rings, you have this “On ring to control them all”. That was Google+.

    Now next step is to make Microsoft to stop people forcing on live.com and the cloud (Office 365) It is as bad as Google.

    And facebook should also stop the going the direction of Google+ with their Whatsapp takeover. It also made me uninstall every app related to facebook.

    It is incredible risky if you are a smoking hot woman forced you to use your real name and people can trace you back where you live even follow where you are via the Android phone. Especially when you live in a dangerous zone like Ukraine right now where every post you ever made might send you to a labour camp in Siberia.

  • AlaninMontreal

    I just recently killed my Google+ profile and, in the process, of course all of my posts. I grew tired of trying to convince people that G+ is a good platform. No one cares. No one wants to leave Facebook. And why would they. Facebook gets it right. Meanwhile, walk into any room any where in Canada or the US and ask 10 people how many of them have active G+ accounts which they actually use on the G+ platform. Now ask about Facebook. It’ becomes clear quickly that G+ is a massive failure as a social network, despite that fact that 50% of the posts on G+ are from G+ fanatics who tell us that our lives and businesses will fail if we don’t have active, booming G+ profiles and pages. I had almost 800 people circle me on G+. I knew maybe 2 of them beyond G+. I just grew tired of using the “J” keyboard shortcut to move from boring post to boring post. So goodbye G+. You won’t be missed.

  • AlaninMontreal

    They’re not selling. Probably unbundling. Read the article above again. You’ll end up with a separate Google Photos app and Hangouts. Maybe even Google Reader. But Google will maintain control of them as separate entities.

  • AlaninMontreal

    Yes. You will be able to do that. With separate Google Apps – just like “Hangouts” is a separate app.

  • AlaninMontreal

    Not only that, but it’s the most “unsocial” network. Few people actually know people in their G+ circles. And the atmosphere, even in Communities, is sour. People are rude and spam abounds. In the end, I see G+ as “Usenet 2.0”. Worthless. And full of spam and nasty people who hide behind their devices.

  • AlaninMontreal

    Sorry, but G+ is 3 years into this experiment. Seems that they’re so far ahead of the curve that no one wants to use them. It’s all very well to be ahead of the curve, but you have to ensure you’ve chosen the correct curve to lead. Personally, I think G+ blew it big time. They became more complete at a time that people — especially teens – were leaving FB and they were unable to cash in on it. You only have to ask 10 people you know personally how many of them are active on G+ to see that it hasn’t lived up to expectations. Only social media “experts” seem to think that G+ was the cat’s meow. No one else cares.

  • AlaninMontreal

    Only for companies who are thinking of committing suicide. I’ve never been asked this question by any other corporation. “How would you feel if Apple went away”. Nope.

  • AlaninMontreal

    …except most of us don’t have a single friend or colleague using it. Hardly a sign of a successful product.

  • http://hashimwarren.com/ Hashim Warren

    Alan, read an example of that question being asked in this major, cross brand survey: http://www.gensler.com/uploads/documents/2013_Brand_Engagement_Survey_10_21_2013.pdf

    The brands include Google, McDonalds, and yes Apple.

    That question is a common marketing survey question. They hope to understand the emotional attachment users have to a brand, NOT telegraph that they want to shut down a service.

  • Devil Driver

    If they killed it Jesus would come back, unicorns would shoot skittles outta their rears and Tenzig Norgay would walk again

  • http://tjadclark.com/ Tjad Clark

    The techcrunch article is very misleading and very weak evidence


  • Green Matter

    Among the Google stuff (Google+/ Chrome/ Blogger/ Analytics), Google+ shines top (on my Google Hands-On Half-Truth) for the past 6 months. – Hands-On Green Matters

  • http://www.blogginglove.com/ Ravi Chahar

    It is always told that Google+ is the platform by which we can boost up the level of our business. But now the rumors about killing Google+ are frightening users.

  • BenDoverPls

    What would happen if Google pulled the plug on Google+?

    Same thing as if Google kept Google+.


  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Google said it wasn’t about being a Facebook killer. And yet, that’s what they obviously wanted.

    In terms of building a tool that pulls in social data, it’s very successful in pulling that in. Sorry I didn’t get into that more explicitly, but it’s kind of woven into how it potentially could have standalone social products.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    It was indeed meant to be that. Google never said that, but if the goal wasn’t to compete with Facebook, they wouldn’t have built a Facebook clone in the first place.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    I haven’t picked any fight with Google. I’m just outlining a What If should Google+ actually be retired or devolved.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    He will exist as a standalone app.

  • http://raszl.com/ iraszl

    But how is it a Facebook clone? It had functionality that Facebook had to copy to keep up. All social networks are based on statuses. Twitter, Instagram, etc.

  • http://www.gaycelebritygossip.com/ John Hollywood

    I disagree with this statement. There are many wonderful communities on G+. Also, many people on g+ gather around topical issues. Why do they need to “know” each other to socialize?

  • http://tradematch.us Rob Gordon

    There is another way it could happen. The heart of Google+ is “the stream” – but how to get rid of that without pissing off tons of people? Google could add something line a “people search” to search and all comments would be directly on the Google profile. They are now, but no one interacts with the system that way. This might even be a positive – there is a sense on Google+ that your posts are part of “the commons” and you have no right to them. It is becoming increasingly culturally restrictive and this may even be a positive.

  • Hoarfraust

    Please let it be true. %^$# Google+ being forced down our throats. I want my Youtube back.

  • YesCubanB

    If this were six months ago, I could have cared less. After that 2013 holiday video montage they randomly created out of my pics and vids from last year, I’m looking forward to 2014’s G+ video montage. It actually makes me take more pics and vids for that very reason. Thatns an incredible feature.

  • mathewmakio

    Cool, now I can stop about trying to integrate all these stupid Google+ buttons to rank better. Was a stupid idea anyway. Content shouldn’t be a popularity contest, they should be able to calculate who has the better content.

  • http://petestean.com/ Pete Stean

    You won’t know this if you don’t have the appropriate people in your circles, but Google+ is *the* place for discussions around photography, heavy debates about open source software, technology and so on. There’s nowhere else like it, and it bears absolutely no resemblance to Facebook (which is probably dominated by the noisiest of your acquaintances if your account is anything like mine…).

    That being said, Google+ itself is not core to Google’s business, and they’ve killed both of their previous forays into the social space (Buzz & Wave, both of which I used). It would be a shame to see it go, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they at the very least ‘de-emphasise’ it going forward.

  • William MATAR

    I use Google Plus from Lebanon with a very very popular page @discover lebanon and I am very satisfied.. so I dont understand what this article stands for… nothing gossip…

  • William MATAR

    I don’t know what it means all this articles… Am super satisfied with my Google plus page and profile. Who told no one read the posts… No way I have a lot of plus one comments and share to my posts

  • http://www.dmzilla.com/ DMZilla

    Google is also back-pedaling on the way it was using Google Authorship in search results to encourage authors like us to use the service.