Google+ has been all the rage recently as marketing blogs across the world try to hack their way into a negative understanding of Google’s latest blog post. As resident Google+ expert, I’m going to put my foot down and say, “Dead? Google+ isn’t dead!” Nor is it intending on dying anytime soon.
Google’s post this last Monday said,
When we launched Google+, we set out to help people discover, share and connect across Google like they do in real life. While we got certain things right, we made a few choices that, in hindsight, we’ve needed to rethink. So over the next few months, we’re going to be making some important changes.”
Sure, get terrified. Many people have. The truth of the matter is, this isn’t news at all.
Google goes on to explain how some of these changes will roll out. They talk about the discovery of their most engaging resources and how sharing new interests inspired them to create Google+ Collections. This new feature started in May. That doesn’t sound like a surrendering social network to me. However, Google doesn’t stop there.
The recent announcement also includes a pat on the back for their recent upgrade to Google+ Photos, which is now simply the Google Photos app. This update sparked the first major wave of recent assumptions when several bloggers announced this was the “end of times” for the social network. That simply isn’t the case.
Google+ Photos still exists as a link right there on your Google+ dashboard. Google+ photos link still allows you to keep your photos private or share them with a select number of people or particular Circles you’ve established on your profile. Google Photos app? That’s more of an upgrade than a complete change. After all, if you’ve been a fan of Google long enough you’ll remember this originally was branded as Picasa with a desktop app and its very own website.
The new photos app allows seamless mobile browsing and has warranted itself an upgrade to the photos.google.com subdomain. As part of this new upgrade, you can now search your photos even if you have never tagged them, updated them, or sorted them at all. Just by typing “lion” into my photos update, I am instantly reminded of a trip to Africa several years ago without ever having to scroll or ask myself, “What year was that?”
Google uses these two recent product updates to assure you that improvements are being made all around.
As for your Google+ profile, removing the “forced” sign in for all Google products it not new news. In September of last year, Google no longer required that you have a Google+ account to utilize any Google product. In fact, they never really did. Your YouTube account and your Gmail account came first. You logged in separately. Remember? It was a thing. Google+ married these products together for an easy single sign-on. Unfortunately, in creating that process, the mistake was made that every new account automatically created a new Google+ profile for you, whether you thought you had or not. As of last year, the auto-creation was fixed. However, you can still enjoy a single sign-on environment by logging in to your Gmail account and seamlessly visiting Drive, Google+, YouTube, Photos, and more.
The real news is this:
…a Google Account will be all you’ll need to share content, communicate with contacts, create a YouTube channel and more, all across Google.
When did that become the dawn of time? Calm down. Keep from panicking. This rebranding and marketing has been created to tell you, “It is all going to be ok.”
The branding of Google Accounts is also new. However, your Google Account is really just a new branded term for saying, “You’ve logged into your Gmail, now you can visit any Google product site you want without needing a new login or requiring Google+.” Yayyyy! That has been the case for 11 months now. The core of the announcement, I mean the part that is actually brand new is as follows:
- You can surf, share, and communicate on Google+ as your Gmail account identity and do not need to have your profile to show off personal posts
- For people that want to delete or create a Google+ account for use, the ability to manage your Google+ profiles will appear much easier (aka the deletion of your Google+ profile won’t, in turn, delete your Hangouts access or disconnect other connected accounts)
Google wants to be sure you know, YouTube will be the first product to make changes, and your Google Account is not searchable or followable, unlike your public Google+ profiles.
What does this mean?
This update means if you want to get rid of any public Google identity, it will be easier to do so.
Mostly what this means is that Google has taken their products to the next level and rather than announcing a new version, they brand each different area and announce exactly what you want to hear. These announcements are worded in reply to direct feedback.
All in all, it is a brilliant move for Google. Allowing everyone to feel free of their social media connection boosts an odd sense of morale with customers, yet I can almost guarantee that creating a simple, unified platform that allows you to be interactive on Google+ even without your profile will, in turn, mean more profiles for Google+.
Simplified: This is a new, branded effort to increase engagement on Google+.