Google Is Not Killing Google+: Rumors Continue

Vic Gundotra’s departure on Apr 24th, 2014 spawned several articles speculating the fate of Google+. TechCruch’s report, often cited by other media outlets, however has lacked facts. It was based on anonymous sources but did not substantiate. Clearly, there are a lot of opinions but not enough information.

I wanted to collect all these opinion pieces and posts across the web and on Google+ to track the story. I don’t believe Google is going to kill Google+. As this post by Danny Sullivan suggests that Plus profile is the unifying glue to connect user’s web activity. I agree that is important to Google’s core business. Does that mean that people won’t be able to use the channel to connect and share? Not at all, I believe that will be available to users who want to do so.

+1 is a form of social sharing now. That, I don’t think is going to change. The focus could be more on Hangouts and other features. And why not? Shoppable Hangouts are a great way to create immersive experiences. Helpouts and Plus Post Ads, which surprisingly just launched a week before these speculations began, are definitely opportunities for brands.

So without further ado, here goes.
TechCrunch article that started all this in the first place
TIME and Business Insider follow up citing the unsubstantiated TC article
Danny Sullivan’s ‘what if‘ Google did kill Google+ – some interesting points but again speculation not facts

Matt Cruikshank, former Google employee, rebuts
David Amerland breaks down the TC article and explains why it does not hold any water

Posts on Google+ by Power Users and Google employees on the state of affairs at Google+

Amanda Blain’s open letter

Moritz Tolxdorff Google employee states there is nothing afoot

Yonatan Zunger, another Googler tells it the way it is

Dustin W. Stout lists posts on Google+

The debate continues. I do believe Google+ has its benefits. I especially like that comments are integrated with YouTube, it makes people less likely to troll. And why is this any different than commenting using Facebook Connect? The activity across different channels are consolidated. I think that is beneficial to brands and users. Even, the ability to embed posts allows users to comment on the post within the blog environment, something even Facebook’s embed feature doesn’t allow. And as far as interactions go, even Twitter does not generate tons of interaction. Here is a MOZ post that analyzes number of retweets. Basically, the rule of thumb 1.3 retweet per 10K followers. How is this a great interaction rate? It’s the context, Twitter engagement is not just retweets, it is the click through to the site.

Even if there is merit to the notion of single purpose apps, as Danny Sullivan explores, using Google+ to connect and share is one way to get the data. People who want to post to Google+ will be able to do so. That doesn’t change so then what really has?