Reports of Google+’s Death May Be Exaggerated

Google+’s Demise Continues to Be Predicted

Since it first rolled out, people have been declaring Google+ to be dead, and yet it keeps on rolling. It’s either the social network that wouldn’t die, or wouldn’t stop dying, depending on who’s telling it. The recent announcement of Vic Gundotra’s departure from Google only added to the rumors.

The Facts We Know

There aren’t a lot of known facts, beyond the departure of Vic Gundotra, the Google executive who’s guided Google+ from the beginning. Gundotra announced his plan to leave the company in a Google+ post on April 24th. He mentioned no reason for his departure.

Google co-founder Larry Page, added his own thoughts to Google+, thanking Gundotra for all his contributions to the company over 8 years. He gave no indication of a change of direction for Google+, saying, “In the meantime we’ll continue working hard to build great new experiences for the ever increasing number of Google+ fans.”

Unconfirmed Reports

Unconfirmed reports claim that Dave Besbris will be taking over management duties at Google+. This is according to several reports that claim to have vetted it from Google Marketing sources. Besbris has been Head of Engineering on Google+ since day 1. This move has not been publicly confirmed by Google, but seems like a very logical progression.

UPDATE: Yonatan Zunger, Chief Architect at Google+, has confirmed that Dave Besbris will be “taking over as head of Google+”.

Now Come the Rumors

Google+ users are accustomed to regular declarations (usually from non-users) that the service is either dead or dying. The flames were fanned further by an article at TechCrunch that yet again predicted the social network’s imminent demise, while not naming any sources. Some changes, such as less tight integration throughout Google products, is certainly possible as this has been a widely unpopular policy. The article also points to rumors of large staff reallocations away from Google+, and that the future vision of the service will be more as a platform than a product. But again, without reliable attribution, there were very few points that could be considered anything other than unconfirmed rumors.

An article at Ars Technica also jumped on the bandwagon, citing nothing other than the non-attributed rumors in the TechCrunch piece as reasons for the impending death of Google+. Both articles cited Google’s official denial that Gundotra’s leaving the company will have any impact on the company’s plans for Google+.

Final Questions

So with all that, we are left with a few unanswered questions:

  • Was Gundotra forced out, or did he leave on his own?
  • Does it matter if Google+ is considered a product or a platform?
  • Would moving people around actually be a negative thing?
  • We’ll be watching to see what really happens out of all this. Our experience of Google+ has not been the “ghost town” that has so often been referenced, but rather the most active and engaged community we’ve found on any social network.

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    1. Annette Thompson says

      Cali, I really liked your makeup in this episode. My husband and I are long time viewers and I think you looked more gorgeous than ever!


    2. anber500 says

      I love Google +. It’s the only social network I use on a daily basis. The real strength of this platform is it’s communities. Google + has great communities.

    3. says

      Great video and good job agree with the article and video but when picking apart journalism like this I’d not draw comparisons with “The Bible” in the same sentence as “Fact” and “Undisputed”. I know you mean people are referencing it as such… but still.

    4. Profile photo of MitchJ says

      Hi guys! Thank you SO much for making a special episode and helping to put this whole thing into perspective. I don’ think anyone else could have done it as nicely as you guys did. And it all comes with a lesson, too, to remember to stop and think after you read things in blogs, etc. so thank you for that. I agree that G+ is awesome. I have met so many new friends on G+ that I wouldn’t have met had I been soley on FB. I can post a snarky comment every now and then without worrying about my mom seeing it and coming down on me, as it would have happened on FB… It’s a unique platform, I love it as much as you guys do, and thank you for taking the time to “talk it out” with us. You guys are the best!

    5. Richard says

      Hey, the more you give lies credence the worse it gets. Stop talking about the lies from TechCrunch, ARS Technica, BoingBoing and GigaOm all who have a self interest to boost Facebook stock – many of the people who wrote stories have something to gain personally from trash talking G+.

      How about writing “Why Google Plus is getting better and better” for example.

      • Terry A says

        Richard, I disagree. The way to counter these type of attacks is to take it to the source. It would be better to link to John’s and Cali’s excellent reporting in a comment on TechCrunch, etc.

        The quickest way to expose sloppy reporting is to present an effective, resourced and documented argument.

        Heck, it might even make the others better reporters, since they would learn that if they try this, they will be called on it quickly and effectively.