Google+ really never stood a chance competing with Facebook and Twitter. The odd design, confusing nomenclature–remember Circles? Sparks? — and the simple fact that no one ever really used it, Google’s grand plan to unite its many products into a single social product just didn’t develop.
In March, Google announced that they are breaking their Google+ social network into “Photos” and “Streams”. It appears that this is an attempt by Google to keep what they believe will be valuable going forward.
Photos and Streams will no longer be features of Google+; they will become two distinct products.
A lot of people in the industry see this as Google simply doing what Google does best: relentlessly optimizing its products based on data and feedback.
Google believed when it launched Google+ three years ago that it was a launching a series products built around a stream, a list of status updates and links that at that time was the core element of a social network. But, social networking is bigger than that, and as it has shifted to mobile it has split largely into two camps: messaging and photos. It has taken Google a while, but it seems to be they have finally realized that you can’t cram all these pieces into a single feed.
Google is very smart and will continue to refine their product offerings. But, at least for now, Google+ the way we knew it is dead. Stay tuned.