Google+ — the social media platform that really never took off — is going to become nothing much more than an afterthought in the coming few months.
According to a post on the Official Google Blog, the company will be soon decoupling Google+ from many of its core products; users without a Google+ profile will not be forced to sign up for one, and those that have will eventually be able to remove themselves from the network.
First up in the reduction of the social network: the company’s video service. Google+ and YouTube will be separated from each other, with some features being phased out as early as today.
In a post on the YouTube Blog, the service announced that, beginning today, comments posted to YouTube will gradually stop posting to users’ Google+ profiles. And the Google+ and YouTube divorce will continue on in the coming weeks — users will be able to comment and share videos without having a Google+ profile at all.
Google users have, for some time, been required to sign up for Google+ profile to utilize many of the company’s offerings. Back in 2013 — much to the chagrin of users — Google+ became a requirement to comment and share videos on YouTube. The supposed motivation behind this move was well-intentioned; Google claimed they began requiring Google+ profiles on YouTube to cut down on comment spam and nasty remarks. However, most simply saw this move by Google as a way to inflate their social network’s numbers, and try to get people to use the service even more.
The fact that Google is not only rescinding the requirement to have a Google+ profile on sites like YouTube — but also, allowing people to remove existing ones — marks a stark contrast of the company’s attitude about Google+ from the last few years.