metroui-google-plus-alt-iconIn a vague post late Sunday night, it was confirmed that Google was heading in the direction of dismantling Google+ into separate products – Streams and Photos. Not much else has been said about the changes, and from a user perspective, you won’t see a huge difference right now. It is projected that over the next few months, Google will continue to improve its technology to fully build out Streams and Photos as separate entities.

Google+ quickly went from interesting new toy with massive press coverage to a dusty social network that we always seem to be logged into but never really touch. While an active user base may have been the goal for Google+, it wasn’t the only one.

In 2011, when Google+ was released, Facebook’s user base was continuing to grow at a rapid pace…and along with it, its collection of user data. As a company that puts so much of its business focus behind advertising, Google had to do something to match Facebook’s now exploding database of user information.

Google+ was born out of this need to not only create a competitive social network, but also as means for Google to collect user data. Integrating directly into your Google account, Google+ kept users essentially “logged in” to the network at all times while browsing the web, suddenly making a connection between your user data and your personal data– your likes, dislikes, demographic information, etc.

Google+ did exactly what it was meant to do. Google now houses all of that user information, keeping advertisers and customers happy. It is constantly rolling out new advertising features utilizing the plethora of information at its fingertips.

What does this mean for PR pros and marketers? We just have to wait and see. Photos has the potential to be a new medium to share visual content for brands, like infographics or visual collateral. The jury’s still out on where Streams will be headed, but if it’s anything like the Google+ we’re used to, niche audiences will gravitate toward the site as another way to share thoughts and ideas on very specific topics.

Stay tuned to see what happens over the next few months as Google rolls out its two newest products. Will Google+ ride off into the sunset a la Google Reader and Buzz? Only time will tell…

Tori Sabourin
Marketing Analyst


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