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If you thought Google+ was just something for standup comedians to tack onto the end of a quip about technology when they can't think of a better punchline, have we got news for you: Google+ is actually a full-service social media site. But don't get too excited, because Google is now scaling it down.
In a post on Google's official blog today, Bradley Horowitz, Google's "VP of Streams, Photos, and Sharing" wrote, "We made a few choices that, in hindsight, we've needed to rethink."
Sure, Google+ has its share of avid users, but if you're like most people, you got a Google+ profile the same week in June of 2011 that everyone else on Earth got theirs, sorted everyone you knew into "circles," then posted on Facebook about how you didn't know what to do on Google+, and never used it again. By fall of 2011, the service was already in the dustbin of potential "Facebook killers" where it sits today, along with its pals Ello and Diaspora.
According to Horowitz, Google "heard that it doesn't make sense for your Google+ profile to be your identity in all the other Google products you use." It seems that Google's overall plan for our lives includes some potentially useful tools that we've been ignoring, like location sharing, the community aspects of YouTube, and some unnamed features in the Google Photos app. These are going to be unshackled from the iron ball called Google+, and once they're freed, who knows? Maybe we'll all start using them.
The first thing you might notice is that, effective immediately, YouTube comments won't also be fed to Google+. One commenter on YouTube's blog post about the conscious uncoupling of these features remarked that this development will actually benefit the 10 people still using Google+: "Great news for being able to share videos here without Youtube commenters ruining the conversation," he wrote.
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