In what can be termed as the one of the most dramatic administrative and managerial changes in the social networking arena, Vic Gundotra, head of Google+ has announced his retirement from Google today. The decision has left many in disbelief and further raises questions on the future of Google+. The reason for his departure still remains a mystery, but this can prove to be a hard pill to swallow for Google’s strategy makers.
If reports are to be believed, Google+ will no longer compete with Facebook and Twitter, and therefore Google’s mission to enforce Google+ into every product will take a backseat. This setback also means a downgrade of resources. A major chunk of the employees, 1000-1200 in number will be moved to other divisions. Their trademark product, Google+ will be moved to Android platform and Google+ photos team is likely to follow. A lot of talent will be shifted away to Android and since both these teams create cross-platform products, there will be a team inside Android making iOS and Web apps.
However, a Google spokesperson commented that this news have no impact on their Google+ strategy as they have a talented team that will continue to build great user experiences across Google+, Hangouts and Photos. On the lines of Gundotra’s announcement, Larry Page stated that they will continue working hard to build great new experiences for the increasing number of Google+ fans.
In spite of Google’s denial, it does make sense for the company to back away from Google+ as it hasn’t gained enough user base to rival Facebook. It has to be noted that its aggressive integration strategy has not been accepted by users. Even Google+’s Youtube takeover wasn’t welcomed well inside the company.
It can only be speculated as the reason for Gundotra’s departure. Google+ was his pet project after all.
The future of Google+ remains unclear and even Google is not sure of what to do with the rest of team members. Though it has not been officially declared dead, Gundotra’s announcement and adding to that, decrease in manpower, has made the project a mere formality. Internally, it seems to be the toning down of the social network, which at one point and time was responsible for reaping the employees’ yearly bonus.
The after-effects of this report will be out shortly. While the identity, photo and chat services will continue to be around, the Google+ brand will be downplayed as much as possible. It will be just a matter of time when we come to know whether Google+ will be dearly missed, if it shuts down its operations. As of now, it’s WAIT TIME!