GOOGLE has removed prominent links to G+ accounts at the top of search results, Google’s homepage, and Gmail, leading to more rumours about a gradual melting away of the social network.

The tech giant has ditched the link to users’ Google+ profile from the top of its many web properties, most notably its front search page and Gmail web app. Until recently, Google+ profile names appeared with a plus in front such as “+Taz” and would link to the user’s Google+ profile. According to latest reports, however, the tech giant has stopped using the name label as a link, and is moving the “+Taz” Google+ link to the app drop-down menu.

It’s no secret that Google has been taking steps to ‘optimise’ Google+ over the past few months. It was reported that Google quietly removed the Google+ Shared Collections feature, announced the new Collections feature, and split Google+ into separate products: Photos and Streams. Last week Google Photos – a service based on the photo component of Google+ – officially launched.

The powers that be have described Google Photos as a standalone product that was not part of Google+, leading some to suggest a move towards distancing the new service from Google+, which is largely considered less than successful in the face of social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter.

VentureBeat went one step further than wondering and asked Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president for Android, Chrome, and Apps, what would be happening to Google+. VentureBeat quotes Pichai as replying: “We are working on it. … You will hear more about it later this year.”

With Google+ being omitted from the conference sessions at last week’s Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco, it’s not surprising that whispers of the social network’s gradual phasing out have begun to circulate online but, until Google releases an official statement, who knows what might be in store for G+?

For now, G+ is alive (not so sure about kicking) and still only a click further away from previously, but the rumour mill online is running strong. As for us Tigers, well, we’ve never really been big fans of Google’s ‘me too’ social network; it’s always felt more like a “should” option than an “enjoy” option… and it’s horribly overrun by marketeers! 😉


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