Back when Google was promoting Google+ strongly, it added a link to the social sharing service from many of its other properties, including Gmail, YouTube and the main search page for logged-in users. Now those days are over; the overt link to Google+ has been dropped.
Google has removed the plus sign from the +[your name here] label that appeared in the upper right-hand corner of many Google properties. Your name remains but the hyperlink to Google+ is gone. You still can navigate to the social network by clicking on the grid of services next to your name.
This move continues a trend of Google backing away from its previous favored treatment of Google+, which went as far as making the creation of a Google+ account mandatory when creating accounts for other Google services. Google also made many efforts to integrate Google+ into its full product line, including Gmail contact management, a Google+ share box on Google’s main search page and display of Google+ authors in search results.
But much of that integration has been removed, dialed back or de-emphasized in the last year. The company hasn’t reported Google+ active user metrics since October 2013 and has stopped making a big deal about — or even mentioning — Google+ during events like its I/O conference.
Last week, removed Photos, one of Google+’s most popular features, from the social network and relaunched it as a standalone property, further fueling the narrative of Google+ decline and neglect.
The demise of Google+ has been predicted for some time now so this might be a small change but it’s significant of a wider reduction in Google’s priority on Plus.
Does it still have a place in your social media strategy?
There are a lot of benefits to using it but until it replaces Facebook or Twitter as THE place to socialise online it’s not going to be high on many businesses list of social media marketing to-do’s.